“Somehow the geniuses behind the Rub have managed to bring quality partygoing to New York music lovers for over fourteen years.”
The Rub was just awarded another best of NY nod – this time Time Out NY named us as one of the 20 reasons why NYC nightlife is killing it right now! We’ll be taking a victory lap this Friday at Verboten alongside one of our favorite DJs ever in the history of hip-hop and life, DJ Mister Cee, plus longtime Rub favorite Jubilee!
Sound of the City, July 27, 2012
“The Brooklyn collective of DJ Ayres, DJ Eleven, and Cosmo Baker celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their now-legendary rap party The Rub this weekend. While their monthly rager moved from the now-shuttered Park Slope club Southpaw to Gowanus’ much larger Bell House, the party remains a house-party-away-from-home for many New Yorkers, with the three DJs and their guests serving up hip-hop classics old and new alongside dancehall, R&B, funk, and stints of disco/house in an environment that encourages dancing over everything else.
The Rub has always been something much larger than just another dance party, and my first time there, back in its Southpaw days, is something I’ll always remember (I’ve gotten emotional about it once before). At the risk of sounding clichéd, the night left me with the distinct feeling that this party was representative of the growing underground and DJ community, which was a more inclusive, more interesting, more demographically diverse group than I had ever seen before. Not only were Ayres, Eleven, and Cosmo some of the best DJs Brooklyn had to offer, they trusted the talents of their friends and the open-mindedness of their audience enough to build a relationship based on mutual love and friendship as much as it was on pure entertainment.
In honor of the Rub being around for a decade (the party in its honor is tomorrow night at The Bell House), SOTC asked some of its friends to share their memories.”
Nick Catchdubs, Fool’s Gold
The Rub is one of my all-time favorite parties to play as a guest and to attend as a regular, dancing-ass civilian. As DJs, The Rub braintrust are among the most knowledgeable and crafty selectors I know. But with great power comes great responsibility. The reason the party has been so fun for so long is because The Rub DJs have always put their crowd first—they can flex obscure records and wicky-wickys with the best of them, but on that one Saturday every month the only mission is to rock the party by any means necessary. They still change with the times and constantly find ways to surprise and evolve musically, but always remember to drop the bass out so the crowd can yell “biiiitch” in call-and-response with Too $hort. That’s why The Rub will still be jamming when it’s time to write another one of these in ten more years, and I’ll still be spilling my drink when Juvenile comes on.
Pete Emes, Smalltown DJs
I’m a Canadian from Canada, so I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment on The Rub because as an outsider it feels like such a Brooklyn institution—like it belongs to the city. When we first came to play at Southpaw in 2006, we had been told that dance parties in New York were no fun, and this was exactly the opposite. It actually reminded me of home immediately, which is so weird. The people were a bit rougher than your average overly polite Canadians, and the punk-rock spirit of this rap party stood out. Cosmo Baker, Ayres & Eleven are three guys who I would consider some of my best friends, even though I only see them a few times a year. We’ve toured together several times and done a ton of ridiculous shit over the years. They are phenomenal dudes and great DJs, and I don’t want to state the obvious, but there’s nothing like being there when they are DJing a night at The Rub.
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Writer (SPIN, Billboard, Village Voice)
Cosmo, Ayres, and Eleven soundtracked more strange make-outs than most of their participants probably remember. In ’05 and ’06, when this weird little internet community was just beginning to congeal (thanks to blogs and the Hollerboard), it felt like you knew every single person at The Rub, or at least knew someone who knew them. By the end of the summer, you’d have Frenched them. Beery singalongs to those years’ jams—TI’s “Whatchu Know,” Three 6 Mafia’s “Stay Fly,” Smitty’s “Diamonds on My Neck”—not the most romantic mood on paper, but somehow The Rub DJs were like hairy Dr. Ruths. They knew that somehow, a song that made the whole room scream would inevitably lead to young, drunk puppy love. How did they know it? We were so innocent. The Rub’s stayed so vital over ten years because they DJ like you’re family, and you are. I met some of my best, lifelong friends because of these dudes (shout out Will Creeley!) and I’m happy to call them the same. If I made out with you in 2005, love you babe don’t ever change.
Dave Nada, Nadastrom
I remember the first time I got the invitation to play The Rub. I was so honored and insanely excited to play. It was in 2007, around the same time I released my first ever Baltimore Club EP on T&A Records [a record label run by DJ Ayres and Tittsworth]. My sets were 99% Baltimore Club and booty house and, as I recall, the main room of The Rub was all hip-hop then. I was super nervous and my hands were shaking; I knew I had to come correct, since I was trying something different. Sure enough, the place went nuts when I started and I fed off the energy of the crowd. I had one of the best nights of my life. I think I even headbanged into one of the turntables during my set because I was losing my mind! Haha. Playing The Rub continues to be a career highlight for me and it’s been an honor to have Ayres, Cosmo, and Eleven in my life as friends!
Matt Sonzala, Rap Blogger [Austin Surreal / Houston So Real]
I first met the guys from The Rub when I joined an online community called “The Hollerboard.” I had booked Diplo a couple of times in Houston, and I was going to the site mostly to find new music and to post music from Houston. A dude named Cosmo Baker called me out and declared that area of the Internet to be his. I was like “What the fuck, dude?” Then I realized he is literally one of the greatest, most thorough DJs in the world and a kindred spirit, and we became close friends pretty immediately. I met Ayres and Eleven way more amicably and will say the same things about them as well. That’s my people.
Together we created an event/movement called Sabbath in the Park, to bring balance to the off-kilter community and to celebrate the music of the greatest band ever, Black Sabbath. Sabbath in the Park has had multiple run-ins with the law, and through all that we have stood together and always beat the rap.
One of my fondest memories of The Rub guys happened on their turf, when we all hosted the Sabbath in the Court afterparty at Southpaw. We were all there to celebrate a unanimous decision by the courts to let all of the people cited by the Brooklyn Police at the first Sabbath in the Park off, and free of all charges. The music of Black Sabbath pumped loudly from the basement of Southpaw, while a couple hundred true heads from far and wide celebrated this magnificent victory. It was there that we became brothers. And even though DJ Eleven mixes records way too fast for my slowed-down Southern brain, I still regard The Rub as three of the greatest dudes to ever touch two turntables.
Rahnon, The Rub’s Gatekeeper / Door Girl
The Rub is everything that is good in life—your first kiss, falling in love, finding those expensive shoes you want at half the price, having all of your favorite people in one place every last Saturday of the month with great music. They say time flies when you are having fun. If that is the case, we have been having a blast, because the past 10 years have flown by. The Rub is the type of party that invites you in with a smile and gets you relaxed with some soulful grooves and classic R&B. Once you have had a drink or two and have started to let your hair down, The Rub hits you with classic hip-hop in a way that makes you say, “This is my song.” And before you can catch your breath, that new party rap has you on the dance floor making new friends with the cutie that was three people behind you in line at the door. You are feeling good; the reggae, soca or salsa has you trying moves you have only seen on Dancing With The Stars. And after you have caught your breath and the number of that cutie (and maybe a sip of water), The Rub hits you with a little rock, dance, or house music just to make the music circle complete. Before you know it, it is 4 a.m. and the party is over. You say to the fabulous door girl, “This was the best party ever!”, and she replies, “I know, right?! See you next month.” Then, you are officially a Rub-ber.
Time Out New York recently interviewed DJ Ayres and DJ Eleven about the latest happenings with The Rub as well as thoughts on our new home at The Bell House.
TONY: When you found out that Southpaw was closing, was there any thought of going on hiatus, or even shutting the party down?
Eleven: No, not at all. We’ve actually known for a while—several years at least—that we had sort of outgrown Southpaw, but we definitely never wanted to stop doing the Rub. What happened was, Southpaw told us they were closing down about ten days before the last party we did there. And Ayres and I literally left that meeting, walked a couple doors down to a coffee place and began to figure out what we were gonna do next. We didn’t skip a beat. You know, the Rub pays our bills, but it’s also something that’s near and dear to our hearts. It’s not something we want to walk away from because we have to. When we do walk away someday, it’ll be because we want to.
TONY: Does being in Brooklyn help?
Ayres: Definitely. When we started, there weren’t very many big parties at all in Brooklyn, and I think that let us have the Rub develop in a more natural way. We always wanted it to feel like a house party.
TONY: It’s always had the reputation of being a very unpretentious affair.
Eleven: That’s very important—probably the most important thing about the Rub. We know we have to take care of our friends, but we’ve always avoided creating a feeling of elitism. If you’ve got ten bucks and you’re okay with waiting in line for a bit, then we want you. Just be ready to party.
Read the full interview on Time Out New York
After a fantastic housewarming party in March, it’s time we get down to business and start our monthly residency at The Bell House on the last Saturday of every month.
Mark your calendars and join us on Saturday, April 28th.
After an amazing run at Southpaw, we were all excited to get our foot in the door and start a brand new era at our new home The Bell House.
The night was a smashing success. We thank you all for coming out to celebrate and support us in our new digs. The place was packed and our guests all brought their ‘A’ game. It was such an honor to have Max Glazer, DJ Sure Shot, Scott Melker, and Kool Kear rock with us and they did not disappoint.
Reminder – We will be back the last Saturday of every month starting on April 28th!
View the entire gallery on The Rub’s Facebook Page (Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ our page): The Bell House Housewarming Party 3/16/12
“One way to tell the story of a great American city is to track the deaths and lives of its many neighborhoods. Dutch traders once sold cedar on Cedar Street, back when downtown was midtown. CBGB gives rise, inexorably, to DBGB. Just as a red giant becomes a white dwarf, an edgy block must lose its edge. ‘It’s ironic, but everything I like about the neighborhood will probably disappear,’ an investment banker named Richard Conway told New York magazine. “And unfortunately, the reason is that people like me are moving into it.” It was 1985, and Conway was talking about the Upper West Side; but he could have been talking about the West Village in 1959, or Park Slope in 2011.”
“’I don’t like to use the word “gentrification,”’ Matt Roff, a co-owner of Southpaw, told me on Saturday night. We were in the hallway near the club’s entrance, where we could talk without shouting. ‘I prefer—I don’t want to say “progress,” either. I see it more as the nature of the beast. This is just how it goes.’ Southpaw, Park Slope’s biggest and grittiest music venue, will close at the end of the month. It will be replaced by the eighth franchise of the New York Kids Club, a ‘children’s enrichment center’ that offers cooking and rock-climbing classes for toddlers.
“While the real Jay-Z was presumably at home in Scarsdale with his infant daughter, the recorded Jay-Z was on Southpaw’s speakers, boasting about his art collection and pledging his undying devotion to Brooklyn. Inside, about eight hundred people shed winter coats, procured cheap cans of beer, and danced; hundreds more huddled against the cold outside, though bouncers had told them they had little hope of getting in. This was Southpaw’s signature event, The Rub, a hip-hop dance party that has taken place monthly since 2002. The party will move to The Bell House, a larger venue in Gowanus…”
Read the rest on The New Yorker Blog
Pete from Turntable Lab interviewed me about the challenges of being a professional DJ and running a record label, fatherhood and asian girls.
I’m doing all sorts of stuff from crazy ass raves in Canada to hardcore hip-hop and reggae parties in Brooklyn to playing between live acts at a concert to DJing the casino bar in Vegas. It’s harder but it also keeps things interesting. I rarely take gigs that won’t be fun, just for the money – I still have to be able to “do me” but that can mean a lot of things because I love Taio Cruz “Dynamite” as much as I love Tensnake or Munchi or whatever. So it’s still engaging. And I have this thing in me, when there’s loud music and I’m in that environment, it doesn’t matter how tiring my day was with my daughter or what kind of mood I’m in, when I go on, a switch just flips in me and I’m 100% awake and focused.
Read it here.
New Year’s Eve was amazing, total fucking roadblock, sold out with ticket scalpers outside, due in no small part to us getting the top pick in New York Magazine. “Sometimes you just want to hang with good people who know good music. Lucky for you there’s DJ Ayres, DJ Eleven, and Cosmo Baker, a.k.a Brooklyn collective the Rub.”
Huge thanks to MeanRed, Good Peoples, Rich Medina, Evil Dee, Prince Klassen, Rok One, and everyone who came out and partied with us. I can’t imagine a more fun way to ring in the New Year.
Photo by Kenny Rodriguez
Best Party To Take Anyone To: The Rub
Once you’ve been to the Rub as many times as I have, you start to pick up on the little things that make the party flow just so. You’ll notice that of the three resident DJs, Cosmo Baker is the showman, often dancing over his mixer and chatting with the crowd over his signature funk-heavy sets. Or that DJ Eleven, the strongest technically (and most unassuming despite the fact that he looms over his fellow partners), has the keenest ear for r&b and dancehall. DJ Ayres is the friendliest (and funniest) of the bunch, and regardless of his ventures into dance music, his selection constantly reminds us that he’s a hip-hop nerd at heart. In fact, hip-hop is the constant of the party, and the one of the many reasons that half of Brooklyn can’t seem to stay away from the monthly throw down at Southpaw.
Read the rest of this entry »