Beats be bumping at Que Sera

BY: NIKI VALENCIA

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Hip-hop and R&B are genres of music that evoke a certain movement in the head, hips and torso -- a movement that involves high energy with somewhat slow and intricate gestures, sharp moves, and tons of attitude. The DJ’s at Que Sera, a dive bar in Long Beach, Calif., are fully aware of this as a select few created a dance party to satisfy the rhythm and flow of old school hip-hop and R&B tunes. The monthly dance party, called Bump ‘N Grind, brings back the same music that once burst through boom boxes in the ’90s to the quaint red-walled bar on East 7th Street.

“What I love most about Bump ‘N Grind is the nostalgia of the music,” said Allison Slay, a regular attendee of the dance party.

Along with the dance moves, there’s a certain feeling obtained when the beats and lyrics of Tupac, Biggie Smalls, and other old school hip-hop artists echo through speakers in any given room. A feeling that cannot be completely described, but rather seen and experienced.

“The dance floor is crazy, people are all grinding on each other and it’s packed from 10:30 to 2 a.m.,” said Evan Scott, DJ at Que Sera and one of the three original people to create the dance party.

The Bump ‘N Grind dance party has been welcoming in over 300 people each month since the first party took place eight months ago in Sept. 2011. Scott shared how the dance party originated.

“Me and my buddy Jerome and Stella, we’re the three ones that put it on. Me and Jerome were DJing and neither of us had nothing going on for awhile,” said Scott.  “I had been DJing at Que Sera for awhile so we talked to the owners and they got us a night here and it’s been crazy every since.”

The Facebook page description of the event is as clear as it gets: “Straight from the LBC. We be the joint where the best of the 90s underground and radio hip hop, R&B, and reggae tunes are playing all fucking night.”

Every first Saturday of the month, the tunes of legendary artists such as Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Montell Jordan, A Tribe Called Quest, and plenty more are “grinded” to on the dance floor of the bar. “We cater to a generation that grew up on this stuff and we play music that everyone knows and loves,” said Scott.  “We mix it up with a bunch of ’90s hip-hop to other stuff like JA Rule and DMX. We usually play a little more underground stuff in beginning of the night.”

Passion and dance moves are exuded from young and hip attendees, usually holding in their hand a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer or a clear Dixie cup filled with a mixed alcoholic drink. “I like that I can get in the groove and come together and dance with a bunch of people who all love this style of music,” said Slay.

“It’s a really good collective mix of people, no bad vibes and everyone gets along,” added Scott. “There’s a lot of girls here for some reason; the girl to guy ratio is out of control, but it's a good thing.”

If you can’t make it to Que Sera the first Saturday of the month, there’s a Bump ‘N Grind Remix night that takes place on the third Saturday of each month as well. The difference between the two lies in the DJ’s selected to play for the party.

“For the regular Bump ‘N Grind, we bring in guest DJ’s from LA,” said Scott. “The remix night is local DJ’s and a little more mellow.”

Plans for a special Bump ‘N Grind pool party are also in the works for the time of year that calls for sunscreen and bathing suits. “We want to throw a Bump ‘N Grind pool party somewhere in Long Beach over the summer. We’re still trying to find a location for it,” said Scott.

The presence of this dance party is one that will continue to last well past summertime.  Scott said, “as long as people keep coming, we’re going to do it.”

In the meantime, the red colored walls, the stone floors, and the ceiling of the darkly lit Que Sera bar will continue to bump loudly on the first and third Saturdays of each month as people “grind” the night away.

“As a DJ, it’s really cool to hear everyone scream in the club and see everyone go wild,” said Scott.

Entry for the Bump ‘N Grind dance party is $5 and the bar is cash only, so be sure to bring in enough dollars for entry and decently-priced drinks. For more information, visit the Bump ‘N Grind Facebook page. Que Sera bar is located at 1923 E. Seventh St. Long Beach, CA 90813.