Skip to content

Live hip-hop music gets some exposure at Surrey’s last strip club

Whalley’s Shakerz bar has staged a few concerts in recent years, and promoter has no plans to stop
Chris Crate (right, aka Krink Major) and Branden Fowler (DJ Heavy B) outside Shakerz in Whalley. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey’s last standing strip club is also a place where live hip-hop music is being given some exposure.

Shakerz in Whalley will be a stage for Mickey O’Brien, Dubgee and other artists Saturday night (March 18) in another concert promoted there by Chris Crate, known as Krink Major (or MJR) in local hip-hop circles.

Typically the bar is a place where Sasha Belle, Electra Monroe and other women shed their clothes for patrons, but lately Crate and DJ Heavy B have partnered to bring music to the long-standing venue every so often, in an effort to give underground hip-hop more stage time in Surrey.

“Our first show at Shakerz was three years ago now, and this will be our fifth here, I believe,” Crate revealed.

Heavy B, or Branden Fowler, is head of entertainment at the show lounge on Whalley Boulevard, north of 104 Avenue, where the marquee once touted T-Barz, Champagne’s and other names.

“This is it, the last strip club in Surrey,” Fowler confirmed with a smile.

“People don’t know it’s here, but there’s nothing else like it. People will dance at their table or on the floor, and sometimes there are more females here than guys.

“This place has history,” he added, “and yeah there have been problems in the past, but it’s completely different now.”

• RELATED: Watch rapper Merkules talk about his Surrey roots and home before its demolition.

For Saturday’s hip-hop show, a dozen performers are on the Beast Van Records-presented Blue Collar Tour bill, including Krink Major. The $20 tickets are sold on

Crate’s stage name riffs on House of Major, a clothing brand he launched a few years ago, after some hard time.

“There were some (hip-hop) shows here (in Surrey), at The Olympia and Peacock, and then I came into the picture,” Crate recalled. “I was incarcerated for 10 years up until 2017, and I got out of prison, decided to change my life, started doing a clothing brand and that got me into some events. That’s what got me into doing the events and I went for it myself, and now we’re a company that does these shows and is keeping hip-hop alive. It’s not just at Shakerz, it’s the Brownsville and other pubs, like at the White Hart until it closed down, and Strumms N Drums when it was open at The Turf Hotel.”

Saturday’s show at Shakerz will feature Mickey O’Brien and Dubgee as headliners.

O’Brien’s experience as a miner and labour advocate informs his verses and desire to rock over heavy boom-bap beats, a bio says on the online event page. “As the title of his latest album ‘Shift Change’ suggests, party-goers quickly pick up the vibe and shed the weight of the week. It’s time to get buckwild and let loose.

Meantime, Dubgee is billed as a “band nerd at heart” who brings a live-production vibe “rapping over his beatbox loops and slaying the melodies with his Keytar. Yes, his Keytar. With influences ranging from classic rock and ’90s rap, expect to be entertained by call and response hooks and heavy lead solos. Lasers coming soon.”

In addition to putting on hip-hop shows in Surrey, Crate apparently loves performing in them.

“I’ve been blessed to be able to bring in these other artists to fill up these bills, and we’ve had a good time every time we’ve done it, haven’t had a loss yet,” he insisted.

“With the clothes,” Crate added, “my daily operation was pushing a rack of clothes around on the streets and selling the stuff and just trying to break my brand, and now it’s in the malls, some stores. We’re about to open a store April 1 at Main and Hastings (in Vancouver).

“This is all completely self-funded too,” he added. “I’ve never had a grant, nothing, it’s just me trying to create my own moves and opportunities for myself. This saved my life, and it’s something I have fun with too. The clothing brand is my main thing, and the reception to that is what makes me continue doing the hip-hop.”

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
Read more