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Rachel Levin
L.A. Pulse
Hip hop
United States
Greater Los Angeles
Santa Monica, CA

Quality at Zanzibar

by Rachel Levin
February 5, 2008
1301 5th Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401
Every Friday night
10 p.m.-2 a.m.
$10 cover
Quality, the weekly Saturday night party at Zanzibar in Santa Monica hosted by DJs Haul & Mason, has ticked past the five-year mark and is still going strong. This past Saturday, a packed dance floor of people found respite from the chilly wind and rain within the warm red walls and perpetual humidity of African/Indian-themed Zanzibar.

The lush interior, however, feels better suited to the world beats of specialty nights like Thursday's Afro Funké and Friday's Bossa:nova. Quality's mainstream fare seems to contrast with the glowing Moroccan lamps and low couches done in fabrics fit for a sultan.

The Quality DJs focus on a mix of hip-hop, house, pop, 80s, and dancehall, but quality control is spotty. Just when they've got the floor rockin' with a vintage hip-hop or Prince joint, they'll switch up the genre and rhythm mid-tune, leaving dancers in a perpetual state of longing. It's high energy, to say the least, but there's a bit of attention deficit disorder in the mix.

Still, those who come to Quality seem to lap it up. During the peak hours of 11:30-1:30, you can barely squeeze onto the dance floor. The only ones enjoying some breathing room are the girls who take to the strip of stage in front of the DJs. Yet for the most part, the diverse crowd is as courteous as they could be given the close quarters.

Though Zanzibar's strength is its edgier mid-week fare, Quality is the right choice for a Saturday night offering. It's crowd-pleasing enough to offer something for everyone, even if it's a somewhat schizophrenic sound buffet.
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