Live Review: Red Bull Thre3 Style Battle

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Red Bull Thre3 Style Battle

The Forum

March 15, 2010

The Deal: Eight local DJ's each spin a 15 minute set that must include three different genres of music and win over the crowd and judges, which included local promoter Mike Kitchen, NASCAR driver Scott Speed, rap duo Camp Lo & the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff, among others.

The Good: It took DJ Jazzy Jeff no time to prove that he'd been doing this for longer than most of the contestants had been alive. I mean he was like a professor on the tables and class was in session. Absolutely amazing less than 3 weeks after his last visit to Charlotte. He did things that, literally, made some of the other DJ's reconsider how they did things.

DJ R Wonz had the dubious task of starting things off and after slow start feeling things out, he garnered some solid Jersey Shore-esque fist pumps and had one fan near the door dancing her little heart out.

DJ AHUF started old school and his "Perculator" and The Who blend was dope. Then he went with the Baltimore Club and had the place crazy. I loved how he rapped along like he was in the car. He packed a lot into his first 6 minutes and finished up with some down South tracks that made me feel like high school again. Beastly reggae set for a white boy too although dropping "Luchini" may have been pandering to the guest judges a little bit.

SPCLGST absolutely oozed energy when he got on stage. Bouncing around, banging speakers, all that stuff. Then the theatrics continued into his set, makeshift cape and all. He had a hypersexualized set that included Akineyle, Eazy-E, 2 Live Crew & Major Lazer (we heard them a lot last night). Other than an awkward blend into "Cherry Pie" his set pretty fun, I mean, classic skating rink on a Saturday night and even though they seemed a little heavy handed, he had the best scratches all night. Not to mention he jumped in the crowd for "Face Down, Ass Up" then threw his vinyl, wig and flyers in the crowd as his time expired.

Merlin had probably the most unique set of the night. He brought fans in with his BPM, jazzy, hip hop blends. Hearing Hall & Oates with Jay-Z was new! The rock and Jay-Z blends? Not so much. He was the first to go Ray Charles, too. Did his best Jazzy Jeff transformer impression and I must admit, it wasn't bad. He didn't use the entire 15-minutes but his set still felt long.

DJ Ciprian blew the dust off Coolio's "Gangstas Paradise" to start. His Mobb Deep and "Bling Bling" mix was cool and I'm always excited to hear N.O.R.E's "Super Thug." I really couldn't get over the fact that he looked kinda like Michael Rappaport. Throw in some Beastie Boys, "The Last Resort" and a little Biggie and you get the gist of his set although he does deserve some props for being the only one to drop North Carolina's unofficial anthem, "Raise Up" by Petey Pablo.

DJ Forge had the strongest start of any DJ all night. He had the crowd involved in less than 30 seconds. The only break in his old school hip-hop/early 90s sing-a-long jams was for him to dramatically puff his inhaler. He kept shit rockin with some Latin and Big Band era vibes, floating seamlessly from that to Michael Jackson & Daft Punk. By far the most eclectic and comfortable jumping genres. He'd won 7 minutes in (in my opinion). Couldn't resist the Pat Benatar but he managed to mix in newer tracks like, "All The Way Turnt Up" before he went Baltimore club and trance DMX to put the icing on the cake. By the 5 minute mark on his countdown I didn't think he could do anything else to improve his set but he did. Directing Jay-Z's "You Don't Know" his competition before dropping classic crunk anthems "We Ready," "Get On My Level," Who Run It," and my personal favorite, Crime Mob's "I'll Beat Yo Ass." He was one of the only ones who approached it like a battle. No well placed ringers up front just one screaming lady friend up.

DJ Soden had the cleanest scratches all night but by his turn on the tables his dope Jay-Z and Black Sheep blend was falling on deaf ears. He had some flashes of brilliance but skimmed along generically for too long partially because he had to move and set up again last second.

DJ A-Minor was a late addition and actually the first to drop James Brown. Early Bell Biv Devoe was a quick way to get the crowd on his side. He rocked old school for a second, "It Takes 2" and the like. Nothing special but his Nirvana and Fatman Scoop blend was hot. He got progressively stronger and comfortable, kicking out Daft Punk and the Beverly Hills Cop theme. Hearing the same Major Lazer song for the 4th or 5th time was saved by The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" and The Police's "Roxeanne"

The Bad: NASCAR driver Scott Speed picked the wrong crowd to say he preferred trance music over hip-hop before a race and the quick save didn't really work. SPCL GST rocked a little too hard, after spilled beer rendered his DJ booth useless to the other contestants. Ringers and screaming girlfriends trying to make it seem like some DJ's rocked harder than they did was annoying.

The Verdict: What more can you say about DJ Jazzy Jeff? A living legend that proved why to a crowd that wasn't just hip-hop heads but some people that only knew him from The Fresh Prince. Although the two winners, DJ Merlin & DJ Forge, were named in no particular order, it was pretty clear that DJ Forge was the best contestant on the tables last night. I thought AHUF's set was pretty high up there too.

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