The 3rd Annual Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle Finals, the definitive national beat battle competition, is happening in just a couple of hours at the Opera Nightclub in Atlanta, and two of Seattle's freshest producers, KD Cutz and Marcus D, will be representing Seattle in the competition along with producers from seven other cities, including New Orleans, Las Vegas and Detroit. Big Tune was birthed by Seattle hip-hop industry heavyweights Vitamin D and Jonathan Moore, inspired by Jamaican dancehall "clashes," where DJs add their own creative spin over popular riddims for the crowd to decide which is the winning "big tune."
The format of the battle pits hip-hop producers head-to-head, tournament-style, where they have three chances to blast their original compositions and impress the audience, who ultimately decides who moves onto the next round and who gets dropped...
Since the crowd has the final say, these competitions are thrilling to witness and be a part of. The prizes for this particular battle series include not only crazy national exposure and inevitable industry connections, but also the opportunity to work with high-profile rap artists in collaborations of which many of these emerging producers have only dreamed. In 2007, the first Big Tune national battle was hosted at Neumos, and in front of a decidedly partial local crowd (I was there), Blue Scholars' Sabzi took the title and Dyme Def's Brainstorm was runner-up. Brainstorm's subsequent collaboration with Young Buck was captured in an online webisode series on the Big Tune Web site.
In July, the local qualifying round of Big Tune was held at War Room, and Marcus D (who I twitterviewed shortly after the competition) took the top spot after facing off with KD Cutz in the finals with what were reportedly eardrum-shattering basslines. Since meeting each other at that battle, the two young men, both 20 years of age, have actually been collaborating on a joint project while cooking up their signature heaters to compete with tonight. To follow the action this evening, I'd suggest Twitter: follow @marcusd206 and @kdcutz, as well as @jmooreseattle (Jonathan Moore), @tallhomeyvita (Vitamin D), and @jakeuno (local producer Jake One, who might be more consistent on the play-by-plays). There's also a hashtag #redtunebigtune that will most likely have updates from tweet-savvy audience members. Below, check out an endearing video from the two Seattle competitors working together on a new project. Best of luck, gentlemen.