Los Angeles

10 LA Restaurants Name-Dropped in Hip Hop

Rappers' delight.

Illustration by Grace Han for Thrillist
Illustration by Grace Han for Thrillist
Illustration by Grace Han for Thrillist

Rappers are not shy about expressing their likes, or dislikes for that matter. From their hometowns to the luxury brands they favor, hip hop artists will let you know what gets their stamp of approval, and occasionally that means what they’re eating. Whether it’s fine dining or a neighborhood joint, rappers have been showing love to LA eateries since the ‘90s. Here are ten spots in LA that have earned hip hop’s blessing, along with their most popular dishes:

Tam's Burgers IE
Tam’s Burgers IE
Tam’s Burgers IE

Tam’s Burgers

Various locations
Where you heard it: “ELEMENT” by Kendrick Lamar
“I be hangin’ out at Tam’s, I be on Stockton / I don’t do it for the ‘Gram, I do it for Compton.”
What to get: Chili cheese fries

While Tam’s has several locations, when Kendrick Lamar and other rappers talk about it, they’re talking about the one on Rosecrans Ave (also referred to as the Main St. of West Coast hip hop). Lamar has name-dropped Tam’s in numerous interviews and songs: for him it’s more than a fast-food restaurant, it’s tied to the nostalgia of his hometown of Compton. In “Compton State of Mind,” Kendrick Lamar recounts “the good old days / Eating Tam’s Burgers while my Juvenile CD had played.” Sometimes we need that sense of comfort that only a hole-in-the-wall burger spot can fill. If you’re looking to satisfy your greasy and fried food cravings, Tam’s is your place.
How to order: Available for in-store pickup; delivery via Postmates

Other mentions

  • “Bompton”-YG
  • “TorcH”-ScHoolboy Q
  • The Game-“Roped Off” and “Support Compton”
Roscoe's Los Angeles
Roscoe’s Los Angeles
Roscoe’s Los Angeles

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

Various locations
Where you heard it: “Going Back to Cali” by Notorious B.I.G.
“Beeper start to flash, 818’s, 213’s / 313’s, B.I.G / Frequently floss h*es at Roscoe’s.”
What to get: Herb’s Special-a half-fried chicken prepared Southern-style with two waffles

A list about LA food spots in hip hop would not be complete without hometown fave, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. The menu offers more than the titular chicken & waffles, with omelets, sandwiches, and soul food classics, but why go against what they’re known for? Rappers from across the country love the restaurant and for good reason. Their succulent chicken is Southern-fried and seasoned to perfection, and sweet waffles with a hint of cinnamon act as the perfect complement.
How to order: Call specific locations for in-store pickup; takeout and delivery via UberEats, Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Caviar.

Other Mentions:

  • “Celebration”-A$AP Rocky
  • “Call Up the Homies”-Ludacris
  • “Had to Call”-Twisted Feat. Sleepy Eyed Jones & Snoop Dogg
  • “Cowboy” & “Steak Sauce”-Tyler the Creator
  • “All That (Lady)”-The Game and Fabolous feat. Big Sean, Lil Wayne and Jeremih
  • “Sunroof”-Boogie feat. Dana Williams
  • “Like Me”-Tyga
  • “Purp and Yellow” and “Remedy”-The Game
  • “Say You Will”-Wiz Khalifa
  • “Sunset”-24hr
  • “Barbie Drip”-Nicki Minaj
  • “Know Betta”-Juicy J
  • “Michael Jackson”-Nef the Pharaoh
  • “Crenshaw”-Skee-Lo
  • “The Pain”-Mac Dre
  • We could go on…
Wally's
Wally’s
Wally’s

Wally’s

Beverly Hills
Where you heard it: “Diplomatic Immunity” by Drake
“Booked a private room at Wally’s, waiter twistin’ the cork / I got multi-colored rings like the Olympics, of course.”
What to get: Truffle pizza

An article could be written that just lists restaurants that Drake loves. He’s like the Andrew Zimmern of hip hop. In “Diplomatic Immunity” alone he raps about three high-end L.A. restaurants: Wally’s, Giorgio Baldi, and Madeo, “Catering is from Giorgio Baldi, Robyn’s favorite / Sh*t is nice, but I prefer Madeo.” We decided to sidestep his and (most likely) Rihanna’s culinary debate and went with Wally’s, a wine bar located in posh Beverly Hills. We suggest pairing their truffle pizza with the song “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj featuring Drake and Lil’ Wayne. Optional: follow in Drake’s example and “drink Santa Margherita by the liter.”
How to order: Available for takeout by ordering in-store or calling 310-475-0606 EXT. 306. Takeout and delivery via: Caviar, Doordash, UberEats, and ChowNow.

Nobu Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
Nobu Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
Nobu Los Angeles (Los Angeles)

Nobu

Malibu
Where you heard it: “Rolls Royce B*tch” by 2Chainz
“Yeah, three phones to call boo / I want some Nobu, met her at Whole Foods.”
What to get: Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and the black cod with miso

You’ve likely seen Nobu’s on various celeb’s IG stories or heard your favorite artist rapping about it: Drake mentions the upscale international chain in at least four songs. There’s something about the Malibu location of this Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant, birthed in LA, that draws hip hop’s elite. Perhaps it’s the four-dollar-sign price point or the ability to skip the extraordinarily long wait time. In a way, Nobu itself exudes major hip-hop energy. It’s luxurious, stylish, and full of flavor.
How to order: Call 310-317-9140 for takeout orders; pickup and delivery via Postmates.

Other Mentions:

  • “Like Me”-Pop Smoke Feat. PnB Rock
  • “Malibu”-24hrs and Post Malone
  • “Wanted You”-Nav
  • “Gyalchester”-Drake
  • “See Me Now”-Kanye West
  • “713”-The Carters
  • “Jumpman”-Drake & Future
  • “100 Shots”-Young Dolph
  • “Fun”-Vince Staples 
  • “Rubberband”-Beast Coast
  • “Who Do You Love”-YG ft. Drake
  • “Hug the Block”-The Game
Earle's on Crenshaw
Earle’s on Crenshaw
Earle’s on Crenshaw

Earle’s On Crenshaw

Leimert Park
Where you heard it: “L.A.” by Murs
“Don’t be scared of Crenshaw, the Slauson super-mall / Or Earle’s Hot Dogs man you gotta do it y’all.”
What to get: Hot dog and a side of Playa Punch (a super-sweet Kool-aid-esque concoction)

In an homage to his hometown of Los Angeles, Murs names only one food spot in his “L.A.” track and that spot is Earle’s. What started as a hot dog cart in the 1980s has since evolved into a brick-and-mortar location with an expansive menu that includes hamburgers, chili, sandwiches, Jamaican patties, and desserts. No need for vegans to avoid Earle’s as they also offer plant-based hotdogs, burgers, and chili.
How to order: Available for in-store take-out; pickup and delivery via Seamless, Doordash, GrubHub, and Postmates.

Jon & Vinny's Restaurant
Jon & Vinny’s Restaurant
Jon & Vinny’s Restaurant

Jon & Vinny’s

Fairfax and Brentwood
Where you heard it: “Hopscotch” by Tinashe
“Beverly and Fairfax if you down to mob / Gettin’ Jon and Vinny’s on Fusilli spicy sauce.”
What to get: Spicy fusilli, vodka, basil, parmesan 

Do as Tinashe does in her ode to sunny Los Angeles and order the spicy fusilli from Jon & Vinny’s. You really can’t go wrong with anything at this modern American-Italian restaurant, but their spicy fusilli is addictive. The dish has inspired many copycat recipes online, but we say save yourself the trouble and hit up their Fairfax District location for the real deal.
How to order: Available for pickup in-store and by calling 323-334-3369; pickup and delivery via: Caviar and Doordash.

Dan Tana's Restaurant
Dan Tana’s Restaurant
Dan Tana’s Restaurant

Dan Tana’s

West Hollywood
Where you heard it: “18 Wheeler” by Benny the Butcher
“As long as he empty the bag like Black Santa / Steak dinners at Dan Tana’s, pick a Tamara.”
What to get: New York Steak with a side of spaghetti marinara

Dan Tana’s food is the antithesis of what one would expect from a celeb-frequented Los Angeles eatery. It’s red meat- and carb-heavy with hardly a green in sight. However, the West Hollywood restaurant has been around since the 1960s making it as LA as our walk of stars. It has a classic Hollywood vibe and while you can’t sit inside and bask in the red leather booths at the moment, you can still take a note from Benny the Butcher and get their New York steak, which happens to be their most popular item.
How to order: In-store pickup by calling 310-275-9444; pickup and delivery via BringMeThat, Seamless, GrubHub, and Postmates.

Randy's Donuts
Randy’s Donuts
Randy’s Donuts

Randy’s Donuts

Inglewood and Pasadena
Where you heard it: “Window” by Tyler the Creator featuring Hodgy, Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, and Mike G.
“We at Randy’s ordering that 306 / Milk and glaze is the greed gold mix me.”
What to get: Glazed donut

Randy’s Donuts is a well-known donut shop with a landmark building in Inglewood and a brand-new location in Pasadena. The enormous donut on top of the building has become an LA emblem, making its way onto countless TV shows, movies, and music videos including Randy Newman’s. Rapper Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future supergroup has further put Randy’s on the map by referring to it in songs and collaborating with them on an apparel and accessory line. Part of what makes Randy’s great is their commitment to the classics. In a time of trendy donut shops cooking up crazy concoctions of unlikely ingredients, Randy’s keeps it old school. They’re not out reinventing the wheel…or rather the donut.
How to order: Available for in-store takeout; pickup and delivery via Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub, Doordash, and Caviar.

jpellgen (@1179_jp)/Flickr
jpellgen (@1179_jp)/Flickr
jpellgen (@1179_jp)/Flickr

In-N-Out

Various Locations
Where you heard it: “Hit the J” by The Game
“I’ll be piggin’ out / Never take her out to Crustaceans, it be In-N-Out-The Game on “Hit the J”
What to get: #2 Animal Style with a vanilla milkshake

Established in LA’s Baldwin Park in 1948, In-N-Out has cemented itself into West Coast food culture. It’s a road-trip staple, a must-eat for out-of-staters, and interestingly enough, a fixture in hip hop. If you’re unfamiliar with the chain, it offers an uncomplicated menu of hamburgers, fries, and shakes. Long-time fans of the chain know to order from the not-so-secret menu, which offers customization options like a grilled cheese sans the patty for non-meat eaters, the 4×4 burger (four burger patties stacked with four slices of American cheese on a freshly baked bun), and dressing your burger or fries “animal style,” which includes grilled onions, pickles, and an extra helping of their Thousand Island-inspired special sauce. In-N-Out has locations throughout the American West, however we’re claiming this one for its hometown of LA.
How to order: Only available for drive-thru and in-store pickup.

Other mentions:

  • “Sunset”-24hrs
  • “Cadillac Girl”-Andre Nikatina feat. Mac Dre
  • “Not Going Back”-Childish Gambino
  • “In-N-Out” and “Hustle Music”-Jay Critch
  • “Riley From the Boondocks”-Lil Yachty
  • “KJazz”-Lupe Fiasco
  • “Almost”-Machine Gun Kelly
  • “Animal Style”-Murs
  • “Kesha Dem”-Trouble
  • “In Loving Memory”-Saba
KingTaco
KingTaco
KingTaco

King Taco

Various locations
Where you heard it: “4 the Lil Homies” by Dom Kennedy
“This sponsored by King Taco / And all them burger stands I rocks on the van.”
What to get: Carne asada tacos

In his first major solo album since 2018, Rap n Roll, Dom Kennedy continues to put it down for his hometown of LA, including a shout out to the foods that fuel him, specifically King Taco, which bears the name for good reason: for under $2 you can snag a street-sized treat in a plethora of meats ranging from al pastor, lengua, and carnitas to the classic carne asada, which remains our favorite. Don’t skimp on the salsa bar and note that the red salsa is not for the timid while the green is the perfect mild option.
How to order: Available for in-store take-out; pickup and delivery via Postmates, GrubHub, UberEats, and Doordash.

Other Mentions:

  • “Bang It To The Club”-Far East movement
  • “Reina De Barrio (Ghetto Queen)” and “The Battle”-Murs
  • “Do Know Wrong”-Propaganda
@ostrichfarmla
@ostrichfarmla
@ostrichfarmla

Bonus Track:
Ostrich Farm

Echo Park
Where you heard it: “Trappin” by Kilo Kish feat. Vince Staples
“These h*es know my preference / Order Ostrich for the breakfast.”
What to get: Scrambled egg sandwich

This one may be a stretch as we can’t say for certain whether Vince Staples is talking about Echo Park’s Ostrich Farm in Kilo Kish’s “Trappin” track. However, the Compton-born rapper frequently comments on his favorite food and restaurants in his music, so it’s not completely out of the question. Either way-the neighborhood nook is a popular brunch spot known for its seasonal comfort food and thoughtful wine list. Don’t worry if you can’t make it for breakfast as their all-day breakfast sandwich is available…well, all day. The not-too-big-not-too-small sandwich comes with soft-scrambled eggs, prosciutto, pecorino, and arugula on grilled sourdough.
How to order: Available for pickup and delivery via: Caviar, ChowNow, and Postmates.Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.

Keisha Raines is a freelance writer based in L.A. who loves any excuse to talk about food and/or hip hop. Follow her on Twitter @reishakaines

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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