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Anyone who doesn't believe the PHX has talent like Chi-town, the ATL and the Lou needs to pop over to O'Mallys at 3544 West Glendale Avenue in Phoenix on the day after Monday and check their Roc the Mic Tuesdays, where P-town's husslas, playas, fly bitches and MCs congregate to see who can flow like Twista and drop bombs like G-Unit. It's less a battle like those that took place in the Eminem flick 8 Mile, and more a showcase of those with some serious skillz on the mic.
Sports bar by day and hip-hop club by night, O'Mallys boasts three pool tables, a dance floor, all the Henny and Aliz you care to sip, and a full kitchen (called Ms. J's), which serves everything from chili cheese fries to catfish nuggets. Every night has its own theme, from Soulful Sundays with R&B performances and Open Spin Mondays, to Sexy Chicas Thursdays and Girls Gone Wild Weekends, but it's Roc the Mic Tuesdays that've given O'Mallys mad fame in the Valley and beyond.
"The bar's been here 10 years, I've owned it for eight, and this night's been going for five," explains owner Scott Stuart, a white fella with curly hair. "We feature freestylers and local performers. Originally, we did it because there was no one showcasing local talent. Then we started getting record labels coming in, like Sony Music. Artists like DMX stop by when they're in town. Others have tried to copy what we do, but we've made Tuesday nights an institution here."
Indeed, when the bisexual Jessica Biel and I hit the club close to 10:30 p.m., it's already filling up. MCs start signing up about 9 or 10 o'clock, with the freestyling beginning about 11 p.m. or so. After several MCs step to the mic and freestyle to beats dropped by aural alchemist AL3, the actual performances go down, with rap or R&B songs composed ahead of time. Bar specials include $55 bottles of Moet, but we can't afford to get that tight, so we keep it cool with a couple of vodka tonics, while our man Kevin in the kitchen hooks us up with a plate of wings and a Chicago-style hot link with all the fixin's.
"Damn, these wings are good!" I snort, smackin' my lips and smearing hot sauce all over my Porky Pig mug. "Mmm, just one more . . ."
"Pull your Fat Albert face out of the trough, Kreme," snarls the Jettster. "We need to do a tour of the place before the freestylin' jumps off."
"Aight, Weezie," I sigh, licking my digits. "Let's get-r-done."
To quote Chingy: "I like 'em black, white, Puerto Rican, or Haitian . . . Japanese, Chinese, or even Asian," and truly there's a little bit of everything up in O'Mallys this evening, even if it's mostly a shade darker than some other clubs. The mix is personified nearby by two dime-pieces, an ebony and ivory combo, Marcy and Charisma, who are kickin' it on a couch together. Marcy has long, silky black hair and skin the color of Hershey's Kisses, while Charisma is strictly white chocolate, with long blond hair. As you might guess from Charisma's for-the-stage pseudonym, both ladies are dollar ballerinas over at the new Penthouse Club near I-17 and McDowell.
"I just moved here from Michigan this past Saturday," volunteers Mah-velous Marcy.
"Glad to hear it," coos Jett, her lez-motor shifting out of neutral. "We need more eye candy in town."
"You should come check us out at the Penthouse Club," says Marcy. "It's not all nude, just topless."
"What about you, Charisma, where are you from?" I ask.
"I'm from all around Phoenix," she says, smiling. "I was working earlier tonight, but I got off in time to come out. I love the music here. I'm a big fan of hip-hop."
I turn my head and see Jett's already moved on. She's exchanging pleasantries nearby with a tall handsome cat in a blue cap and jersey, and more karats 'round his neck than Bugs Bunny. He's a local MC who goes by Chopper L.S., the L.S. being for "light-skinned," as he is in the flesh. He's at O'Mallys to perform a single off his new 20-track CD Chop's World: Nationwide Family, and he's handing Jett a copy as I approach.
"I'm doing number six off Chop's World," he tells us. "It's a song for the ladies called 'Baby What Up?' Just a song to make the ladies feel good and let them know there's someone who cares for them."
"That's pretty impressive that you've got your own CD," I comment, taking a look at the professional-looking disc.
"Actually, it's my second CD," Chopper relates. "My first one's called Chop City. It's in Circles now because I ended up selling so many copies. I'm out here promoting Chop's World independently."
"What inspires you to come up with rhymes and lyrics?" asks the J-girl, wide-eyed.
"I love the way Tupac got his point across with his music," replies Chopper. "And I like the way Jesus Christ got his point across through his talking. So with me talking and liking beats and music, I just put them together, and that's how I express myself."