10 LA Restaurants Name-Dropped in Hip Hop

Rappers' delight.

Illustration by Grace Han for Thrillist
Illustration by Grace Han for Thrillist

Rappers are not shy about expressing their likes, or dislikes for that matter. From their hometowns to the luxury brands they favor, hip hop artists will let you know what gets their stamp of approval, and occasionally that means what they’re eating. Whether it’s fine dining or a neighborhood joint, rappers have been showing love to LA eateries since the ‘90s. Here are ten spots in LA that have earned hip hop’s blessing, along with their most popular dishes:

chili cheese fries
Tam's Burgers IE

Tam’s Burgers

Various locations
Where you heard it: “ELEMENT” by Kendrick Lamar
“I be hangin’ out at Tam’s, I be on Stockton / I don’t do it for the ‘Gram, I do it for Compton.”
What to get: Chili cheese fries

While Tam’s has several locations, when Kendrick Lamar and other rappers talk about it, they’re talking about the one on Rosecrans Ave (also referred to as the Main St. of West Coast hip hop). Lamar has name-dropped Tam’s in numerous interviews and songs: for him it’s more than a fast-food restaurant, it’s tied to the nostalgia of his hometown of Compton. In “Compton State of Mind,” Kendrick Lamar recounts “the good old days / Eating Tam's Burgers while my Juvenile CD had played.” Sometimes we need that sense of comfort that only a hole-in-the-wall burger spot can fill. If you’re looking to satisfy your greasy and fried food cravings, Tam’s is your place.
How to order: Available for in-store pickup; delivery via Postmates

Other mentions

  • “Bompton”—YG
  • “TorcH”—ScHoolboy Q
  • The Game—“Roped Off” and “Support Compton”
chicken and waffles
Roscoe's Los Angeles

Various locations
Where you heard it: “Going Back to Cali” by Notorious B.I.G.
“Beeper start to flash, 818's, 213's / 313's, B.I.G / Frequently floss h*es at Roscoe's.”
What to get: Herb’s Special—a half-fried chicken prepared Southern-style with two waffles

A list about LA food spots in hip hop would not be complete without hometown fave, Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. The menu offers more than the titular chicken & waffles, with omelets, sandwiches, and soul food classics, but why go against what they’re known for? Rappers from across the country love the restaurant and for good reason. Their succulent chicken is Southern-fried and seasoned to perfection, and sweet waffles with a hint of cinnamon act as the perfect complement.
How to order: Call specific locations for in-store pickup; takeout and delivery via UberEats, Postmates, Seamless, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Caviar.

Other Mentions:

  • “Celebration”—A$AP Rocky
  • “Call Up the Homies”—Ludacris
  • “Had to Call”—Twisted Feat. Sleepy Eyed Jones & Snoop Dogg
  • “Cowboy” & “Steak Sauce”—Tyler the Creator
  • “All That (Lady)”—The Game and Fabolous feat. Big Sean, Lil Wayne and Jeremih
  • “Sunroof”—Boogie feat. Dana Williams
  • “Like Me”—Tyga
  • “Purp and Yellow” and “Remedy”—The Game
  • “Say You Will”—Wiz Khalifa
  • “Sunset”—24hr
  • “Barbie Drip”—Nicki Minaj
  • “Know Betta”—Juicy J
  • “Michael Jackson”—Nef the Pharaoh
  • “Crenshaw”—Skee-Lo
  • “The Pain”—Mac Dre
  • We could go on...

Beverly Hills
Where you heard it: “Diplomatic Immunity” by Drake
“Booked a private room at Wally’s, waiter twistin' the cork / I got multi-colored rings like the Olympics, of course.”
What to get: Truffle pizza

An article could be written that just lists restaurants that Drake loves. He’s like the Andrew Zimmern of hip hop. In “Diplomatic Immunity” alone he raps about three high-end L.A. restaurants: Wally’s, Giorgio Baldi, and Madeo, “Catering is from Giorgio Baldi, Robyn's favorite / Sh*t is nice, but I prefer Madeo.” We decided to sidestep his and (most likely) Rihanna’s culinary debate and went with Wally’s, a wine bar located in posh Beverly Hills. We suggest pairing their truffle pizza with the song “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj featuring Drake and Lil’ Wayne. Optional: follow in Drake’s example and “drink Santa Margherita by the liter.”
How to order: Available for takeout by ordering in-store or calling 310-475-0606 EXT. 306. Takeout and delivery via: Caviar, Doordash, UberEats, and ChowNow.

Nobu yellowtail sashimi
Nobu Los Angeles (Los Angeles)

Where you heard it: “Rolls Royce B*tch” by 2Chainz
“Yeah, three phones to call boo / I want some Nobu, met her at Whole Foods.”
What to get: Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and the black cod with miso

You’ve likely seen Nobu’s on various celeb’s IG stories or heard your favorite artist rapping about it: Drake mentions the upscale international chain in at least four songs. There’s something about the Malibu location of this Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant, birthed in LA, that draws hip hop’s elite. Perhaps it’s the four-dollar-sign price point or the ability to skip the extraordinarily long wait time. In a way, Nobu itself exudes major hip-hop energy. It’s luxurious, stylish, and full of flavor.
How to order: Call 310-317-9140 for takeout orders; pickup and delivery via Postmates.

Other Mentions:

  • “Like Me”—Pop Smoke Feat. PnB Rock
  • “Malibu”—24hrs and Post Malone
  • “Wanted You”—Nav
  • “Gyalchester”—Drake
  • “See Me Now”—Kanye West
  • “713”—The Carters
  • “Jumpman”—Drake & Future
  • “100 Shots”—Young Dolph
  • “Fun”—Vince Staples 
  • “Rubberband”—Beast Coast
  • ”Who Do You Love”—YG ft. Drake
  • ”Hug the Block”—The Game
Earle's hot dog
Earle's on Crenshaw

Leimert Park
Where you heard it: “L.A.” by Murs
“Don't be scared of Crenshaw, the Slauson super-mall / Or Earle's Hot Dogs man you gotta do it y'all.”
What to get: Hot dog and a side of Playa Punch (a super-sweet Kool-aid-esque concoction)

In an homage to his hometown of Los Angeles, Murs names only one food spot in his “L.A.” track and that spot is Earle’s. What started as a hot dog cart in the 1980s has since evolved into a brick-and-mortar location with an expansive menu that includes hamburgers, chili, sandwiches, Jamaican patties, and desserts. No need for vegans to avoid Earle’s as they also offer plant-based hotdogs, burgers, and chili.
How to order: Available for in-store take-out; pickup and delivery via Seamless, Doordash, GrubHub, and Postmates.

spicy fusilli
Jon & Vinny's Restaurant

Fairfax and Brentwood
Where you heard it: “Hopscotch” by Tinashe
“Beverly and Fairfax if you down to mob / Gettin' Jon and Vinny's on Fusilli spicy sauce.”
What to get: Spicy fusilli, vodka, basil, parmesan 

Do as Tinashe does in her ode to sunny Los Angeles and order the spicy fusilli from Jon & Vinny’s. You really can’t go wrong with anything at this modern American-Italian restaurant, but their spicy fusilli is addictive. The dish has inspired many copycat recipes online, but we say save yourself the trouble and hit up their Fairfax District location for the real deal.
How to order: Available for pickup in-store and by calling 323-334-3369; pickup and delivery via: Caviar and Doordash.

Dan Tana's Restaurant
Dan Tana's Restaurant

West Hollywood
Where you heard it: “18 Wheeler” by Benny the Butcher
“As long as he empty the bag like Black Santa / Steak dinners at Dan Tana's, pick a Tamara.”
What to get: New York Steak with a side of spaghetti marinara

Dan Tana’s food is the antithesis of what one would expect from a celeb-frequented Los Angeles eatery. It’s red meat- and carb-heavy with hardly a green in sight. However, the West Hollywood restaurant has been around since the 1960s making it as LA as our walk of stars. It has a classic Hollywood vibe and while you can’t sit inside and bask in the red leather booths at the moment, you can still take a note from Benny the Butcher and get their New York steak, which happens to be their most popular item.
How to order: In-store pickup by calling 310-275-9444; pickup and delivery via BringMeThat, Seamless, GrubHub, and Postmates.

Randy's Donuts
Randy's Donuts

Inglewood and Pasadena
Where you heard it: “Window” by Tyler the Creator featuring Hodgy, Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, and Mike G.
“We at Randy's ordering that 306 / Milk and glaze is the greed gold mix me.”
What to get: Glazed donut

Randy’s Donuts is a well-known donut shop with a landmark building in Inglewood and a brand-new location in Pasadena. The enormous donut on top of the building has become an LA emblem, making its way onto countless TV shows, movies, and music videos including Randy Newman’s. Rapper Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future supergroup has further put Randy’s on the map by referring to it in songs and collaborating with them on an apparel and accessory line. Part of what makes Randy’s great is their commitment to the classics. In a time of trendy donut shops cooking up crazy concoctions of unlikely ingredients, Randy’s keeps it old school. They’re not out reinventing the wheel...or rather the donut.
How to order: Available for in-store takeout; pickup and delivery via Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub, Doordash, and Caviar.

in n out burgers
jpellgen (@1179_jp)/Flickr

Various Locations
Where you heard it: “Hit the J” by The Game
“I'll be piggin' out / Never take her out to Crustaceans, it be In-N-Out—The Game on “Hit the J”
What to get: #2 Animal Style with a vanilla milkshake

Established in LA’s Baldwin Park in 1948, In-N-Out has cemented itself into West Coast food culture. It’s a road-trip staple, a must-eat for out-of-staters, and interestingly enough, a fixture in hip hop. If you’re unfamiliar with the chain, it offers an uncomplicated menu of hamburgers, fries, and shakes. Long-time fans of the chain know to order from the not-so-secret menu, which offers customization options like a grilled cheese sans the patty for non-meat eaters, the 4x4 burger (four burger patties stacked with four slices of American cheese on a freshly baked bun), and dressing your burger or fries “animal style,” which includes grilled onions, pickles, and an extra helping of their Thousand Island-inspired special sauce. In-N-Out has locations throughout the American West, however we’re claiming this one for its hometown of LA.
How to order: Only available for drive-thru and in-store pickup.

Other mentions:

  • “Sunset”—24hrs
  • “Cadillac Girl”—Andre Nikatina feat. Mac Dre
  • “Not Going Back”—Childish Gambino
  • “In-N-Out” and “Hustle Music”—Jay Critch
  • “Riley From the Boondocks”—Lil Yachty
  • “KJazz”—Lupe Fiasco
  • “Almost”—Machine Gun Kelly
  • “Animal Style”—Murs
  • “Kesha Dem”—Trouble
  • “In Loving Memory”—Saba

Various locations
Where you heard it: “4 the Lil Homies” by Dom Kennedy
“This sponsored by King Taco / And all them burger stands I rocks on the van.”
What to get: Carne asada tacos

In his first major solo album since 2018, Rap n Roll, Dom Kennedy continues to put it down for his hometown of LA, including a shout out to the foods that fuel him, specifically King Taco, which bears the name for good reason: for under $2 you can snag a street-sized treat in a plethora of meats ranging from al pastor, lengua, and carnitas to the classic carne asada, which remains our favorite. Don’t skimp on the salsa bar and note that the red salsa is not for the timid while the green is the perfect mild option.
How to order: Available for in-store take-out; pickup and delivery via Postmates, GrubHub, UberEats, and Doordash.

Other Mentions:

  • “Bang It To The Club”—Far East movement
  • “Reina De Barrio (Ghetto Queen)” and “The Battle”—Murs
  • “Do Know Wrong”—Propaganda

Bonus Track:
Ostrich Farm

Echo Park
Where you heard it: “Trappin” by Kilo Kish feat. Vince Staples
“These h*es know my preference / Order Ostrich for the breakfast.”
What to get: Scrambled egg sandwich

This one may be a stretch as we can’t say for certain whether Vince Staples is talking about Echo Park’s Ostrich Farm in Kilo Kish’s “Trappin” track. However, the Compton-born rapper frequently comments on his favorite food and restaurants in his music, so it’s not completely out of the question. Either way—the neighborhood nook is a popular brunch spot known for its seasonal comfort food and thoughtful wine list. Don’t worry if you can’t make it for breakfast as their all-day breakfast sandwich is available...well, all day. The not-too-big-not-too-small sandwich comes with soft-scrambled eggs, prosciutto, pecorino, and arugula on grilled sourdough.
How to order: Available for pickup and delivery via: Caviar, ChowNow, and Postmates.

Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.

Keisha Raines is a freelance writer based in L.A. who loves any excuse to talk about food and/or hip hop. Follow her on Twitter @reishakaines