12’s Wax Emporium preserves hip-hop culture in Sacramento

Jason Okamoto

12’s Wax Emporium, located at Broadway and 17th, is a hip-hop record shop with an authentic flavor that combines the old school with the new school.

Judging strictly from the number of relic vinyls from hip-hops renaissance and golden age, 12’s appears to be somewhat of an antique shop. On the other hand it acts as a launching pad for the potential for a hip-hop artistry that has seemed to been lost in larger retail music stores.

Opening it’s doors at the beginning of the year, 12’s has been a project in the making since spring the of 2001, born from inspiration that goes back to as long as the four owners can remember.

While attending Sacramento State, co-owners Nino Machado, Jennifer Nuesca, Pat Sullivan and Ben Andres, all find a way to manage the store out of their love for the music and the culture.

Nino Machado is the bassist for the local Sacramento group, the Addict Merchants. Ben Andres (aka DJ Riff Raff) developed a taste for music from his older brother’s soul and funk records, while Sullivan (aka DJ P-Sol) fell into the culture while hanging out with his friends, spinning records in Modesto. Jennifer Nuesca, the matriarch of the Emporium, got a feel for the culture of hip-hop by attending break-dancing battles and attending countless shows, later photographing many of them.

Still without a big flashy sign to highlight their location on the Broadway strip, the inside decor of 12’s speaks to a visitor like a veteran hip-hop MC who has been around since the birth of his/her own trade.

“In the store, there are all of the different elements of hip-hop,” Nuesca said.

“We want to preserve the hip-hop that we grew up with,” Machado added.

Besides the extensive number of hard to find vinyls, all the walls in the store are covered with painted murals done by a local artist. A set of turn tables consistently fill the store with beats, as customers peruse through hip-hop clothing, videos, and literature.

Sacramento’s underground hip-hop scene is flourishing with many artists, however, on the map, the action is less detected when compared to cities such as Seattle and San Francisco.

12’s aims to change this.

“In San Francisco, on Haight street, it?s in you face. Sullivan says. “It?s not like that here.”

According to Andres, 12’s should act as a “headquarters for hip-hip.” “We want people to come in here to find out what’s going on in the (hip-hop) community.”

The community is something that all of the owners value. Machado, an Ethnic Studies major, is one of the co-founders of the BRC (Beats Rhymes and Culture) Club, to which all four owners are members.

The organization has brought a number of popular acts to the Sac State campus, including Souls of Mischief, Mystic Journeymen, and Afrika Bambaataa. All of this with little help from DOC, the ASI organization that helps campus clubs by contributing funds. Regardless, this group of devoted hip-hop lovers forages ahead.

Although they don’t have future plans set in stone, they ponder the possibilities.

Machado thinks a city like Portland would be a good place to open another store, but as for now, 12’s Wax Emporium is dedicated to being Sacramento’s first source for authentic hip-hop culture.

This Saturday 12?s Wax Emporium is hosting Triple threat Dj?s Vinroc and Apollow at Scratch 8. Ladies get in free before 10. Dj Riff Raff, PSol, Fooders, and EPIK will be spinning the best in hip-hop, dancehall and soul.

12?s just received a new shipment of LRG clothing last Friday. This means all the winter clothing has to go. Kingsize, EsDjCo, 594 shirts have all been marked down. Sweatshirts from Writer?s bench are also on sale.

12?s Wax Emporium

Located at 1716 Broadway

Sacramento, CA 95818


Store hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-8pm

Sunday 11am-7pm

Scratch 8

120 I Street

Old Sacramento