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Big Tune Battle recap

| August 27, 2008

Red Bull “Big Tune” Beat Battle
Metro, Chicago
Thursday, August 21, 2008


Countless cities have held one-night beat battles, but it’s Red Bull’s Big Tune traveling competition that has aspiring hip-hop producers from across the country loading their work onto CD-Rs for a shot at national exposure.

“There’s nothing compared to Red Bull [Big Tune],” says Big Tune Chicago competitor Tall Black Guy. “If Red Bull’s not doing it, it’s probably not a big deal.”

Tall Black Guy, who was the winner of last year’s Chicago battle, was one of 14 participants in this year’s Big Tune at the Metro. Between the battles, the night also featured a chill performance by St. Louis’ new-school producer/MC Black Spade and a powerful set by hip-hop legend DJ Premier — the latter, which got considerably more hands in the air.

When it came to the battle, it ranged from soul-based infusions (Lucky Star) to crunk-heavy sides (Logic). As this competition doesn’t allow the participants to do much live manipulation, Big Tune is just a “press play and hype up the crowd” occasion. While the producers danced and moved around stage to their own music, some got more physically into their work than others. But in the end it came down to skill, as the crowd chose Charles “C-Sick” Dumazer and Rob Bates to be the night’s finalists.

Despite being two of the youngest competitors, C-Sick and Rob Bates both had a grasp on creating compositions that were deeply rooted in hip-hop tradition yet had radio-accessible qualities. Bates put up a good fight and definitely had the crowd’s support, but in the end it was the reserved C-Sick who took the crown with his mix of classic Chicago chipmunk soul and harder-hitting NYC-inspired beats.

Both C-Sick and Rob Bates move onto the December finals in New York where they have the chance to take home custom production gear and the opportunity to work with established MCs. Not a bad deal for a pair of rookies.

Max Herman

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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