Battle of the Beat Makers 2010 (Live) [Photos/Review]
Toronto, ON – Battle of the Beat Makers was hot. Whether it was the body heat from the near sold-out crowd’s incessant head nodding and arm flailing or the mind-thumping, moment making, progressive production flooding their collective ear drums, things were heated. Last night, inside Toronto’s Opera House, the sixth annual Battle of the Beat Makers pitted 32 producers against each other in a tournament style format to choose this year’s best beat maker. And by 1 a.m., Neenah was crowned the first female champion in the competition’s history.
In a final round best of three against Big Pops, last year’s winner, Neenah lost the first round before winning two and three. As reigning champ and a well known producer in the scene, Big Pops was a major favourite. But after flying in from Amsterdam to compete, Neenah sent the hall into a frenzy with her last beat of the night. Bishop Brigante and Luu Breeze were seen jumping and hollering as the beat overwhelmed the atmosphere and the crowd chanted “Neeeen-ah, Neeen-ah!”
While Bishop Brigante said Neenah was his pick to begin with, others were slowly but surely won over by her talents. Judge and Urbanology Magazine Editor, Kid Napp covered his face and yelled “Wow!” during Neenah’s semi-final round. “The engineering is on point too! I’m starting to wonder if she made these beats!” said Kid Napp (@Trudoe) in amazement.
Neenah’s gestures mimicked a maestro as if she was reigning over the beat progressions as they happened. For her efforts, she won a production deal with Boi-1da amongst other things.
“From getting on a plane from Amsterdam to standing here on this stage,” said Neenah after her win. “I’m speechless.”
Apparently, Neenah was the only one with nothing to say as the crowd full of names like Sunny Diamonds, Soundsmith and Tone Mason all buzzed. In a classy move, Big Pops was even seen bobbing his head during her final round.
“What I really liked about Big Pops is he was the only producer who really understood it was part competition and part entertainment,” said P-Plus, who DJ’d the event along with DJ Mel Boogie.
808 Gang seemed to impress Boi-1da even though they fell to Big Pops in the semis and were visibly distraught.
“808 Gang and Big Pops were my favourite producers of the night though. Shout-out to them,” tweeted 1da near 5 a.m.
Though the show delivered what it promised in terms of beat makers, there were some organizational hiccups which caused confusion and slowed things down. Trixx tried his best to keep the crowd interested during prolonged periods of downtime. Match-ups became mixed up and a producer who lost in the first round somehow returned to the stage for another battle because of an odd number of producers. Throughout the confusion the crowd was restless. And even when the second round resumed, some fans were confused about what was happening. But all was forgotten by the end of the night. The crowd remained thick during the semis and final rounds.
After Neenah became champion, Trixx challenged Boi-1da to put three of his beats against a beat each from Neenah, Big Pops and 808 Gang. Eager to hear Boi-1da’s material, the crowd cheered.
“That’s not fair,” said Trixx after Boi-1da played his first beat containing Young Jeezy vocals. “From time I hear Jeezy I like it. Is there anyway you can take the rapper off the beat?”
Not that it mattered. That wasn’t the battle that people came to see, simply a bonus for those still in attendance.
“The talent pool was heavy,” said Kid Napp. “It was almost a 50/50 split between elite production and really good production. In other years you’d get maybe a handful of elite producers. I feel like Burd n Keyz losing in the first round was a tragedy to me because I felt like they could’ve won. They were on fire and we didn’t want to pick a winner so they put it to the crowd and 808 Gang won that round. The talent was so good that there were real contenders out early.”
By far the most publicized Battle of the Beat Makers yet, the crowd, hype and talent pool were impressive.
“I think how they marketed it was the first thing that stuck out when I got involved,” says P-Plus. “Having Boi-1da hosting it because that’s where he got his start, I think that alone excited a lot of beat makers. It was good from a music perspective. And as we saw who won, it was a female beat maker from Amsterdam. I think that was a great look from worldwide perspective. “
Written by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown for HipHopCanada
Photography by Ajani Charles for HipHopCanada
Photography by Ajani Charles