The rise of Southern Hip Hop came with an obvious, yet unlikely side effect that gets shuttered underneath its criticisms.

Southern rappers shouting out strip clubs in songs became the gateway to a culture fairly unknown to mainstream America. Atlanta has become the capital city of exotic dancing and even created an ecosystem built around artists from the area. Anyone who has followed Hip Hop over the last decade can probably name at least a handful of popular ATL strip clubs (most likely Magic City and Clermont Lounge among them). Then there’s Miami’s insanely large King of Diamonds, which is an essential site-seeing stop if you let Rick Ross and DJ Khaled tell it. More recently, Drake’s love of Houston even evolved into The Ballet, an atypical dance club that he says is “not about no strip club shit” despite video evidence proving otherwise.

Regardless of Los Angeles being the nation’s second largest city and rap hub, strip club culture historically paled in comparison to its Southern cousins. Sure, there’s longtime mainstay Sam’s Hofbrau and the more luxurious celebrity hotspot Ace of Diamonds in Hollywood. But nothing delivered the unadulterated Atlanta-light experience like Secret Sundayz.

And rappers from all over couldn’t stop talking about it. Just recently, Rae Sremmurd’s sophomore album Sremmlife 2 featured the line “Out in L.A., out-out in L.A. / Secret Sundayz, hangin’ with your babes, hey” on “Came A Long Way.” A quick look at annotation giant Genius finds dozens of Secret Sundayz references from artists like Ab-Soul, The Game, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, DJ Quik and Soulja Boy.

Fairly standard practice in Southern regions for years, the event brought rapper-hosted strip club nights to L.A. before other venues followed suit. Taking a cue from Atlanta’s ecosystem, Secret Sundayz served a significant part in pushing local acts like O.T. Genasis and YG before they received huge mainstream looks — something the event continues to this day.

HipHopDX caught up with Secret Sundayz creators Gee and E.O.(alongside Eric and Marquis Diamond) at Los Angeles’ GS Bar — the two explain its origins, bringing Atlanta strip club culture to L.A. and their rivalry with Ace of Diamonds.

The Origins Of Secret Sundayz

Photo By: Ural Garrett
“The name came up because we were trying to get a club and all the hot nights are Fridays and Saturdays. The club we wanted, those nights were already taken. The only night that was available was Sunday which I really didn’t want, but we came up with the concept. Hollywood didn’t really have strip clubs so we kept it underground henceforth the Secret. That’s how it became Secret Sundayz because nobody really knew what it was until they came.” – Gee

“This is a hobby actually. I never set out to open up a strip club. It came about when a friend of mine owed me some money and he didn’t have the money to pay me. However, he asked me if I wanted a club. Went and looked at the club. I tried it and we’ve been doing it ever since consistently for five years. Organic things just last like that.” – Gee

Secret Sundayz Was Inspired By Atlanta Strip Club Culture In Promoting Local Artists

“Me being in Atlanta for three years and seeing the music movement in the strip clubs. Dudes would come in the strip clubs with their mixtapes and pass them out. I never saw that out here. I just brought it out to L.A. I grew up in the strip clubs here. I never went to regular clubs. Ever since I was 19 years old, I went to strip clubs.” – Gee

“We try to create that energy of an Atlanta strip club with an up-tempo, regular party feel. I don’t try to follow the typical Hollywood format. I hate that. I don’t believe in racial politics. When I first came here with the idea, they referred to what I was doing as an urban night. That really offended me because I didn’t know what it was. What do you mean urban night? We were classified as urban and we can only have an urban night. Basically what they were saying was that every Hollywood club was allowed to have one black night per week. A lot of people don’t know that. We get a mixed crowd. I don’t discriminate. I want cousins, aunties, moms, grandmothers and everybody to party with us.” – Gee

“Joe Moses, O.T. Genasis, YG and Ty Dolla $ign all were at Secret Sundayz before they got super big.” – E.O.

Going Mainstream & Lyrical References

“None of the strip clubs out here would book local artist or give them a break. We were the only club that would allow local talent who wasn’t known to have a platform for their music. Later, all the mainstream artists started gravitating to it and coming. I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it so that our people can have somewhere to go. When I mean our people, I mean me and you. Just regular people. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to come party with us or to feel special. I treat someone buying a table, the same way someone paying to get in. That’s the kind of experience we try to give off.” – Gee

“A lot of people have come through. Rihanna, Future, Kevin Hart. Everybody has been through. The biggest to me was Miley Cyrus. I did two of her private birthday parties. She’s really cool.” – Gee

“It’s more of a respect thing. If a major label artist puts you on a track, it shows that not only are you doing something good, but they also respect you. When you’re no longer being mentioned on someone else’s track, you feel like you’re no longer relevant anymore. For big artists to put our name in songs, it makes them look like they know what they’re talking about. When an artist talks about King of Diamonds in Miami or Magic City in Atlanta, we know what they’re talking about. It’s a household name. People from out of town know who we are. I’ll go out of town and tell people that I’m a part of Secret Sundayz and they know who we are. They’ve never been, but they hear about us through word of mouth and artists talking about it.” – E. O.

Why The Biggest Fans Of Secret Sundayz Are Women

Photo By: Ural Garrett

“Women are more comfortable looking at other women. Women like to see other beautiful women. Men can feel a little intimidated. If you’re not really going in there to spend money, you feel awkward being in there especially when people are in there spending money.” – E.O.

Changing Los Angeles Strip Club Culture

Photo By: Ural Garrett

“Secret Sundayz has fathered everything going on in Los Angeles. It’s completely changed to where you have to have a mainstream host or pretty much the night is dead. Our phone rings off the hook. They ask us what artists are we having. Actors don’t do well because everyone wants to see Hip Hop artists. Our biggest night was when we had Future.” – Gee

“We noticed the change when people started beating the door down just to get in. It was bananas, the line would be wrapped around corners. We would literally have to hold the doors to keep people from coming in. We used to be not too far from Greystone Manor and when they use to get out, everybody came to our club. It was a culture shock because I’m not a Hollywood person because I don’t agree with the politics, but it was crazy.” – Gee

Secret Sundayz’ Rivalry with Ace of Diamonds

“We’ve experienced a lot of imitators over the years. Ace of Diamonds is one of them. Those are my kids. We all used to be all together and we split because of business. They consider us to be ratchet because I cater to our people. Ratchet isn’t a bad term in my book, though. When you go out you do what? You go out, enjoy yourself and let go. I don’t want to go to a club and see a girl sitting there with her legs crossed looking at everybody to see who is spending money. That’s not a party to me. It’s supposed to be organic. Let’s take it back to where you were in high school and couldn’t wait till you go to that dance.” – Gee

The Future Of Secret Sundayz

Photo By: Ural Garrett

“Our ultimate goal is to get our own spot to where we can do what we want. Currently, we work out of another club so we’re handcuffed to do what they want us to do. Ideally, we’d love to get our own spot so we can do what we want. Having our own spot will do more for the city of Los Angeles than it’ll do for us.” -E.O.