There are some events that remind us why hip-hop is so beautiful, and it’s not at all shocking that the latest said event was The 2014 Solution Beat Battle. Producers are generally some humble and nice m’fuckers, bottom line, and a room full of them and their supporters made for a happy, buoyant occasion. Though the friendly atmosphere was omnipresent, that’s not what made the event worthwhile. It was the level of talent that blew us away. The 12 beatmakers were diverse in style and execution, each obviously hungry for the win, and every single one of them had a chance.
If you missed it, allow me to explain the tragedy of doing so. Seeing producers, who generally stay behind the scenes, dance energetically and sometimes awkwardly to their own music is something that can never be recreated with words. They break their necks and punch their fists at various intervals, punctuating the drops, samples, and drums that they know like the back of their hands. You understand the beats in a whole new way when their producers are there explaining them to you through sheer vibe-out. Beyond the battle, there were live performances by Fast4Ward, whose insane live beat creation can not be seen anywhere else. Also, Big J Beats moved the crowd as only he can. Here’s the break down of how everything unfolded, with the logistics and our thoughts on the evening.
All photos by Armando Geneyro aka Knower of the Ledge
The three judges were an interesting and unbiased selection. BrandUn DeShay (a producer and emcee out of Chicago), Maker (a producer and DJ, also from Chicago), and Denver’s own crooner and beat manipulator, Crl Crrll. As far as can be seen, not a one of these judges has any personal vested interest in any of the 12 contestants, making it fair, through and through.
The judges rated each contestant’s beat on four criteria:
- Initial Impression
- Crowd Response
- Technicality/Overall impression
Though some technical difficulties stalled out small parts of the evening, DJ Lazy Eyez held down the fairly hefty crowd, even early, at Beauty Bar. Master crowd reader, his music selections always alternate between obscure and popular, but always perfectly reach the people in front of him. DJ Low Key displayed his effortless confidence while kicking off the event, and hosting throughout the evening. After introducing the judges and explaining the criteria, the first two producers took to the stage.
Bolded text indicates round winner
Al Kelly vs. Rhyme Pro
Matt Cassidy vs. AG Flux
DJ Paradox vs. Broken
Infamous Jones vs. Diles
Cliff Cage (Grey Sinatra) vs. DMD
Mikey Fresh vs. Skizzaz Skullface
Al Kelly vs. Matt Cassidy
Broken vs. Diles
DMD vs. Mikey Fresh
Al Kelly vs. Diles
DMD vs. Matt Cassidy (wildcard pick)
Al Kelly vs. Matt Cassidy
“I just feel accomplished and happy people heard my music tonight.”
I knew this community was talented, obviously, but I seriously had no idea that so many insanely nasty producers were quietly creating straight heat in their basements or wherever. There were quite a few memorable performances of the twelve. Al Kelly, an inconspicuous cat who barraged the crowd with beats that were the definition of creative while still, somehow sounding completely hip-hop. DMD, whose beats I’ve heard and loved on many 2MX2 tracks, really engaged the audience with his powerful, electronic infused bangers. DJ Paradox had a disappointing loss in the first round, but his Westcoast soaked production was engaging and hard, can’t wait to hear someone spit on those. Mikey Fresh also had a rough loss in the second round, but his fresh, powerful production connected with the crowd more than any of the others. Not a single one of us envied the judges, and after a brief conversation with a couple of them, they really had a tough time throughout the competition.
One More Thing…
The two DJs behind everyone’s favorite Friday dance party, The Solution, deserve mention for many reasons. DJ Low Key and DJ Lazy Eyez really care about the community and these events prove it. Showcasing the skills of Colorado musicians is not an easy task, and a rarely rewarding one- but it’s important. The roles they’ve played in curating and incubating this community for years are vital. So we salute you gentlemen, and really do appreciate everything you do, have done, and will do in the future.