All photos by Valerie Alberto

Live Shots: Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle

I am in need of a lozenge this morning thanks to the

Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle

last night at Venue (719 Main). Audience response determined the winner of a single-elimination battle among 12 of Houston’s best and brightest producers. The top two producers from each of the five regional competitions (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Seattle) advance to the Big Tune Final in Seattle this October.

And the winner is...

I am proud to say that I called the winners…well, sort of. My favorites reigned victorious! But I’ll be honest. I was a bit concerned for them initially, which is strange to say with regard to the likes of THE ARE (K-Otix/The Legendary K.O.) and Symbolic 1, a.k.a. S1 (Strange Fruit Project) – veritable giants of Texas underground hip-hop. How would these heroes of the underground fair before a crowd of 850 in the Swishahouse capital of the world? To put it bluntly, they whooped ass and took names! First place winner, Houston’s own THE ARE, will be joined by S1 of Dallas in the finals. Among the finalists thus far is DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples. Oh, ye (err, me) of little faith…

Other reasons to cheer about? Big Tune featured appearances by none other than Devin the Dude and Salih & Tomar Williams of Carnival Beats. Carnival Beats, who? -- Think “Purple Stuff” (Big Mo), “Sittin’ Sideways” (Paul Wall), “Tippin’” (Mike Jones) and many more smash Down South hits. Yeah, those guys. -- Valerie Alberto

Click the links above for YouTube action from the show. Click below for a snippet from THE ARE's final track.

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