Battling has always been an integral part of Hip Hop artist's growth and development. In some arenas, to align with the times it has evolved in various aspects. This is probably most notable in MC and especially DJ battles. In the earliest days of a Hip Hop styled DJ battle all the skills in the world couldn’t save you if the people couldn’t hear you. Case in point, the loudest sound system wins. All those hours of working on mastering the “2 second break that was hard to catch” that Kool Keith rhymes about on “Bust The Facts” were in vain.
Then with advancements in technology, things started to change. The better suited turntables, mixers and assumingly also needles of the very late 70s and early 80s allowed for an emphasis on skills and turntable theatrics. The flashiness became a larger factor, hence why a DJ named Grandmaster Flash was able to rise to the top, this was his realm and he helped build it.
Among the first nationally recognized competitions was the DJ Battle at the annual New Music Seminar, which featured early winners like DJ Whiz Kid, Grandmixer D.st and Afrika Islam showcasing their skill sets. Another key breakthrough was, NMS 1984 DJ Champ, DJ Cheese’s captivating performance at the DMC of 1986. Based on what that event quickly morphed into it still brings a chuckle to me at times when I think about the name being an acronym for Disco Mixing Championship. Its start was rooted in Dance DJs competing who could seamlessly mix Dance Records, no fancy tricks or scratches needed, just a keen sense of timing, good feeling of rhythm, great taste in Dance Music and you could be in the running for the championship. DJ Cheese changed all that a year after the competition was birthed when he introduced scratching and turntable trickery to the event, even with the mixer placed at a disadvantaged length from the turntables.
For many years the New Music Seminar and DMC existed at a spawning ground for some of the most innovative DJs to introduce new turntable tactics or improve on previous techniques. It’s likely no coincidence that some of the most exciting innovations took place in they years when the DJ was being neglected on records and in live shows with MCs. That extra time allowed them to practice in their bedrooms, basements, and garages like the mad scientist many DJs are prone to be.
Over the years many other battles spawned, such as ITF, Vestax, Scribble Jam, and countless others. It’s always refreshing when the formula is tweaked a bit, just enough to give it a new perspective and that is what Redbull’s Thre3style Battle has done. They’ve done a great job creating a format that challenges DJs on multiple levels. In a 15 minute set they have to get the crowd dancing, explore at least 3 genres of music, and at the time they get to show off their scratch and turntablism abilities. The rules encourage creative and fun combinations. The Minneapolis Qualifier takes place this coming Saturday at the Cabooze. Should be a fun event. Details Below:
2600, Shannon Blowtorch, DJ Bach, DJ Mad Mardigan, D-Mil
Host: Johnathon Ackerman
Judges: Big Once, Freddy Fresh, Kevin Beacham
Date and Time
Saturday, January 12
Doors open at 9:00 p.m.
917 Cedar Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
21 and older no cover