The foremost purveyor of underground hip-hop in L.A. closes its doors for good on Sunday. The tragic shuttering of Melrose gem Fat Beats marks the end of an era for those who frequented the upstairs wonderland of rare MC and DJ finds. But the shop of ill beats goes out with its head held high, booking a series of live performances throughout this last week and a weekend farewell that promises to impress L.A.'s backpackers.
Anyone who's ever been to Fat Beats knows how special a place it is and why it's held dear in the hearts of the many who relied on the shop for their underground hip-hop and vinyl needs. The modest space played host to many a live show by the artists of the music and beats sold at the store. And if seeing an underground star at their local show wasn't enough, staking out Fat Beats the day they came to town was your best bet for an encounter since a trip to L.A. wasn't complete without hitting up Fat Beats.
But the L.A. go-to for subterranean hip-hop and its NYC sister have taken a hit, much like every other media retailer dependent on in-store commerce in the digital age. Hard times first forced the shutter of the NYC location earlier this month and the news of the L.A. outpost's closure triggers a flood of memories attached to the hip-hop head Mecca.
Although I haven't been in years, countless hours during my high school days were spent getting lost sifting through the music you couldn't find anywhere else and fighting traffic after school to get across town for the new RJD2 or Murs albums was always worth the agony. Except one time it cost me an Atmosphere run-in. He was in town for his tour promoting Seven's Travels which had just been released and the reason for my visit that day. I saw a fresh stack of Atmosphere stickers next to the register as I was paying and asked the salesgirl where they came from. "Slug came through and dropped them off, you just missed him." My heart sank into my stomach as I shoved a dozen into my bag.
However sad you are to see the cherished hip-hop spot with such sentimental value go, an awesome 16-year run is cause for celebration. Come out this weekend to toast the memories and music Fat Beats brought us with a proper farewell featuring guest DJs and performers all day Saturday and the DJ showcase on Sunday which we suspect will have surprise special guest for the grand finale. If you've never been, we encourage you to cash in on your last chance to see the place for yourself in action.