Hip Hop is Alive and Well Here in the North
It may come as a surprise to some that Chiang Mai has had a devout hip hop following and scene here for some time now. Though it remains mainly in the underground, people who know can tell you it didn’t always used to be this way.
Not much survived the EDM invasion that took over the world and Chiang Mai’s nightclubs. However, before we all bent the knee and pledged fealty to the virus of EDM, Chiang Mai offered a wider assortment of music genres for the public to enjoy. House music was popular in clubs (as it should be in my opinion) and the hip hop crowd enjoyed several bars that catered to the craft. Warm Up had a hip hop hour every night in the back club room, an area long since lost to EDM.
One of my first hip hop parties I attended here was at Rasta Caf? near the Night Bazaar. The vibe was turned up and the jams were flowing. The organisers have been throwing hip hop parties for years here in Chiang Mai, and from what I can tell the scene isn’t going anywhere. Blah Blah Bar on Nimman soi 7 hosted a few of their parties that were great fun; booking Dj Jedie and DJ Spydamonkey from Bangkok at one party which truly showed the amount of hip hop fans living Chiang Mai.
Recently Kevin, over at Corner Bistro, has been putting on Fries & Hip Hop, a weekly Friday night event where resident DJs and the occasional special guest DJs play tunes while guests enjoy the good drinks and free French fries all night. I DJed one night there recently and beforehand I took the wife and kid in for dinner and the food is delicious; great American bistro food with a Thai twist.
While that weekly event has maintained a loyal following, another project is in the works just around the corner at Sangdee Gallery. Sangdee has been around for 5 years now and it occupies a special place in the hearts of those who frequent there. Art gallery/bar/music space, Sangdee has a variety of faces depending on which night you go, but a local team of lyricists have been heading over to Sangdee on Saturdays to let the rhymes flow. DJs take turns while those on the mic sweat it out in a free form, free flowing environment that is more hang out session than live show. Oh and discounted gin and tonics – who could say no to that? So if you’re a hip hop fan or you’re just looking to switch it up, more and more options are popping up around our city, and that my friends is a very, very good thing.