By David Rolland
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"Danger" by Lee Major
Blue once moonlighted as a DJ at Angels All Nude Revue in North Miami. He played his own music enough that dancers mentioned it everywhere else they worked. "Now I'm signed to Poe Boy. And being big in the strip clubs and the streets had a lot to do with that."
Near the end of the night at Flavors, two guys walk over to the DJ booth, and Chico hands them his own mix CD. Every night, he makes new ones on the spot from the music on his hard drive.
"How much?" one of the guys asks.
"Just give the money to the girls," Chico replies. "As long as you take care of them, I'm straight."
Before the night is over, most of the dancers come up and tip him $10, which is a club rule, except for one girl who says she's short.
"Hey, Chico, I'ma give it to you tomorrow," she says with sad eyes.
"Hold on. Girl, you need to stop doing this," Chico quips back.
Later, he explains: "Money in strip clubs can be an issue sometimes. Some girls appreciate the DJ and tip accordingly, but others don't."
Meanwhile, some DJs don't need to worry about getting tips from the dancers when the artists keep slipping them money.
The inside of Diamonds Cabaret is like an adults' playground. There's a full-length basketball court for guys, a barber on hand, free Hennessy shots, and large, thick asses galore. Young girls with swollen backsides that defy gravity gyrate naked around the club, and DJ Fattboi is doing a delicate balancing act of spinning music that girls like but that also makes guys want to throw money. The music here is all hip-hop. But you're not going to hear any Mos Def or Talib Kweli. It's mostly street rap, and the bulk of it is local.
"Not a night goes by that somebody isn't putting a CD in my hand," Fattboi says while transitioning between Young Jeezy's "Vacation" and Brisco's hood anthem "Bitch I'm Me." The latter is a local track that was broken and heavily promoted in strip clubs throughout South Florida because the chorus isn't exactly radio-friendly, with lines like "I got a hard dick buffet they feast."
"We show love to the local artists," Fattboi says. "For a lot of them, strip clubs are the only place where they can get their music played. So me and my partner DJ Papo, we take CDs all the time."
Fattboi says he doesn't charge artists. But a new song typically doesn't get played without money changing hands. "If they want to throw $20 our way, that's cool too. Hey, we all in here hustling."
DJ Papo, a skinny, white Cuban-American, sits at the bar across the room wearing dark sunglasses, a low-cropped fade, a light-blue polo shirt, and jeans. He's got a wireless microphone in his hand, and he's emceeing the night. Fattboi's responsibilities include cuing up the music and calling the dancers to the stage. Papo jumps on the mic to announce that, in 15 minutes, Miami rapper Flo Rida is expected to show up with a film crew from Cinemax. That sends a buzz among the dancers — they know Flo Rida's crew will rain money on the club.
Flo Rida walks in with a posse of 20, including a full camera crew. Fattboi plays Flo Rida's new single, "Love," featuring Brisco, and the cameraman, lighting guy, and sound technician follow him through the club. The energy is amped. Four guys who have been at the club all night sit near the back of the club and float dollar bills in the air over two naked dancers, who promptly bend over, touch their toes, and shake their asses like a gallon of paint being mixed.
Flo Rida and a crew of hangers-on who work for Poe Boy Records make a beeline for the VIP area, and dancers follow. When the cameras start filming, about seven strippers give lap dances to guys sitting on couches. Flo Rida throws as much cash as he can palm at the women, overhand-style, like a pitcher. In one motion, he tosses 50 or 60 singles toward dancers, and then — whoosh — another wad of cash gets lobbed in a different direction. With so much money in the air, it's hard to see from one side of the VIP area to the other.
"In the South, this is how we do it," Flo Rida leans over and says amid the celebration. "Certain strip clubs down here, the energy is just like regular clubs in other places. So I know that if my music is hot here, it can be hot anywhere."
By the time Flo Rida leaves an hour later, there's so much money on the ground that the staff has to sweep it up with push brooms and dump it into trash bags for the girls to divvy up later.
Meanwhile, artists who are less established keep making their way toward DJ Fattboi. Ball Greezy stands near the DJ area flirting with a stripper, and two minutes later, his song "Shone" is playing over the speakers. It's another track that grew popular in local strip clubs eight months ago, and now it's playing on Florida radio stations.