Keeping it fresh: discover where to get your drip right, your drink on or your locs retwisted in four of R&B/hip-hop's hottest capitals.
Read below to learn about the biggest things happening and most promising artists from Sacramento, Calif., Buffalo, N.Y., Detroit, Mich. and Newark, N.J.
Coolest Stages: Ace of Spades supports local acts as well as stars like Big K.R.I.T. and YG, while Holy Diver and Harlow’s offer a more cozy setting.
Local Eats: Squeeze Burger made Guy Fieri drool. Chando’s Tacos cooks up authentic Mexican. Head to Kiki’s Chicken Place for your chicken-and-waffles fix.
Where to get Cleaned Up: Need to line up your haircut and get your drip right in the same spot? Still Grindin’/Upgrade Cuts can handle both.
Top Hangouts: The new Downtown Commons district has become a nightlife staple. The Punch Bowl (a diner/bar/bowling alley hybrid) is just steps from the Golden 1 Center arena.
Pushing the Scene: “Dave O [manager of fellow Sacramento rapper Mozzy] hosts studio sessions that put all the most talented artists and producers from the city in the same room,” says rapper C Plus.
Artists to Watch: C Plus, trap&B artist Nate Curry and R&B singer-songwriter Allyn.
Coolest Stages: New artists looking to cut their teeth in the biz aim for stage time at the Showplace Theater and Town Ballroom.
Local Eats: “In this city, good food is as easy as finding a stop sign,” says Buffalo rapper Mad Dukez, who’s partial to Frank’s Sunny Italy, The Traphaus and La Davina, which has “tacos done to perfection.”
Where to get Cleaned Up: Signature Cutz is basically the unofficial barbershop of the Buffalo Bills — nearly every member of the team comes by on Fridays before games.
Top Hangouts: Buffalo native Latisa “Lisa” Roosevelt and her husband, Chris, run The Rose Bar & Grille. The lounge is the perfect stop for calming jazz and R&B.
Pushing the Scene: Local mainstay Chuckie Campbell runs Hip Hop at the Hostel, a monthly showcase focused on indie acts. Its MCs have gone on to open for legends like Pharoahe Monch and Black Milk.
Artists to Watch: Rappers Westside Gunn, Anthony 1999 and Armani Caesar.
Coolest Stages: Eminem’s 8 Mile made The Shelter famous, while fellow hometown hero Danny Brown has repped El Club. Rising pop singer Siena Liggins notes: “Detroit will take an underground warehouse or a parking lot and have performances anywhere.”
Local Eats: Detroit has become a foodie destination. Legendary diner Lafayette Coney Island and the jerk chicken
at The Jamaican Pot are musts.
Where to get Cleaned Up: Revive specializes in designer streetwear, boasting brands like AMIRI, Fear of God and Off-White. Once your outfit is on point, head to Burn Rubber Sneaker Boutique or Bob’s Classic Kicks to complete your look.
Top Hangouts: The city’s hot spots serve as the muse for the music. Hit the tables at MotorCity Casino and then head to The Coliseum for some adult entertainment.
Pushing the Scene: Royce Da 5’9” offers guidance to rappers who come to his Heaven Studios,” says Detroit authority BEWARE. “He’s doing whatever he can to take their career to the next level.”
Artists to Watch: Rap duo Drego & Beno, trap artist 42 Dugg and Liggins.
Coolest Stages: The Prudential Center attracts A-listers like Chris Brown and WWPR (Power 105.1) New York’s annual mega-show, Powerhouse. The Roots and Chaka Khan frequent the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Local Eats: Hamburgao offers a Brazilian twist on the classic burger that’s topped with ham, eggs and corn, while Ambassador Fish & Chicken serves up classics like fried catfish and barbecue wings.
Where to get Cleaned Up: Check out Cut Creaters’ uni salon for a fresh shave, a silk press or to get your locs retwisted.
Top Hangouts: The DJs at Rio Lounge spin hip-hop three nights a week. Similarly, expect to hear the hottest rap and R&B hits at Kilkenny Alehouse.
Pushing the Scene: “Hopefully, in a few years, I can become one of this city’s OGs,” says Tsu Surf. “If Newark gets behind you, you’ve been doing your thing. We don’t get spoon-fed here.”
Artists to Watch: Rappers Tsu Surf, Mach-Hommy and Sonny Breeze.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 19 issue of Billboard.