Krystal Bee began working at hip-hop radio station Power 106 when she snagged an internship during her first year at Cal State LA. From there, she moved up the ranks and was eventually offered a full-time spot, right next to radio personality Big Boy on his morning show Big Boy’s Neighborhood.
On-air, Krystal is usually the one asking hip hop’s latest and greatest the tough questions (and redirecting queries about her love life). We recently talked with her about her favorite celebrity interviews and BIPOC artist, LA’s best music venues, and what she loves about life on the Eastside.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I wake up at 4 a.m. and go to the station. We start recording by 5 a.m. and we’re live until 10 a.m. After that, some days I go to record a few segments at Revolt (P. Diddy’s TV network). When I get time off, I like to go hiking. I should be asleep by 8 p.m., but I usually don’t go to bed until 11 p.m. or midnight.
When and how did you know you wanted to work in hip hop and radio?
I always knew I wanted to be in radio and entertainment, I just didn’t know how I would get into it. I would listen to Big Boy’s Neighborhood all the time. They sounded like they had so much fun and I was like, “Man, this is their job? I could do that.” You hear people say that all the time, but I knew that I really could do it.
My parents tried to convince me out of it because they said it was too competitive. But I stuck with it and contacted Power 106 to see if they offered any internships. When I got the call offering me an internship, it was the best feeling ever.
Who has been your favorite guest on Big Boy’s Neighborhood?
There are a few. Nikki Minaj has come in a few times and she’s great every time. I didn’t know what to expect the first time because you read and hear stories about superstars being divas or too “Hollywood,” but she was extremely sweet. I love having her on the Neighborhood because she’s fun and has a great energy.
I also loved having Magic Johnson on because I grew up being a huge fan. When I found out he was going to come in, I lost it. I had to call my dad immediately. Also, Usher performed a live medley for us. He has so many hits and I’ve seen him live, but to have him sit next to me and perform all these songs as I’m singing along and dancing and looking like a fool, but not giving one damn in the world, was amazing.
What do you love most about living on the Eastside?
Tacos, everywhere. It’s also so diverse and it’s becoming gentrified, but it’s where I’m from. All of my high school friends are still in the area and my parents still live here. I can be on my own, but I can still go over and raid their fridge.
You said you like hiking in your free time. Tell me about your favorite trail.
I like going to Eaton Canyon a lot, but I like the Griffith Observatory Trail the most.
Where’s the best place to listen to live music?
The Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre. Those are my two favorites because I love outdoor venues. A lesser-known spot is the Echoplex which has reggae and disco nights.
Tell me about your favorite up-and-coming musicians that not many people know of yet.
One of my favorites is an R&B duo called Jake & Papa. Their music is so soulful and sensual. My friend turned me on to them and I had the opportunity to go to a listening party. They blew me away. I also really like Jhene Aiko. She’s mostly known for being featured on Drakes’s track, but she now has an album of her own and it’s amazing.
Where’s the best place to go for a drink?
The Short Stop in Echo Park and Mohawk Bend to eat and to drink. I keep it simple with a vodka soda or something refreshing with cucumber and mint.
What’s your favorite restaurant and what do you order?
Sage is one of my favorites. It’s a vegan restaurant so I get the jackfruit nachos and the burgers. They also have really good vegan waffles and vegan ice cream. I could eat there every day.
It sounds like you’re really passionate about vegan food.
I am a vegan. It started as a challenge at work in January. We were only going to do it for 22 days. While we were doing it, I was training for the LA Marathon and I noticed how much my training was improving. And I loved it so I continued doing it.
Describe your perfect Saturday in LA:
Sleeping in, which rarely happens, and getting up around 8 a.m. Then I go to Marina Del Rey to Beach Camp which is a fitness camp run by my trainer. It’s perfect on summer mornings when the sun isn’t completely out yet and we’re by the water. After an hour of that and a shower, I meet my sister and girlfriends up for brunch and shopping. A lot of my shopping is done in boutiques around Echo Park, Silverlake and Little Tokyo off 1st street.
What is one thing everyone in LA should experience at least once?
The beach. To hang out, I like Venice. I run through the Strand that goes through all of the beaches. It starts in Pacific Palisades and goes to Redondo Beach. The best part is seeing how diverse the beaches are just by a few little miles.
This interview was conducted in August 2014 for LosAngeles.com. You can now find Krystal Bee on 97.1 Amp Radio on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.