Despite a venue conflict, the championship edition of the Space City Beat Battle will go on Saturday evening at the Mercury Room. If you've never been to one it's almost like watching a ritualistic rite of passage where cocksure arrogance and chest pounding reign supreme. Sample based producers who love vinyls going against kings of Fruity Loops and MPCs. In other words, shit gets real at these things.
With previous winners George Young (he of the rag timey "Houston" beat on KAB Tha Don's monstrous Bully On Tha Beat mixtape), Tony Dark, Risky Boi, V12, Black Keys Productions, Y Phoenix & Steezilla all in attendance vying for the crown, some of the H's best young producers also get to be in the presence of legendary producer DJ Scratch & Port Arthur's own DJ DMD.
To get you prepared, let's take a trip down memory lane and grab five of the best Houston based producers of all time. We might have to add an SCBB participant to this list when it's all said and done.
Song: DJ DMD ft. Lil Keke & Fat Pat - "25 Lighters" Producer: DJ DMD
The Al B. Sure! Sample might play heavy on why "25 Lighters" finds it way onto the list but is the collage of everything in there: the snare drums, synth punches and overall texture of the track. Atmospheric, parlaying Saturday afternoons cruising with the top down into late nights with a hype.
Song: UGK - "Diamonds & Wood" Producer: Pimp C
Bootsy Collins' "Munchies For Your Love" gets warped into a slow cooked bob & weave from one of the South's most underrated beatsmiths. True, Pimpin' Chad always had a knack for flipping old soul samples into the mythology of UGK but putting smoky guitars and warbled pianos together to paint the dichotomy of UGK served notice. The Pimp could produce his ass off.
Song: Gangstarr - "Mass Appeal" Producer: DJ Premier
Since Wikipedia was down yesterday thanks to the SOPA protest, the average rap fan wouldn't have been able to discover that DJ Premier, the only Chris Martin some folks care about (sorry Coldplay fans), is actually from Houston. And is quite possibly the greatest producer in the history of the genre. Premier's scratches and sampling are some of the most instantly recognizable sounds in hip-hop. Out of hundreds of records, Gang Starr's "Mass Appeal" fits the motif of what a East Coast rap record used to sound like.
Song: Bun B ft. Pimp C, Z-Ro, Young Jeezy & Jay-Z - "Get Throwed" Producer: Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee has always been an eclectic man behind the boards. Anybody that can boast to produce one of Willie D's most foul mouthed records ever ("P.W.A.") and something for the Backstreet Boys can tell you something about being a producer. The heavy guitars and snares that live throughout Bun B's "Get Throwed" feel like a slow, syrupy trip through a carnival.
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Song: Z-Ro - "Respect My Mind: Producer: Mike Dean
Behind a piano, behind a board or behind some good weed, Mike Dean will probably be found. Even though he's now known mostly as the guy who's been co-producing the last three Kanye West albums, Mike on his own has done plenty. Flipping Sade's "Cherish The Day" into an anthem for Z-Ro to probably murder-death-kill any and all that come by remains one of his best flips ever. Sidenote: Yesterday was Z-Ro's birthday, which could be the other reason the internet went black, yanno cause Z-Ro is gangsta like that.
The Space City Beat Battle will take place Saturday, January 21st at the Mercury Room, 1004 Prairie. For tickets, purchase them here.