Dope Jams, Good Times

Photo by Kasalina Nabakooza

For the last four years, Dope Jams has offered those in Clinton Hill a place to go to for good music and good vibes. The combination has made this old-school record store one of the few shops that has managed to survive the digital boom.

Nick Hallstrom, a jack-of-all-trades who works at Dope Jams, says they owe a lot of that to their location.

“We weren’t interested in catering to the glitz and glamour of Manhattan, “ Hallstrom said. “Anything interesting comes from the working class. Brooklyn is where it’s at.”

Where other stores try to serve the pop world, owners Paul Nickerson and Francis Englehardt wanted to find their niche. They wanted customers to know coming to Dope Jams meant they were getting something specific and not just buying the latest Justin Bieber album.

The store caters to those looking for dance music, specifically on vinyl. It’s also one of the few places in New York that offers new, old and used 12-inch records. There are no digital options here; everything sold in the store or online is tangible.

Dope Jams may cater to old-school DJs who still like to spin records, but their clientele varies. From old school dance heads to kids just getting into the scene to those music fans who are looking for something new, the store offers something for every one.

Hallstrom, who was a fan of the store before he started working there in 2007, says Dope Jams can survive because it is not just a place to buy music.

“You get to hear the music on a dope record system like you couldn’t at home,” Hallstrom said. “You are given a few minutes to just escape. That experience can’t be replicated online.”

The store is also known for their events, which offer another chance for music fans to connect.

On March 19th, Dope Jams is throwing a benefit for Haiti called Celebrate Life: Brooklyn Loves Haiti with special guest DJ Funmi Ononaiye. For Hallstrom, this benefit sums up what the store is all about.

“We want to represent DJ social culture,” Hallstrom said. “We can all help a little and party it up at the same time.”

Check out more photos by Kasalina Nabakooza, here.

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