Best Hip-Hop Record Shop

Park Blvd. Records

Park Blvd. Records is the only record shop in Oakland with a bin-card for Sick Wid It Records, the label helmed by Bay Area hip-hop ambassador E-40. The small, cozy store just east of Lake Merritt categorizes hip-hop vinyl by region, boasts a dizzying cassette selection, and represents genres including soul, jazz, reggae, and electronic music with evident consideration as well. What little local hip-hop appears on CD is reliably stocked; artists sometimes deliver wares themselves. Andrew Nosnitsky, a music critic known by his byline Noz, opened the store in 2015 with Bay Area hip-hop archivist Jason Darrah (who’s since left the business), hoping to cultivate a sense of community around fandom that he felt had been supplanted by venom and cynicism online. The shop’s email newsletter is nowadays one of the only places to read his writing on new releases.

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