6. The Cop Shop
Where: Smithtown, N.Y.
Specializing in: Vinyl, CDs, rap mags, in-stores/performances
Long Island can make a case for being the most talent rich region in New York if we're talking the makers of rap classics. And despite its unassuming suburban landscape, it made sense that Strong Island had its own Fat Beats. The Cop Shop in Smithtown was it. Besides the standard hip-hop record shop offerings, what made the Cop Shop legendary were its in-stores. Roomier than Fat Beats (and exponentially more comfortable, with couches for your girl to sit on while you shopped), the sprawling storefront would still end up packed on a Saturday afternoon, when a who's who of talent would show up for performances. It was an important meeting ground for folks in Nassau and Suffolk who didn't want to spend an hour on the LIRR, only to get to Fat Beats and get shut down at the door (or sardine-canned into Fat Beats' stairwell in 100 degree weather). E-Nice (who ran Cop Shop) was cool enough to let me bring my MPC-2000 and play beats live for a D-Stroy in-store in '01, gave me one of my own in '04 and let me hop on DJ Muggs' in-store in '08.