CLUB REVIEW : Jamaica House: Hip-Hop Sheds Its Baggies

Try to imagine hip-hop without baseball caps, baggies and spanking clean Adidas.

What you’ve just pictured is Jamaica House, the most popular hip-hop club in L.A., and a place known as much for its strict dress code as its excellent music selection. Although the 4-year-old club has no permanent home (it’s currently anchored at the Roxbury in West Hollywood), the venue’s most popular locations have been Downtown, at the Mayan and Glam Slam. The Roxbury location and the dress code were inspired by the club’s violent past.

A fatal shooting at the Mayan in ’93 closed Jamaica House for nearly a year, and when the club reopened at Glam Slam, the operators weren’t thrilled with the neighborhood. Although promoter David Ferguson says the move to the tony Roxbury was to “keep the knuckleheads away,” he insists that Jamaica House hasn’t gone yupscale. It’s merely less hazardous to one’s health as it offers the city’s best hip-hop experience every Wednesday, presenting performances by such artists as KRS-One, Public Enemy, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Ice-T, Run-DMC, Arrested Development, a Tribe Called Quest, 2pac and Notorious B.I.G.


The promoters have opened sister Jamaica Houses in Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco, and have a Jamaica House clothing line featuring T-shirts and baseball caps. Ironically, the club’s fans can’t wear them inside.

* Jamaica House, various locations, every Wednesday. 21 and over, $15 cover. Hot line: (213) 957-4607. Strict dress code -- no tennis shoes or baseball caps.