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Gonzo Report: Wu-Tang DJ backs ONYX at Pacific Beach’s Break Point

Ras Mike credited with bringing storied crew to San Diego

Something worth recording: DJ Symphony spinning behind ONYX’s Fredro Starr
Something worth recording: DJ Symphony spinning behind ONYX’s Fredro Starr

Faded, not fading

ONYX pays a visit to Pacific Beach’s Break Point

Pacific Beach on a Friday night is not usually my cup of tea. Tad youthful on those streets. However, it’s not often that ONYX performs there. As a matter of fact, it was their first time ever. The stage was set at Break Point on Garnet. Break Point is family-owned by Mike and Amy Lee. It took over the space from the now-defunct Mannikin, Emerald City, Plan B, and Johnny V’s.

I arrived as the sun was setting. First person I encountered was one of their promoters, Tommie Zam. He seemed happy to see me. “Dude, we got so much cool shit going on here! The owners are friendly, open to Reggae, Hip Hop, and skate events.” He introduced me to various people as the Reader guy. Then a voice out of the crowd: “Hey, you know Jake Peterson?” It was Hip-hop artist Don Elway. I do know him. He writes for this column as well — and recently, he wrote about Elway. “Jake is my man!” said Elway before speeding off on his motorcycle. As he left, a guy who goes by Guero rolled in with a USPS box, proclaiming, “I got goodies” — a jar full of joints, a jar full of buds, and some cookies. He then pointed at a bald Hispanic guy wearing a black baseball cap: Michael Gabriel, one of the performers on the bill, has his own cannabis company, Abuelitas. “Long story short, my dreams are coming true,” Gabriel said, passing me a joint. “I’m an artist with my own cannabis company.” All this action and smoking and I hadn’t made my way inside yet. Stoned was the way of the walk to the bar.

Once inside, I ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon from my bartender Mikey for $5. As I was enjoying my beer. Bakes was just finishing up his set. Head chef Suga Bear came up to me to say hi and tell me about some of his food. “Fish Fry Fridays, brisket, and my world-famous chicken wings. I cook soul-based food!” After he walked off, a bewitching platinum-haired woman and her friends sat next to me. We got to talking; it turned out her name was Nori and she also ran a local cannabis company: Smyle Co. Through the high, I was sensing a theme. She invited me to a drum circle on Sundays in Balboa Park. I ordered another Pabst. This time, bartender Travis hooked me up for $2.

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Sponsored

DJ Wake&Bake was spinning old school NWA jams as I wandered about, noting the honeycomb shapes on the walls filled with greenery and flashing lights that changed colors. If bowling is your thing, there were four bowling lanes, shoe rental included. Closed for the event this evening.

Michael Gabriel and his entourage came on next. After they finished, it was time to head outside for fresh air and whatever else might be fresh out there. Right as I walked out: “Gabriel!” It was Michael Gabriel, holding up a joint and motioning for me to come join him. I noted that he could perform almost any genre of music because of his flow and falsetto voice — even hard rock. He said, “Bring it on!” As we were discussing the future, a big dark figure moseyed up to us: DJ Symphony. I found myself standing with him, Michael Gabriel, and a photographer whose name I didn’t catch. At one point, the photographer looked at me and said, “I’m going to give you a hint. Wu-Tang Clan is in San Diego!” He pointed across Garnet at the big Wu-Tang Clan sticker on the window of Cuts DJ Academy. “Wu-Tang is here in San Diego!” I inquired as to what he was talking about. “You gots to be fucking stupid!” he boomed. “You’re standing next to DJ Symphony, the DJ for GZA and Wu-Tang Clan! You gots to be fuckin stupid!”

It got a little quiet as I weighed my response. “You’re right; sometimes I’m fucking stupid.” The right call: people laughed. DJ Symphony then jumped to my defense. “He’s not stupid; I can tell by the way he talks. And he’s a writer.”

I missed Ric Scales’ performance because of all the action happening out front. A little commotion started on the sidewalk, due to the arrival of ONYX. I saw Ras Mike discussing some logistics with rapper Fredro Starr. That gave me a chance to introduce myself. Ras Mike told Fredro I would be writing about the show. Fredro, joint in hand, orange vest on torso, sunglasses in place, asked, “What you going to write about?” I responded, “To be determined.” He took a big hit of his joint and said, “I like that.” I asked him when they would start touring again. “We never stopped touring! We’ve been touring 30 years straight with a couple breaks. Also got three boys to raise.” Then his manager Bosston Rob whisked him away to go perform.

Fredro came out, saying they were going to start off with the smooth shit, and started with “Throw Ya Gunz.” Sticky Fingaz came in looking mean, with a rough voice to match. DJ Symphony was covering for this show, so it was fitting the hear the Wu-Tang/ONYX song “The Worst.” New York City was in the house. The energy intensified as the show went on, and when they finished off with “Slam,” they had everyone jumping, just like in the ‘93 MTV video. After the show ended, Fredro and Bosston Rob hung out and mingled for a bit. Then Fredro said, “I want to go smoke now,” and off into their fog they went.

Bosston Rob was kind enough to chat with me a few days after the show. I was curious what brought ONYX to Break Point in Pacific Beach. “Ras Mike made it happen. We worked with him last year. The overall feeling it was a successful show: no drama, we got paid, and hopefully everyone made it home safely.” His positivity was welcome, and he was right.

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Something worth recording: DJ Symphony spinning behind ONYX’s Fredro Starr
Something worth recording: DJ Symphony spinning behind ONYX’s Fredro Starr

Faded, not fading

ONYX pays a visit to Pacific Beach’s Break Point

Pacific Beach on a Friday night is not usually my cup of tea. Tad youthful on those streets. However, it’s not often that ONYX performs there. As a matter of fact, it was their first time ever. The stage was set at Break Point on Garnet. Break Point is family-owned by Mike and Amy Lee. It took over the space from the now-defunct Mannikin, Emerald City, Plan B, and Johnny V’s.

I arrived as the sun was setting. First person I encountered was one of their promoters, Tommie Zam. He seemed happy to see me. “Dude, we got so much cool shit going on here! The owners are friendly, open to Reggae, Hip Hop, and skate events.” He introduced me to various people as the Reader guy. Then a voice out of the crowd: “Hey, you know Jake Peterson?” It was Hip-hop artist Don Elway. I do know him. He writes for this column as well — and recently, he wrote about Elway. “Jake is my man!” said Elway before speeding off on his motorcycle. As he left, a guy who goes by Guero rolled in with a USPS box, proclaiming, “I got goodies” — a jar full of joints, a jar full of buds, and some cookies. He then pointed at a bald Hispanic guy wearing a black baseball cap: Michael Gabriel, one of the performers on the bill, has his own cannabis company, Abuelitas. “Long story short, my dreams are coming true,” Gabriel said, passing me a joint. “I’m an artist with my own cannabis company.” All this action and smoking and I hadn’t made my way inside yet. Stoned was the way of the walk to the bar.

Once inside, I ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon from my bartender Mikey for $5. As I was enjoying my beer. Bakes was just finishing up his set. Head chef Suga Bear came up to me to say hi and tell me about some of his food. “Fish Fry Fridays, brisket, and my world-famous chicken wings. I cook soul-based food!” After he walked off, a bewitching platinum-haired woman and her friends sat next to me. We got to talking; it turned out her name was Nori and she also ran a local cannabis company: Smyle Co. Through the high, I was sensing a theme. She invited me to a drum circle on Sundays in Balboa Park. I ordered another Pabst. This time, bartender Travis hooked me up for $2.

Sponsored
Sponsored

DJ Wake&Bake was spinning old school NWA jams as I wandered about, noting the honeycomb shapes on the walls filled with greenery and flashing lights that changed colors. If bowling is your thing, there were four bowling lanes, shoe rental included. Closed for the event this evening.

Michael Gabriel and his entourage came on next. After they finished, it was time to head outside for fresh air and whatever else might be fresh out there. Right as I walked out: “Gabriel!” It was Michael Gabriel, holding up a joint and motioning for me to come join him. I noted that he could perform almost any genre of music because of his flow and falsetto voice — even hard rock. He said, “Bring it on!” As we were discussing the future, a big dark figure moseyed up to us: DJ Symphony. I found myself standing with him, Michael Gabriel, and a photographer whose name I didn’t catch. At one point, the photographer looked at me and said, “I’m going to give you a hint. Wu-Tang Clan is in San Diego!” He pointed across Garnet at the big Wu-Tang Clan sticker on the window of Cuts DJ Academy. “Wu-Tang is here in San Diego!” I inquired as to what he was talking about. “You gots to be fucking stupid!” he boomed. “You’re standing next to DJ Symphony, the DJ for GZA and Wu-Tang Clan! You gots to be fuckin stupid!”

It got a little quiet as I weighed my response. “You’re right; sometimes I’m fucking stupid.” The right call: people laughed. DJ Symphony then jumped to my defense. “He’s not stupid; I can tell by the way he talks. And he’s a writer.”

I missed Ric Scales’ performance because of all the action happening out front. A little commotion started on the sidewalk, due to the arrival of ONYX. I saw Ras Mike discussing some logistics with rapper Fredro Starr. That gave me a chance to introduce myself. Ras Mike told Fredro I would be writing about the show. Fredro, joint in hand, orange vest on torso, sunglasses in place, asked, “What you going to write about?” I responded, “To be determined.” He took a big hit of his joint and said, “I like that.” I asked him when they would start touring again. “We never stopped touring! We’ve been touring 30 years straight with a couple breaks. Also got three boys to raise.” Then his manager Bosston Rob whisked him away to go perform.

Fredro came out, saying they were going to start off with the smooth shit, and started with “Throw Ya Gunz.” Sticky Fingaz came in looking mean, with a rough voice to match. DJ Symphony was covering for this show, so it was fitting the hear the Wu-Tang/ONYX song “The Worst.” New York City was in the house. The energy intensified as the show went on, and when they finished off with “Slam,” they had everyone jumping, just like in the ‘93 MTV video. After the show ended, Fredro and Bosston Rob hung out and mingled for a bit. Then Fredro said, “I want to go smoke now,” and off into their fog they went.

Bosston Rob was kind enough to chat with me a few days after the show. I was curious what brought ONYX to Break Point in Pacific Beach. “Ras Mike made it happen. We worked with him last year. The overall feeling it was a successful show: no drama, we got paid, and hopefully everyone made it home safely.” His positivity was welcome, and he was right.

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