Musicians traditionally get all of the glory, but what about the venues that house them? Arizona hip-hop artists are regularly lauded for their lyrical lexicon and dazzling deliveries, but they couldn't be heard if popping music houses didn't provide the dark digs, microphones, stages, and booming sound systems.
There's nothing more innocuous than a strip mall, and it just so happens that the Valley is littered with them. These sidewalk shopping plazas are usually replete with an eatery -- something quaint like a Waffle House -- or maybe a friendly neighborhood yerberia.
And every so often there's a hidden gem known by few, but automatically appreciated once stumbled upon.
Here's our look at our five favorite venues for live hip-hop in Phoenix: