Earlier today, local Rub affiliate and hip-hop aficionado DJ Ayres posted the following message on Twitter: “Strictly Hits is canceled this Saturday due to Savalas’s new NO RAP policy. It was fun while it lasted.” Savalas, of course, is the Williamsburg club beloved for its weekly, cross-cultural dance parties; Strictly Hits is Ayres’ monthly, year-and-a-half-old, rap-centric night there. So what was he talking about? SOTC has obtained an email sent by a member of the club’s staff to its entire DJ line-up, in which Savalas blames rap for the scourge of “drug dealers, meat heads, dare I say *gasp* New Jersey kids” who seem to have been coming by the club of late. In response, the Savalas employee wrote to the club’s DJ roster, the venue is “taking a rap sabbatical.” Look at this email:
As you may or may not have noticed, the crowd at Savalas has been changing recently. Our old regulars are coming around less, drug dealers, meat heads, dare I say *gasp* New Jersey kids are coming around more. I’ve asked my door guys over and over again to do a better job screening people. Not to let buttheads and thugs into the bar and, frankly, the answer was “If it’s going to be hip hop night every night, you’re going to get a certain crowd and we can’t turn away everybody.” Like they’ve told me before, it’s hard to kick people out at 4 o’clock when there’s still music playing, it’s hard to tell a dude who thinks its cool to wear sunglasses to a bar he can’t come listen to the music he likes.
I’m not implying anyone here plays bad music, I’ve been listening to and hyping some of you for 4 or 5 years and love all of you guys, it’s just time we draw a line in the sand. This isn’t the same neighborhood it was a year ago.
As of October 1st Savalas will be taking a rap sabbatical. We all listen to and love hip hop, but for the best interest of all of us, I’m asking you to switch your styles up and play music other than hip hop. You’re all great promoters and DJs and I’ve heard all of you play great rock and roll, soul, funk, new wave, electro, indie, punk etc sets. You’ve all got it in you and for at least one month, that’s what I need to hear.
If this request is too much, please let me know so I can find another party, but I know you’re all more than capable.
Evidently, this request was too much for Ayres–Strictly Hits is pretty much built around hip-hop, after all–and he’s abandoning ship. Can you blame him? We’re reaching out to dude now; expect much more, shortly.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 16, 2010