In some neon-streaked dimension where Beat Street meets The Matrix, you’ll find the ghetto futurisms of Freak City, a hybrid retail space and electro-rap club situated in the heart of Hollyhood. It sits smack dab on Los Angeles’s famously star-lined boulevard, and if you peer through the display window, you’ll see what appears to be an abandoned multi-level department store. That’s exactly what the space used to be, before a pair of stylish strangeoids that go by Justin Time and Vally Girl barricaded themselves into the mall’s deeper recesses, covered the walls with Day-Glo graffiti, and unbolted the back alley door. Open for business.
With their outsize personalities and salvaged styles, Freak City’s crew has become a magnet for that segment of hip-hop that prefers its swag surreal. Kreayshawn had her birthday party here. Lil B, Peaches, and M.I.A. all performed within these decrepit walls. A recent Riff Raff press shot shows him standing in their tagged-up phone booth. There’s even a new compilation — Sounds of Freak City Vol. 1. — and Vally just did a stint as touring stylist to Nicki Minaj. Despite the acclaim, the place remains approachably grimy, a half-hood, half-haute space where old school rap collides with that new social media-inspired goal of putting everything on display. Click through to see the Cut’s latest Style Tribe bare all, handmade outfits notwithstanding.