Last night I went out to the Roseland Ballroom with almost no idea what I was going to see. I knew my friends from Trouble & Bass were DJing and I knew it was part of the massive month long Red Bull Music Academy. Other than that I didn’t know much, I really just wanted to get out of the house and shoot some photos. I’ve been so busy working on a bunch of random project that I haven’t had much time to do any actual work.
So it turns out the event was “Culture Clash” a battle between four NYC DJ crews hosted by Miss Info. Trouble & Bass were squaring off against the reggae crew Federation Sound, the “Global Bass” duo Que Bajo and hip hop producers/djs Just Blaze and Young Guru. I am not gonna lie, I was pretty psyched for Just Blaze and Young Guru even though I was rooting for my T&B fam.
The contest works like this: There are four rounds and the winning team gets a point for rounds two and three and two points for round four. The first round is just 15 min to do whatever you like to get the crowd hyped and no one wins. The second round is more of the same but it the crowd votes on it. In the third round each crew has to play another team’s type of music and the fourth round is all originals and live performances.
I am not gonna talk a ton about Federation Sound or Que Bajo too much because this post is going to be way too long as it is and they don’t really play music I am into. I am a massive Jimmy Cliff fan and I fuck with some other reggae stuff but dub reggae is just not my jam. Que Bajo plays some sort of mix of reggaeton, moombahton and other latin and island stuff that is pretty interesting but again, not really what I am feeling. I will say that Federation Sound really brought it to the competition, handing out whistles and noisemakers, doing a ton of original stuff written just for the Culture Clash and as you can see in the photos basically went to war with the other groups. Que Bajo put on a fun show with dancers and MC’s and some funny disses but their photo pit was way too small so I didn’t focus on them as much as the other groups.
Just Blaze and Young Guru killed it all night. They have produced for everyone in hip hop and brought most of them on stage with them at some point in the night. They had guest appearances by Raekwon, 2 Chainz, Wale, Jadakiss, Memphis Bleek, Pharoahe Monch, Syles P and a ton of others. It was pretty wild. Just Blaze brought a t-shirt cannon and was giving away stuff all night. At one point he filled it with money and made it rain on the audience. Unfortunately I was on the other side of the room taking to a friend and I left the event just as broke as when I walked in. They killed it all night and I am a way bigger hip hop fan than I am any of the other genres so I was psyched for their sets.
But as awesome as Blaze and Guru were, Trouble & Bass brought it even harder. They were a late edition and had only a few days to get ready. Despite this they had really dumb/funny signs and Ninja Turtles prepared. They won every single round and walked off stage Culture Clash champs after calling their shot with fake NY Posts that declared them the winners after the third round. Speaking of the third round, they were the only ones who did a great job DJing another genre, but they had a ringer. They had to imitate Que Bajo, so they brought out Dave Nada who actually invented moombathon and he clearly killed it. They had some awesome special guests as well. Aside from their host all night Teli from Ninjasonik they also had Flatbush Zombies and Nina Sky perform. They brought out the big guns in the last round with an amazing performance by Robin S doing her early 90′s hit Show Me Love. Everyone lost their minds instantly. She killed it so hard. They ended their set with a great dis, bringing out Cam’Ron doing tracks that Just Blaze produced. It was amazing and they deserved the win. I jumped on stage and hung out with them while they DJ’d everyone out of Roseland. It was a special moment. So proud of those dudes.
I took SO many damn photos so if you want to get into it there are nearly 400 images in this gallery. It’s gonna be hard to pull my favorites below but I am gonna try my best.
Click here to see the HUGE gallery of pictures from the Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash.