Ayo, I’m proud of my city. I’m Rob Lee, podcaster, foodie, blerd and I’m from Baltimore City.
I don’t say that my podcast, Mastermind Team’s Robcast, is the best in Baltimore just because it’s catchy and self-aggrandizing. It is but it’s uniquely Baltimore. I am to be a strong representative of Baltimore. I want to put on for my city as best I can.
That last part – I never had an issue with it. I love my city. I’ve never shied away from the idea that Baltimore city has been associated with violent crime, economic inequity and corrupt leadership. What makes Baltimore any different from any other city?
The Best Things about Baltimore City
I am defensive of Baltimore. During the time I’ve been a podcaster and blogger, I’ve matured as an individual. My opinions have evolved on matters and I’ve recognized that I’ve had bad takes on things – things that get people cancelled. I’ve been very much an artist from Baltimore during my life. As a kid, I drew and wrote comics, as a teenager I wrote rhymes and as a 30-something I’m a podcaster and comic writer. I am Baltimore.
I’m Baltimore in that genuine, authentic with an edge sort of way. Baltimore is not an easy city – but it’s not hard in any way. It’s a neutral place. There’s a sense, creatively, that if you can make it in Baltimore then you can make it anywhere. I believe that to be true – Baltimoreans like Baltimore things. We’re prideful in that way like any other city.
There’re songs like Pull Ya Gunz Out – where that pride is heard. Yea, yea – I get it the word ‘gun’ is in the title. I’m not by any means saying Baltimore is a place of fantasy-like good times. Baltimore is a real place with real people, places and things.
There’re so many people in Baltimore that are doing great things.
DJ James Nasty
I’ve seen DJ James Nasty destroying the party for years around Baltimore. He’s a great music producer and DJ. He’s a true artist and he makes dope hot sauce as well.
He recently dropped a new project, Fool. It’s a dope project and he’s a rap veteran and local journalist. Stream Fool, fool.
He’s an New York Times Bestselling author, lecturer and Baltimore native.
There’re places in Baltimore that are second to none.
The BIG Theater
The theater offers 3,000 square feet of space for live comedy shows; classes and workshops for adults, kids and teens; a podcast studio – where Just_Greg and I record Unofficially Black. BIG’s live theater shows include improv comedy, stand-up, sketch, and more. On August 17th, MTR The Network is performing a live podcast there.
Another great venue. Their purpose provide support to area artists, promote Baltimore as a center for creative production, act as a positive force in our community, and advocate for cultural expression rooted in a sense of place.
Impact Hub’s purpose is to bring together a community of entrepreneurs, activists, creatives, and professionals to take collaborative action and drive positive change in Baltimore and beyond.
There’re many things ubiquitous to Baltimore that you must try.
I’m excluding the Inner Harbor and that area – it gets a lot of attention. These are my no means the definitive list but they’re worth checking out.
Baltimore’s Egg Custard Snowball
This is just a great flavor – it’s totally something that Baltimoreans like and transplants or visitors just don’t get.
This is one of my favorite places to have a drink, food or even visit a sex shop. Hampden is the home of many great eateries like Holy Frijoles and Golden West. It’s a weird place and many different types of people get together in Hampden. There’s always a great light show in December.
Staying at Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
Sure, it’s pricy and was a source of meh before I stayed a night. Baltimore is an old city with a rich history. Sagamore Pendry is boutique hotel on Baltimore’s historic Rec Pier and prides itself on embodying Baltimore’s rich history, vibrant personality and the meshing of new with traditional.
Baltimore Blue Crabs
There’s nothing quite like Baltimore Blue crabs. Other ‘crab cakes’ just fall short. I’d recommend getting a bushel of crabs, some beer and talking about the universe or at the very least Baltimore sports.
Baltimore is a city made up of distinct neighborhoods. I know lots of New Yorkers and folks transplanted from other states that are confounded by the regionalism of Baltimore. Often, I heard “Baltimore is so small.” Or “Who cares about East Baltimore vs. West Baltimore?” and a litany of other condescending “observations”. Like “Oh, little Baltimore has a personality.”
Yes, Baltimore has a personality – that personality is one where we’re not with your B.S. Recently, President Trump has some inflammatory remarks towards Baltimore and shots at Elijah Cummings. I wasn’t shocked or anything – I found his comments to be typical of an outsider and consistent with his talking points. Baltimore is being used as a placeholder – not too long ago – Baltimore was Chicago. It’s whatever “black city” du jour when it comes to these types of ideas.
For instance, New Orleans is one of my favorite cities and I may call it home one day, but I don’t hear the same thing about it – New Orleans after Katrina was “rebranded” – when I go to New Orleans – I get that feeling of Baltimore. Philadelphia is another place that I enjoy and has some of the issues that Baltimore or any city has but not the same perception.
New York also benefited from that image redo. New York arguably, because people love to argue about this, has always been the standard bearer for the best American city. People have this idea that brown people don’t exist in New York and that it’s the safest, greatest and most ratless place. They couldn’t be more wrong. New York is great because it has diversity – in its people, art and culture. It’s no more dangerous that Baltimore or any of the aforementioned cities. And New York has three distinct breeds of rats – big, bigger and with wings.
This conclusion is very simple. Baltimore is the place to be – it is no better or worst than any other city. It is a vibrant, diverse city with flaws as any other.