Los Angeles, CA – Finding the right artists and getting people to show up are two of the biggest obstacles when putting on a Hip Hop showcase displaying unknown talent.
Since making its debut around February 2018, PayDay LA has successfully managed to do both thanks to founder El Prez and host Chuck Dizzle of Homegrown Radio.
Taking place monthly in Los Angeles’ Silverlake district go-to dive bar The Virgil, artists representing various styles and subgenres of Hip Hop get a chance to perform for attendance open to new talent.
“I realized I found a lane that needed to be covered that use to be there when my career was at a high point,” said Inglewood native El Prez, whose honed his mic craft for years before curating events. “There was a lot of opportunities to do things like have a show once a week if I wanted. There was a lot of opportunities and options for getting on. We felt like none of that was available in 2018. Contrast that with R&B for instance.”
Initially starting PayDay LA with another locally known MC Quiz, El Prez would link with Dizzle and Homegrown Radio for an added layer of local authenticity to the showcase.
“They were one of the first people I reached out to in the beginning because that’s a trustworthy co-sign,” said El Prez. “Homegrown is a household name in L.A. It gave it a whole new level of authenticity in addition to me coming from the artist side of things.”
According to Dizzle, PayDay LA has grown same community of local fans similar to L.A. collectives like Project Blowed.
“The younger generation might have not been around for the movements in Leimert Park and stuff like that back in the day but this is that new shit,” said Dizzle. “Almost two years in now, people are recognizing that the name is materializing and Payday LA is the go-to venue for talent to showcase what they have.”
Alongside being a start-up for local artists, more known MCs representing various aspects of Hip Hop culture have attended PayDay LA as well.
“It gives people a sense of confidence,” said Dizzle. “It’s an establisher. We got to the point where we have PayDay LA alumn. Some are new artist and some are established but they’re proud to be on the list.”
Locally known and unknown artists who have graced the stage of showcase including Airplane James, illCamille, Stevie Crooks, Azjah, D. Bell, Richard Wright, Inglewood Tip, Cam & China, Daylyt, Xian Bell, Maez301 (pre-Strange Music signing) and a host of others.
— EL PREZ (@elprezdeLA) May 22, 2019
“Before us, some of these artists were rocking out at warehouses and art galleries or makeshift-performance venues,” said El Prez. “We give them a stage, lights at The Virgil. That’s a pretty legendary spot especially in Hip Hop going back to Aceyalone throwing Grasshopper Live there or Bleu Collar throwing 99cent Fridays back in the day.”
Part of the success is PayDay LA’s open submission process, which, has gotten more and more difficult as the event’s profile gets higher. El Prez, Dizzle, house DJs DJ Freckles and DJ QwessCoast alongside staff member Oli Portis all comb through hundreds of emails for potential performers.
“When I go on Instagram Live or social media, I get 150 people hitting me up about performing at any given week,” said Dizzle. “It’s a lot of people tapping in from the city. It’s dope to see people from different areas take hold of the brand and rock out here. It’s just dope that we’re able to create such an impact in a very short time.”
— PayDay LA (@payday_la) September 24, 2019
With a tagline reading “Dope Curated Rap Shit: The Best Rap Show In LA,” PayDay LA has enjoyed packed crowds and sold out events due to word of mouth and a tight social media presence.
“The artist got it as a ble dope spot to push their music and that just spread around. Everyone’s experiences are different,” said El Prez. “Our visuals and online interaction is a very big part of it. We try to use these new generation tools to let people know we’re providing an elevated experience.”
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Queens Get the Money: powered by @payday_la Tuesday 10.1.19 At @thevirgilbar Free w/ RSVP B4 10:30pm! $10 online and at the door. Link in bio ? : Women are currently taking over this rap game like never before and deserve to be put in the spotlight so we threw together the most ? women rap artist lineup possible for the ultimate all women rap event! : #QueensGettheMoney
PayDay LA has also grown into other events within the family including the female emcee led Queens Get The Money and R&B focused Payper. For El Prez, it’s more than community building but an economy.
“We want the artists to spend with each other,” he admitted. “We want the producers to spend with each other. We want the curators and promoters to build and spending money with each other.”