For the past couple of years, there hasn’t been a unique destination for unadulterated partying with a Hip Hop twist like Ham On Everything. Part warehouse rave, part local culture gumbo, the brainchild of Adam Weiss has served as an interesting outlet for artists not wholesomely welcomed by mainstream yet finding difficulty breaking into the extremely snooty underground. Who else could book a GBE reunion with Chief Keef and Lil Reese or Lil Debbie to a packed house after many within Hip Hop dismissed them as has beens. Plus, the shear nonchalant attitude presented is what makes these events so alluring.
Even the guerilla style marketing tactics ranging from revealing the venue address mere hours before showtime to covert RSVPs lend a cool word-of-mouth factor that’s only grown with the explosion of HAM. The best example happened late December of last year when a free Lil B show turned into all out pandemonium when a riot broke out, which only gained HOE an even larger following. It’s not just a local Los Angeleno outkasts who attend as well. Heavyweight artists including Earl Sweatshirt and Wiz Khalifa have been known to show up from time to time as well.
Taking time to speak with DX, Weiss discusses HOE’s evolution from small backpacker rap show to booking Juicy J and Migos along with the brand’s future.
Adam Weiss Explains How Love For Rap Gave Birth To HOE
DX: You originally wanted to be a rapper before you started HOE right?
Adam Weiss: Right, right. Well, I’ve been into rap music since the fourth grade when I got my first Beastie Boys cassette tape. I don’t want to age myself but I’m in my thirties [Laughter] and ever since then, I’ve been into rap. I wrote raps and wanted to be a rapper. I never really pursued it. It was more of a pipe dream like man, I really want to do it one day or this year. I may hop on it.
DX: How exactly did HOE evolve into what it is now?
Adam Weiss: I guess first, something I did called Hipsters Heart Hip Hop. It was a small event series that was more about underground rap. At that time I was into stuff like Project Blowed, Shape-Shifters and Living Legends. I was into that during high school and growing up. I did some bad shit when I was in my mid-twenties where I did some time. When I got out of jail, at that time I was like alright, I’m going to make it at rapping. This time, I’m going to make a rap show and at the end of it, I’m going to have an open freestyle thing, get off from that shit and get discovered. Around then, I started doing that and I’d go to these shows in Echo Park. I would go to these galleries and ask them to throw these rap shows. I would keep it small and charge five bucks to get in, BYOB and we wouldn’t check anyone’s ID. Just some underground fun shit where artists weren’t rapping on stage and were just in your face. It was more intimate. I started doing that and I started booking artist like Shape-Shifters and Freestyle Fellowship. I did that in 2010. I think that’s when Waka Flocka’s “Hard In The Paint” came out and I thought that was super tight. When that came out, I think that’s when that new hard trap genre just followed it. Not like the trap EDM but the stuff that Lex Luger was producing and Juicy J came out with his Rubba Band Business series. I was way into that stuff and I go to rap night in Echo Park at The Short Stop. It was on Wednesday night. They would play rap music but wouldn’t play Lil B, Waka or just shit I really wanted to hear. This is when I started Swag It Out At The Short Stop. It was an offshoot of Hipsters Heart Hip Hop but it was way more fun than those rap shows.Then I was like I need to change the name up and I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into doing this hipster rap thing or underground backpack shit. I was like lets change the name to Go Ham Productions or something. My boy was like fuck it, lets go Ham on Everything. I was like wait a minute, that’s fucking the name cause Ham On Everything can mean anything and I can do any kind of show that I want to do. That means I don’t necessarily have to do rap shows even. So I change the name to HOE and it wasn’t exactly warehouse parties yet. I tried to do parties at The Echoplex, The Echo, at Cheetahs and Bikini Bar. At the end of 2011, I found this warehouse space called The Villa which was an empty two story house in MacArthur Park. Then in 2012, I started these parties called HOE Hause and it was every Wednesday. We had CBG[Chill Black Guys], Chippy Nonstop and Stunnaman among others; people I still fuck with. Plus, I got Danny Brown, Alexander Spit and Ty Dolla $ign to play one event. Then we got artists like Joe Moses and that’s when we started to see the wave. I think in 2012 is when HOE started to get this wave as an underground rap party.
DX: Where’d the aesthetic for HOE come from in terms of the flyer presentation to projected gifs at each event?
Adam Weiss: Everything is on accident. Nothing is really planned out. Everything just happens organically. The flyers just so happen to come from my partner with HOE, Romo, who I do all the shows with. He makes the flyers and I guess they have aesthetically the same type of vibe. I don’t know, I guess we do have an aesthetic but we kind of just fall into it. DX: When was the point in which you went from booking smaller acts to getting Juicy J and Migos.
Adam Weiss: I guess it’s the same thing with Hipsters Heart Hip Hop where I was able to get Shape-Shifters and Freestyle Fellowship. It was artists that I liked and when HOE started to get a little bigger, I started getting other artists that I liked and were even more underground artists who were hot on the internet like Young Gleesh, Jungle Pussy or Lil Ugly Mane. It was something I wanted to see and now I get other artists I want to see. Now I want to see Migos, Future, Chief Keef. I don’t know, I’m just booking things I want to see personally. Maybe it has something to do with Hip Hop in 2015 now because I think before, these rappers like Migos or Chief Keef would think of L.A. as I play these two songs in Hollywood and get a check. I don’t think they realized their underground following where they could play these warehouse parties. It doesn’t pay as much but they come out as the people’s champ. I think this year, people are beginning to get it. That’s why it’s more accessible for me to book artists like Migos because I don’t think three years ago I could have booked them.
DX: What should someone expect when someone goes to a HOE?
Adam Weiss: Girls twerking, dudes moshing and I don’t know. I think the biggest thing about HOE is that it has no inhibitions. You’re pretty free to do what you want. I think that since it started as a warehouse party, there aren’t a lot of rules. I think it’s a big freedom. Even before that when I started doing the nights at Short Stop, I just had friends who would come by and just twerk and get crazy. It just stayed that way. I never marketed it like a twerk party or trap party but it is what it is.
DX: Describe the kind of people who attend HOE events?
Adam Weiss: It’s crazy because you got hood dudes, fairfax skater dudes, internet Tumblr dudes, dudes dressed in drag and everyone gets along. I don’t see the South Central Mexican kids mean mugging the Tumblr kids or kids wearing a wig. Everyone just accepts it.
Adam Weiss Talks HOE’s Highlight Performances
DX: I know the biggest story this year outside of Migos was the riot that took place during the free and rare Lil B concert in Downtown. How did it feel for a riot to break out and what exactly did it do to the brand?
Adam Weiss: The thing that sucked about it was that we were doing a free show and free anything is always crazy. I shouldn’t do free anything. I tried to keep it low-key, didn’t announce it to the week of and dropped the address that day. The venue was suppose to hold eleven hundred people because it was a big venue. I don’t know what happened. The doors opened at nine and I was at the pizza place next door. The line was moving, looked smooth and I was like cool. I go backstage and I’m chilling. Then I get a text at nine-thirty telling me to come outside immediately. I go out there and there’s no more fucking line just people in front of the door. The venue is freaking out and they weren’t prepared. Whenever I work with legit venues and I use their security, they don’t get it. When I do warehouse parties, it’s my security and everyone knows what to expect. I think that venues don’t get it maybe because they don’t understand that it’s going to be two thousand people. Therefore, they don’t plan for it. It was unfortunate because I wanted Lil B to have the full HOE experience but after 450 people, they locked the door. That was who got in and that was it instead of the eleven hundred who should have been in there. I was working for a year trying to book Lil B.
DX: Explain the process of getting Lil B who has been known more for his speaking engagements than live performances.
Adam Weiss: Not easy; he even turned down the Odd Future Carnival. He’s very specific on what he wants to do. I had been talking to him about it for about a year. He was about it, then he fell off of it and then back on it. His manager was saying when Lil B chooses to work with somebody, it’s just not for that; he has something else in mind. He was talking with me about doing an HOE app at one point. He definitely wants to work and do more things. Even before then, he wanted to help me market HOE so he’s interested in the following and sees the movement.
DX: Last year you had Juicy J throw out his performance deposit into the crowd causing pandemonium. That must have been something great to see right?
Adam Weiss: That was crazy. What blew my mind about that performance was that every song he performed was a hit. I didn’t realize Juicy J how many hits he had. He did the old and new songs. It was crazy; a legendary performance to watch. He’s just a true artist and a good rapper.
DX: I remember a HOE show where you had Kitty Pryde perform. How exactly do you balance what exactly you like with what’s feasible to your audience?
Adam Weiss: I think I’m all over the place so sometimes I want to do a cute Hawaii party that attracts girls because you don’t want to do all rap parties. Then you’ll just have a bunch of dudes and a fun party isn’t a bunch of dudes. Honestly, if I’m partying, it’s with girls and gays. Bottom line, you’re not going to get that doing dude rap shows all the time. So, I like to switch it up and honestly I like playing Juke or club music as well.
DX: Have an experience at ham in which you could describe as ridiculously wild?
Adam Weiss: All those shows from Juicy J to Lil B have all been crazy. When Wiz Khalifa showed up unannounced and he ended up performing on my birthday.
DX: Must be nice when someone like Earl Sweatshirt makes a surprise appearance or Mac Miller tweets the address to the Migos show right?
Adam Weiss: What’s crazy too is that party like HOE Hause and didn’t have a following really, Riff Raff, Lil Debbie and Kreayshawn would just show up. I didn’t even know them and they just stopped by. Aziz Ansari would just show up and I didn’t even know how. All that is crazy to me.
Adam Weiss Explains How HOE Fits Into Today’s Hip Hop
DX: From your perspective, what makes HOE so important to L.A.’s underground party scene?
Adam Weiss: I think nobody is doing it. I think when I did Hipsters Heart Hip Hop and I was doing these rap shows with a fifty person capacity, there wasn’t rap shows like that. When I started going to these warehouse parties and they were just playing boring House Music and Techno, I said I was going to do that and just have rappers perform. I’m just doing something no one is doing and this is Los Angeles. The biggest eye opener for me was at the end of last year, I did this A$AP Ferg show in Orange County. It was a big venue and had fifteen hundred people there. It sold out and it was $30 or $40 dollar tickets; there was nothing like that. It’s like if you want to see Young Thug, you have to go to this Hollywood club or something like that. The people I know, they don’t want to go to West Hollywood. That’s when I was like I’m going to bring these big ass artists to parties in our area. It’s crazy that no one else is doing it.
DX: How exactly are you able to give the address out hours before an event and avoid any issues with law enforcements outside of the isolated Lil B incident?
Adam Weiss: I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t think they care as it’s self policed. I have my own security and as long as their no disturbance or noise pollution. This is why I had issues earlier but now I have it down packed.
DX: What’s next for you in regards to HOE?
Adam Weiss: Oh I want to do a festival. That’s been the plan all along. It’ll be crazy. I don’t think anyone is doing that lane. Sort of like how Paid Dues did it for independent Hip Hop. It would be a Paid Dues for like trap/independent Hip Hop.
DX: Any musical interest at the moment?
Adam Weiss: I like Young Dolph and I think he’s the coldest rapper in the game. His metaphors are crazy. Even on some rap shit, he’s pretty tight. That’s the thing about Migos. Growing up listening to underground Hip Hop, Migos is like Freestyle Fellowship. It’s crazy because they all stand in a line, chop really fast and bounce off of each other. It’s just like Aceyalone and all of that. Those dudes are good rappers and on beat. It’s like underground Hip Hop but they’re rapping about cool shit instead of the cosmos or whatever the fuck. They’re rapping about dealing drugs which is way tighter.
DX: From your perspective, where is Hip Hop at the moment?
Adam Weiss: I think the Hippity Hip Hop shit is dead. I probably should have said that. I got interviewed by Kreayshawn at her Dash Radio show. The Beat Junkies were doing a show next door and all those records sound like the same rap from 2008. Is it the same records or are there people still making that kind of music? This year is all about trap raps and the last two years, EDM/Trap has had an uprising. This year, it’s going back to real trap rap. You got Metro Booming, 808 Mafia and TM 88 have dope production. I think it’s going to be a really, really good year for rap.