According to Phoenix hip-hop maven Mike Cosentino, there aren’t enough hip-hop nights going on in the Valley on Friday nights, and when they do exist, there is just too much “bullshit” attached. Whether it be a cover charge, dress codes, bad vibes, or bad music, something about the current options for a hip-hop fan on a Friday have been rubbing him the wrong way.
On July 3, along with longtime bandmate and collaborator Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper, Cosentino, a.k.a. Mic Cause of Drunken Immortals, will remedy his hip-hop quandary by starting off the New Grand Avenue — Hip-Hop Friday’s at ThirdSpace.
“Clubs always relegate hip-hop to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, and if it’s a hip-hop night it’s always like the meet market bullshit. You gotta get all dressed up, and people are just going out looking to hook up. At the New Grand Avenue I want people to bring out their girlfriends who like hip-hop and their wives who like hip-hop,” says Cosentino. “I am trying to get hip-hop fans out there, I want people who like hip-hop to go there and buy food, have a beer. I want it to be like a backyard barbecue vibe, where people can listen to new shit and appreciate old shit. I want people who can’t go out during the week to come out on a Friday night and hear some hip-hop.”
With Phoenix’s longest-running weekly hip-hop show, The Blunt Club, recently switching to a monthly format and this night being organized by one of Blunt Club's key organizers in Fu, it would be easy to see the New Grand Avenue becoming the new Blunt Club. But according to Cosentino, they are really going for a different aesthetic than the classic hip-hop night.
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“New Grand Avenue won’t have the same vibe as the Blunt Club, it won’t have those Blunt break dancers and stuff. It’s not a dance thing; it’s just a chill thing. We gonna have people go eat dinner and have a beer and hear some hip-hop music. I mean, you can dance if you want to; I don’t mean to try and deter dancing. Ideally, it would culminate with everyone hip-hopping and getting down by midnight,” Cosentino says.
As well as hosting and curating the evening, Cosentino will also be jumping into the DJ booth as one of the featured wax spinners for New Grand Avenue’s maiden voyage. He said he plans on keeping his set to mostly tunes that are 98 Beats per minutes and that people can look forward to hearing artists like Murs and Scarub, as well as the classic artists like Nas and Tupac. Joining him on the wheels of steel will be stalwart hip-hop scene DJs Just Chris and Goonie. Between the three DJs they will be responsible for keeping the jams going inside and outside at ThirdSpace from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m.
To make their opening night a little more special and give it a more one off feeling Dumper will be hanging a rare solo gallery show inside of the bar. While Dumper can usually be found live painting at events, he does not often keep enough inventory in stock to hang a show. But to class up the joint for his own event, he found a way.