Last month I was invited to a live hip hop/rap event hosted at The Honey Hive Gallery. I had never heard of this venue before and at first I was a little skeptical. I took the bus down to 46th Avenue and Judah Street and began searching the houses around me for the correct address. I soon discovered my diligence was unnecessary, as the yellow exterior was decorated with an unmistakable honeycomb pattern complete with four giant wasps hovering across the width of the building.
I walked in. The woman manning the front desk was personable and the cover fee, as I was about to find out, was grossly underpriced for the level of entertainment soon to take place in the back room. Within a few minutes of paying, I watched the owners walk on stage and start their set. The twenty or thirty person crowd immediately closed in around the stage and began bobbing up and down to the beat of the music. This contagious energy continued throughout every set. Before I knew it, I found myself weaseling my way to the front row, bouncing my hand up and down to the beat as the different performers jumped around the stage, spitting their thought-provoking lyrics till their faces reddened and their veins bulged from their necks.
Every artist who took the stage contributed something new to the event: one artist employed two of his friends to draw a picture on a large poster paper while he rapped, while another asked the crowd to hand him anything in their pockets for him freestyle about, making the crowd go wild.
At the end of the night, the headliner, Illogic, a seasoned hip hop artist from Columbus, Ohio, took the stage to begin his set. Illogic gave the crowd a little bit of everything: some a cappella, some lyrics verging on spoken word, and some more traditional hip hop songs. During one song, Illogic began to stumble. He was having trouble remembering a line to one of his new songs, and was beginning to look a little discouraged when somebody in the crowd yelled, “Illogic we love you! Group hug!” Illogic spread his arms and every person in the venue gathered together around him, giving him a supportive embrace. The feeling of community and connection in this venue was tangible.
After the concert, artists and spectators alike gathered on Ocean Beach to talk about the show and commence in some friendly freestyle rap battles. I knew I was witnessing something special. Although I had been to other local San Francisco events, The Honey Hive was more than just a good time—it was a celebration of passion and creativity.
The Honey Hive Gallery also hosts spoken word open mics, screen-printing and drawing workshops, art exhibitions, and more musical events showcasing a variety of genres.
If you’re looking to have a truly unforgettable experience, check out The Honey Hive Gallery at 4117 Judah Street in San Francisco. If you’d like to learn more about upcoming events, visit their website. I hope to see you there!