Before heading to Musexpo and speaking at the Worldwide Radio Summit last week, I spent some time in downtown Los Angeles to explore a part of the city that too often gets overlooked. My renewed interest in downtown Los Angeles was sparked by Far East Movement's "Free Wired," the group's debut record that was inspired by the group's downtown upbringing and friendship.
At times gritty, often breathtaking and always colorful, downtown Los Angeles stretches from Koreatown in the northwest to the concrete banks of the L.A. river in the east. The area lost some of its luster in past decades after its heyday in the 1920s, but in recent years it has gone through an urban renaissance with young hipsters, culture hustlers and other urban adventurers moving into the large loft spaces that can be found all over downtown.
The arrival of new museums, galleries, clubs and bars has helped accelerate downtown's resurgence, making it a perfect breeding ground for everything hot and happening.
It's exactly that colorful urban spirit that Far East Movement's "Free Wired" taps into. The group's all-inclusive, free wired mashing of styles to create an edgy, yet mainstream-friendly aesthetic was inspired by their downtown upbringing and is now reflected in their music, look and artistic attitude.
For my stay in downtown Los Angeles, I stayed at the Hilton Checkers, an excellent boutique style hotel right in the middle of downtown that I highly recommend if you are looking for comfortable and friendly lodging.