Sexy can I pour some sugar on my love for Ray J?

The Azukar Lounge crowd loved them some Ray J last Thursday.

The Azukar Lounge crowd loved them some Ray J last Thursday.


Big night at Azukar Lounge:
I bumped into local hip-hop producer Jae Synth last Thursday night at Azukar Lounge in Midtown.

“You’re the last person I’d ever expect to see here tonight,” he said.

I explained that I was working. Which was true: Bueno, the subject of this week’s music feature (see page 53), was to perform along with headliner Ray J, and I wanted to catch the gig.

I assured Jae that I was not a closet Ray J fan.

In fact, the only thing I knew about Ray J before last week was that he was a notorious philanderer who’d made a sex tape with Kim Kardashian. Their tape led to all sorts of famewhore opportunities, including albums and TV programs.

Like, for example, Ray J’s show, For the Love of Ray J, which premiered last February. It’s a reality-dating show à la The Bachelor: a fleet of women vie for Ray J’s affection; Ray J chooses a winner in the final episode.

For the Love’s season-one winner was none other than Sacramentan Joanna Hernandez, a.k.a. “Cocktail.” And at first, Cocktail and Ray J’s romance blossomed. As she put it: “If we don’t talk every day, we at least text each other. We make a point to see each other at least twice a month.”

Ah, true love.

Anyway, Ray J and Cocktail split up after rumors that Ray J had cheated on her in the actual world with fellow reality-TV star Tila Tequila, of dating show A Shot at Love … With Tila Tequila, hit the tabloids. Ray J denied the affair—but there’s no denying his penchant for liquor-monikered vixens. Case closed.

Back to Ray J’s show last Thursday.

Azukar was packed out front when I arrived at 10:30 p.m. Women in tight cocktail dresses and dudes in collared knit shirts snaked westward down J Street. Bouncers frisked attendees one by one. I didn’t have a ticket, but the club’s owner, Al, hooked me up with admission.

Al’s the quintessential self-made Sacramento entrepreneur and nightclub mogul. He got his start back in the early ’90s, when he ran a Vietnamese dance spot on Stockton Boulevard. Years later, he purchased a club on J Street downtown—which he originally coined “Rokku,” but because of legal entanglements renamed “Zokku.” As it turned out, “Zokku” means “gathering place” in Japanese, so the club was a hit for a few years, drawing crowds from as far away as San Jose.

Anyway, Al bought Azukar nearly three years ago. And his new club flourished, becoming the preferred hangout of Ron Artest and most Sacramento Kings. And evidently hundreds of beautiful Sacramento women.

These women assembled en masse along Azukar’s stage just before midnight, anticipating Ray J’s arrival. Not able to maneuver anywhere near the stage, I hunted down Al, who kindly escorted me through Azukar’s backstage maze, like I was Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, and secured me a spot onstage.

And so, The Ray J Show.

Ray J performs solo with only a deejay—and bodyguards, who don’t sing or do anything musical at all. They simply pry women off Ray J.

Ray J leans over the crowd and puts his hand to his ear. The women scream. Then grab. The bodyguards converge and free poor Ray J from their reaches. The deejay mixes a new beat. Rinse. Repeat.

The music is pretty much an afterthought.

In fact, Ray J’s set lasts barely 10 minutes. He performs “Sexy Can I” and snippets of other ditties before inviting select females onstage to jive—which leads to a flood of women overtaking the VIP area.

This brings the show to a halt. Ray J is backed up against a mirrored wall, but nonchalantly pours himself a drink from a VIP table while his security clears the stage.

I leave.

The next day, Bueno called and explained that he took the stage after Ray J and did a few songs. Good thing: At least someone with talent was able to perform. (Nick Miller)