Rap Atlas: Oakland

Sweet Jimmie's Nightclub

579 18th St. (at San Pablo Ave.)

Sweet Jimmie’s was a club frequented by players, hustlers, pimps, and gamblers that was real big in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It was right off the track, on San Pablo Avenue. In 1988, that’s where Hammer shot the video for “Let’s Get it Started.” As fate would have it, a Capitol Records executive was in the house that night. She saw what went down and knew she had to sign Hammer. Hammer didn’t want to sign initially, because he was doing very well independently. But she persuaded him, signed him for 750K, and the rest is history. Because of that, hip-hop blew up. It just wasn’t strictly underground after Hammer. Before Hammer, the top-selling album was the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill, which did 3 mil. Hammer did double platinum with Let’s Get It Started in ‘88, then in 1990, he did 10 million with Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em. They say that Hammer set the blueprint for Puffy as far as bringing hip-hop to a mainstream audience, but I don’t think Puff can dance like Ham.

Sweet Jimmie’s was one of E-40’s favorite spots, Too $hort used to be up in there a lot, too. Nowadays, the venue is still a nightclub, but it’s not Sweet Jimmie’s anymore, it’s called the New Parish, and it’s owned by Mike O’Connor who used to run the Justice League in SF and Namane. That’s Goapele’s brother.

MC Hammer - "Ring 'Em"

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