Rapper Nocando's New Home for Hip Hop in L.A.
Between Low End Theory, Dub Club, Funkmosphere, Funky Sole and the Do-Over, nearly every music scene in Los Angeles has a party it can call its own. But with the closing of places like famed rap haven the Good Life Café in Leimert Park, the L.A. rap scene has lacked a true locus for some time.
Rohan Ali Nocando
Low End Theory's resident host Nocando hopes to fill the void with his new event Daylight, a free 18+ party devoted to hip-hop. Daylight will be held Sundays this summer from 4pm to 10pm at ATX in Atwater Village. Much like at Low End, the space has a dance floor and an outdoor patio for smoking and drinking. There are also rumors of food, sangria, and Micheladas.
See also: Locked and Loaded: Nocando
Nocando seems to be the right man for the job: He's an excellent rapper, both when battling and in the studio, and has his own label, Hellfyre Club, on Alpha Pup Records. He also co-hosts Shots Fired, a weekly podcast devoted to discussions about rap, alongside West Coast Sound scribe Jeff Weiss.
Daylight adopts the Low End Theory format of four resident DJs, one host and three featured acts. This setup, Nocando says, distinguishes his party from most standard hip-hop events, which typically feature a lot of acts performing brief sets. "This [format] is going to give rappers more space to lean into songs and interact with the crowd," he says. "It's going to be kind of intimate in that way."
Daylight's resident host is Project Blowed descendant/rapper Dumbfoundead, and resident DJs include Taurus Scott, Westside Ty, Falcons, and DJ Zo. The lineup for the inaugural event features Nocando and L.A. rappers Verbs and Speak. Future guests include Hellfyre Club's Milo and rising L.A. artist Zeroh.
While Daylight seems similar to Low End in more ways than one (many of Daylight's residents have performed there), Nocando stresses that his party will have less emphasis on the beat and the DJ and more on the rhymes and the MC. "The sound system [at ATX] favors vocalists," he says when comparing it to the bass heavy sound system of the Airliner, which hosts Low End on Wednesday nights.
The inaugural Daylight party is this Sunday, July 14th, and there's another event scheduled for the following week. Nocando hopes to fill the schedule but is waiting to gauge crowd and attendee response. If Daylight things blows up as anticipated, the party will go down every weekend until Labor Day.
Nocando named Daylight after the song of the same name from Aesop Rock's album Labor Days. He feels the lyrics to the chorus --"All I ever wanted was to pick apart the day/ Put the pieces back together my way"-- serve as both his mantra for creating music and the mission statement behind his quest to bring rap back to the L.A. party scene.
"I'm putting shit together that I want to see," Nocando says. "I'm not trying to make a lot of money or to have the party of the year. I just want to watch [my favorite rappers right now] kill it on a good system in a nice venue and not be forced to do a twenty-five minute set because there's twenty dudes on the bill. And I want to eat pizza and drink a fucking beer while doing that."
He hopes L.A. hip hop fans feel the same way.