“I want to keep it different,” says Kahlee, founding organizer of the San Diego Hip-Hop House. “If someone headlines this month they won’t be placed on the bill again for a while,” assuring regular attendees a variety of acts over time. “There will always be an element of surprise that will pop up.”
“We know it’s been a couple years since we were in the Hip-Hop scene,” says media and marketing director for The Air Conditioned Lounge, Erick Mayes. According to him "it wasn’t due to a lack of interest," or offers to throw Hip-Hop events. He says they were approached on various occasions, and that the staff is way excited for the event to come.
“It’s not that we’ve avoided it so much, we’ve just been more of a house and EDM venue.”
“We never half-step anything too soon just to ride trends,” explains Gary John, owner of The Air Conditioned Lounge, “so [we] have been waiting for the right group to bring a really authentic vibe and hungry talent with enough local support."
Mayes was introduced to Kahlee through a mutual friend, an emcee that goes by Karlo, and things began to fall into place from there. He says the venue’s focus remains being the premier place for the house and EDM sub-genres around North Park, and that in addition to featuring a hip-hop event with authenticity, they wanted that conscious element too. “You can tell that these guys really cared about this community."
The Air Conditioned Lounge is located at 4673 30th St., between Madison and Adams avenues. Known as “AC Lounge” for short, the upscale and intimate 115-capicity venue features a clean, colorful, and retro-party theme. Silver balls dangle from the red ceiling and purple lights accent black-padded walls. It is decorated in detail to offer fun ambience with modern perks such as a 20-by-40 foot dance floor, and VIP lounges that feature either a sunken living room with a black wrap-around couch and white glowing tables, or a touch-sensitive LED dance floor with squares that light up to the step. They built a modified-mobile stage for the performances. And on summer nights when the temperature rises, their cool staff and full throttle air-conditioning are clutch.
The venue is just across the street from the 11 or 2 buses, and less then four blocks from the 1 and 215 buses, with other routes near by and loads of free-street parking. Although they have a reputation for a stricter dress code on the weekends and always encourage upscale attire, it will be more relaxed for the summer, allowing hats and shorts to create an environment where Hip-Hop House attendees are accepted as they are, yet inspired to step their fresh and sexy all the way up.
A $90-bottle-service package is available by reservation, featuring the extra large one-liter bottle of Svedka vodka, mixers, and a VIP booth based on availability. Drink prices for the event include $5-well drinks all night. They are also running a summer promotion that upgrades any cocktail to a double if the patron shares a cool picture that tags the venue on Facebook and Instagram. And every Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., they host a happy hour with “$2-off-all liquor, draft beer, and wine.”
According to Kahlee Hip-Hop House was originally founded by Nick Norris in Phoenix, Ariz., June 21, 2012. Last year it branched out to Salt Lake City, Utah. As the five-year anniversary approaches San Diego is the third expansion, identifying with the hashtag #HHHSD. The network of affiliate events may bring touring acts in, and potentially open up opportunities for local artists in other cities. Kahlee says they will always have seasoned San Diego artists on the bill, and will also be open to giving local newcomers the opportunity to stretch their mic skills. While Hip-Hop House will allow hooks and punch-ins on performance instrumentals, rapping over your full vocals will not be accepted. And artists will never have to pay or sell tickets to perform.
Kahlee strives to fill a void in San Diego Hip Hop without competing with, countering or stepping on the toes of existing events he respects. For example, he says they aren’t going to be having planned battles because “the homies at Battle Bot got that on lock.”
Kahlee is a 12-year resident of San Diego, podcast host, and a working-family man. Originally from Gardena, Calif., a neighboring city to Compton in Los Angeles County, he is known for the 2005 single “Graff Life,” released while a member of an LA group called “The Literates.” He is now a piece of the sturdy Hip-Hop conglomerate “The Fresh State,” which also includes San Diego’s KILLcRey, D. Dove, Ric Scales, Miki Vale, Steez 76D, Mr. Arash, HipHop Eddie, and more in Hawaii, London, Inland Empire and Northern California. Kahlee has performed in various venues including the late 4th & B, House of Blues, Canes, (now known as Wave House,) and has thrown shows at venues including Kava Lounge. He says he feels good about kicking off his first-monthly residence. He waited approximately a year from being approached by Norris to facilitate the event before starting it up, allowing the right components and venue to come together.
The opening event on June 6th will feature 18Scales, Karlo, Sam.R.I, Kaus and Emphasize, ALowe, Nat Z and Jessica Duron, and DJ 1979. The finalized dates going forward are unconfirmed, but plans are set to eventually book touring acts and headliners in the future as they gradually fine-tune the event.
“I already know our one-year anniversary is going to be special,” says Kahlee, “I’ll just say that.”
To reserve that killer $90 1-liter-bottle special or other bottle service, book in advance by calling or texting 619-535-6007.
Please send electronic press kits for performance consideration, and other inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hip-Hop House team:
DJ Eyeball: @dj_eyeball
Facebook event link for more info and updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1907941079451835/
AC Lounge: email@example.com
Bottle Service: 619-535-6007
Article written by Keryn Eliyse
UPDATE 2/16/18: This event has blossomed into “Hip Hop Weds” and proceeds as follows:
1st Wed.: Escape(ism) with Norm Rocwell & Freddie Joachim
a live event series in North Park each week. The first Wednesday of the month is Escape(ism) with Norm Rocwell & Freddie Joachim. The second Wed. of the month is “FarOut” with DJ Tramlife and Friends. The third is Hip Hop House, the staple show hosted by Kahlee. And the last Wednsday of each month is a steady rotation that includes “Donuts,” a producer exhibition with guest emcees; “The Séance, a live-band jam session with Ill Atmospherics and Ill Poetic; and “De La Flow,” a unique series featuring live Spanish Hip Hop, hosted by Karlo,