The War on Hip-Hop

Nightclubs draw minorities, they get dissed by the authorities. Rap ain't allowed in this white-bread town. Don't hire our Kops? We bust yo' chops. Word.

Chambers says he just saw a drunk using a phone he wasn't supposed to be using.

The next day, Howard Adams did an about-face: He declared the Roxy a hazard and shut it down.

Rather than appeal the ruling, Leparulo decided to throw in the bar towel.

A week later, concert promoters Ty Carter and Pat "P-Body" Scott were setting up for an event at Club Rio that they called "HipHop Summer Fest '95." The concert featured five live groups.

At 5:30 p.m., an hour and a half before the concert was to begin, two investigators from the state liquor department materialized and had a talk with the club manager, Mike Anderson.

The concert was an "all-ages show," meaning that underage and drinking-age patrons alike would be admitted; Anderson intended to have separate areas for the youth and adult concertgoers. The practice, called "split premises," is illegal, but club owners--Anderson included--frequently look for ways to get around the law prohibiting bars from serving alcohol when minors are present.

"They [the investigators] came down here and said the split premises was illegal," Anderson recalls, "and I thought it would be in the best interest of Club Rio not to serve alcohol."

So he cut off all alcohol sales.
Anderson says the investigators "told me they didn't want a situation coming up similar to the Roxy."

He was already prepared: He had hired Maricopa County Sheriff's Office K9 units to police the hip-hop event. The show went off without incident. But he had come to some business conclusions.

"We're not going to do any more rap shows, because it's not worth it," he says. "Everybody from the liquor board to the Tempe Police Department was eyeballing us, because they thought we were going to have a gangsta-rap group in. I can't afford to get anyone pissed at me."

Curiously, the next night, Anderson threw another all-ages show, this time for a white alternative-rock audience. He sold liquor in a split-premises arrangement; there was no visit from the liquor department.

The hip-hop scene moved down to Mill Avenue and Club 411, until September,when a 27-year-old man exchanged gunshots with a bouncer. Club 411 promptly closed down hip-hop night. Theclub owner was quoted in the press assaying, "We don't want to see it get outofhand, like what happened at theRoxy."

The hip-hop crowd migrated to Jackson Hole in downtown Phoenix until that bar, too, came to the attention of the Phoenix Police Department, which suggested the bar hire police officers. Jackson Hole canceled its hip-hop night.

The crowd moved on, looking for a new place to party. There wasn't much of a choice anymore. All of the African Americans who didn't want to go to allwhite clubs and dance to all-white music ... well, they just stayed home.

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