You can always tell a true hip-hop head by the way he snaps his neck when jamming to a beat. Think about it. Everybody wears headphones, surfers wear beanie caps, and all sorority girls listen to Ludacris. But only true underground hip-hop heads really know how to nod their heads to a knocking beat. That's because, like a heron or a stork extending its slender neck to pluck a tasty sardine from a stream, diehard hip-hop fans prey on beats to nourish the soul.
So, you're back on campus, surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces. You feel like you're watching TRL and Carson Daly won't share his notes from chem. lab. Most people you meet think Aesop Rock is one of the Greek Isles and Cannibal Ox is in a cage at the San Diego Zoo. If you're lonely and desperate for someone to talk Def Jux and Heiroglyphics, always scan for a lone head dipping to a beat, like a metronome keeping perfect time. That's your b-boy or b-girl. Give 'em some dap, and make a new friend.
In these days and times when hip-pop is as abundant as water in an ocean, a true hip-hop head can nearly die of thirst without a little help from a friend. That's why Mega Dap composed this guide as a starting point for a hip-hop head to get her fill of grimy beats and buttery flows.
On campus: Both UCSD and San Diego State have hip-hop culture clubs, break-dancing clubs and radio stations with hip-hop specialty shows. Get into it, get involved.
Online: Check Twelvez.com for San Diego-based hip-hop radio, SDHip Hop.com and AccessHipHop.com for local events and artists, and FreestyleSession.com for a great message board dedicated to San Diego hip-hop.
On the air: Both Z90 (90.3 FM) and More FM (98.9 FM) have dope mix shows during the noon hour. And, if you're lucky enough to pick up its tiny signal, check for San Diego's pirate station, Free Radio San Diego (96.9 FM). Jazz 88 (88.3FM) also has a hip-hop show during the wee hours.
In the stores: Shop for the latest vinyl singles or drop off your mix tape on consignment at these joints: Lou's Records (Encinitas), Access Music (Pacific Beach), California Sound and Lighting (Clairemont), Stacks Vinyl (Lemon Grove), Fam Mart (Southeast), Armory Hip-Hop Store (Downtown), AC&S (Chula Vista) and The DJ Store (Chula Vista).
In the all-ages clubs: For those under drinking age or those who want to spend time with them, after-hours entertainment can be difficult to find. Some spots that support local hip-hop artists as well as feature touring indie hip-hop acts are: Fusion Club (Escondido), Voz Alta (Downtown), Culture Shock (Old Town), the Epicentre (Mira Mesa), Che Café (UCSD) and Hot Monkey Love (College Area).
In the bars: Some places that keep it right for the beer-swilling crowd are: Nieman's (Carlsbad, Fri.), The Belly Up (Solana Beach), Bar Dynamite (Mission Hills, Thurs.-Tues.), Buster Daly's (North Park, Tues.-Sun.), Recognize (College, Wed.-Sat.), Martini Ranch (Downtown, Wed.), Side Bar (Downtown, Tues.).