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SOCIAL CLIMES : High on Hip-Hop

March 22, 1992|DENNIS ROMERO

The decor is cheesy. Fish nets hang from the ceiling and a mirrored disco ball and two orange globes float above the wooden dance floor.

But when David Faustino (the Beaver of the '90s in his role as Bud Bundy on Fox-TV's "Married . . . With Children") and his crew take over Friday nights, they make Hollywood's 836 Club feel like the Bronx has hit the beach.

The 18-year-old opened this weekly club seven months ago with partners Nic Adler, also 18, and Robert Gavin, 19.

They posted a graffiti-art banner, brought in hip-hop deejay Greyboy from San Diego, sprinkled in a rap contest and opened the doors to a multicultural horde (plus or minus 500) of hightop-sporting teen-agers who hail from the city and the 'burbs.

The name is Balystyx; the effect is high-caliber hip-hop culture.

"Let's hear it!" announces Faustino as he opens Balystyx' stage to a contest between several young rappers with names like Jinx and 2Mex. They chant as a sideburned Greyboy lays down heavy bass on two Technic 1200 (known on the scene as Tech-12) turntables.

Faustino proclaims a winner, and then the heavyweights--such as MC Hen-G, once a deejay for the defunct AM station KDAY--hijack the microphone. The young crowd rocks, creating a human wave that laps at the stage.

The makers of baseball caps and brightly colored baggy jeans are the beneficiaries here, even though the rules aim to prevent gang clothing: "No baseball hats, no beanies, no sports parkas and no backpacks inside the club." A share of caps and parkas makes their way in, a good number of them on girls.

Christy Michelle, a small 17-year-old from Canoga Park, hangs her feet over a balcony in the club and sways to a mix of hip-hop songs. Sporting baggy red jeans (men's Size 30) and white Nike hightops, she explains the popularity of rap culture: "It started as a black thing and formed into an everybody thing."

Indeed, Faustino has brought hip-hop to his widely watched TV show, in which Bud gets so little respect as an aspiring rapper everyone keeps forgetting his rap name: "Grand Master Who?" "Grand Master B!"

Balystyx has attracted some big names in the rap world, including rapper Easy--E's deejay, Speed.

On a recent night, one of the few respected famous white rappers, who asked not to be identified, was spotted kickin' it (lounging) in a dark corner of the club.

Faustino seems content with a clientele that ranges from famous to forgettable.

"The money's all right," he says, "but I do it for the fun."

* The Spot: Balystyx, Friday night at the 836 Club, 836 N. Highland, Hollywood; (213) 285-8686.

* Cover: $13, $12 for members.

* Age limit: None, though there is a bar room for those who can prove they are 21. It's not a 21 crowd, however, as the bar was empty most of the time on a recent Friday.

* Drinks: Beer is $3.25; soft drinks and juices are $2.50.

* Door policy: A three-step process: Doorperson No. 1 checks ID, No. 2 frisks you, No. 3 collects your money.

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