Redbull’s thre3style 2012 SOLD OUT World finale lit up Chicago in a very positive light. Hosted by the fantastic Hollywood Holt at the world-renowned venue; The Metro. The event was judged by Jazzy Jeff, Cosmo Baker and Skratch Bastid featuring special guest performances by DJ’s Jazzy Jeff, ?uestlove and Cosmo Baker. If you missed any of the wild thre3style events this year, look up the DJ’s in the competition and get ready for next year’s action. The finals at the Metro brought the heat and provided the crowd with one hell of a competition. Cosmo Baker warmed up the crowd for the soon to be fifteen minutes per DJ set. The crowd gave Cosmo their full anticipation for this well deserved final showdown to reveal which world-renowned DJ would bring home the crown.
First to the stage was DJ D. Beam from Spain; he started off the night with a wondrous amount of hip hop getting the Chicago fans pumped up for the filthy bass cannon drop; along with precise cuts beautifully put together blessed by his professional scratching abilities. Would that be enough to take home the championship? Mixing in rock artists with his electro dance feel, DJ D. Beam pumped the crowd with a remix track of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers; Around The World. The crowd was engaged in judging the DJ’s performances rather then dancing with the music. Within the first 5 minutes of the set, DJ D. Beam had already gone through the minimum of 3 different genres and was far from finishing his set. From the underground hip-hop beats to the more popular and the new era of dub step; DJ Beam brought in a Skrillex mix that got the crowd intrigued but DJ D. Beam’s hyping and scratching made the mix completely his own. Overall, DJ D. Beam brought energy and potential to his set but was way to collective during his set. DJ D. Beam didn’t leave his station to get the crowd moving, he relied on his music and his presence from behind his equipment. A great set but would that be enough to impress the judges?
Next up was Canada’s finest DJ Shub, with a strong opening filled with loud spine shaking bass and snares made it almost virtually impossible not to have the crowd engage with the music. DJ Shub delivered a mix of trap house to go along with intricate scratch hooks bringing an ice-cold mix from Canada down to the USA. Throughout his set he continued to provide an interesting style with a moombahton and reggaeton as his other 2 choices of genres. DJ Shub found a way to bring electro, dubstup, moombahton, salsa, reggaeton with bits of dancehall to the table integrating Adelle's Rolling in the Deep with masterful scratching giving a new light to the song. Finishing up his set, DJ Shub, like most of the other DJ’s ended on a Chicago based rapper… Shub ended with Chief Keef filled with some epic builds leaving the crowd pumped for more. Shub regardless of the competition represented Canada in a positive vibe.
The middle contestant of the night representing Jamaica was DJ Niko. DJ Niko Opened with Eminem's speech "if you had one moment…" transitioning into a reggae vibe starting with Bob Marley. His choice of tracks and style of mixing definitely got the crowd involved the most thus far during the event. DJ Niko showed the world that he represents Jamaica very positively with the use of reggae. The crowd supported his love for reggae and dancehall. Damian Marley did a custom welcome for the Chicago Redbull Thre3style verse for Niko’s set. From beginning to end of Niko’s set, he delivered a diverse mix of dub step, electro house and heavy bass. He used a great amount of his scratching skills but didn't get the crowd involved as much as I would have hoped for. Ending his set with a mix by Styx and Bon Jovi was an interesting tactic to appeal to the American crowd . DJ Niko got a lot of the people to sing along. In the end, DJ Niko also threw in his own mix of Chief Keefs using the song I don't like. Overall a good set getting a portion of the crowd into it but the rest of the crowd was still dull.
The fourth DJ in the competition was DJ Nedu Lopez from Brazil; with an intro of electro and strong building horns giving a marching vibe to his style. Nedu intrigued and entertained the crowd with an electric stage presence along with his well tuned turn table skills. Bringing Portuguese raps to the Chicago crowd; Nedu gave them a Brazilian flavor that normally isn’t heard in the states, at the same time throwing in songs by Wiz Khalifa to show the multiple styles in which he can bend to his will. With ethnic drums on top of the 90s hip hop; Lopez created a unique hybrid sound with quick cuts and sampling including examples such as someone opening a sod. Nedu’s timing was perfectly as he looked into the crowd and cracked a Redbull to indulge his thirst. Lopez brought the bass on top of favela providing styled beats and high pitched female vocals. The many genres brought to the table makes Redbulls three genres seem extremely minimal compared to number of styles performed by the DJs throughout the night. Nedu was good, but the crowd wanted more.
The fifth DJ, DJ Drummer coming all the way from Chile wearing a Chicago t-shirt; starting off with "this message approved by Barrack Obama" getting a great reaction from all three judges and the approval of the crowd. From his humorous beginnings he transitioned into a hard Papa Roach remix of the song last resort that got the crowd moving right away with intense perfected scratching and genius mixing work. He went from that to Soulja Boy's superman to a body quivering classical buildup truly bringing in different time periods and international styles; which to me makes this contest one of the best in the world. With hard bass and catchy drums, DJ Drummer found ways to have fun by throwing in bits from Mario and other video to help exploit his style. DJ Drummer showed the crowd great respect to music as a whole. DJ Drummer included underground hip-hop, rap, pop, samba, classical, and alternative to go along with his funky Chilean mix of music. Drummer burned down the house mixing the newer popular songs and ending with an epic remix of Hey Jude followed by a sweet home Chicago closing to show his respect to the windy city.
The last DJ representing the USA was Dj Four Color Zack; a slight Diplo look alike using turntables along with an Akai MPD26 beat machine. Zack came in strong with trap and bass drops moving the crowd with his full stage presence. Mixing in a large amount of American hip-hop from Dr. Dre to Beastie Boys; Zack made sure to let everyone know that he is representing the USA. On top of the slick DJ skills Zack brought a large amount of hand gestures and movement to his set as if conducting everyone to move. Swiftly moving through different electro/break styles with great samples; feeling at times like you were in an instructional dance video teaching you how to party. Zack did not disappoint coming strong with some hard breaks that made everyone go crazy for more. He put his cards on the table with samples that express how he feels while still showing off different genres. Hitting mainly American artists for his different styles really representing the United States entirely. Four Color was not afraid to get in front of the crowd and hype up and raise the intensity of the crowd. He was quite impressive when going into a break down on his MPD26 laying down some sick beats and live drum lines. To finish like most of the DJs throughout the night Zack played his own version of Chief Keefs i don't like; but he truly ended on a “USA, USA” chant where the crowd joined in letting Four Color know that the people of Chicago support him and this country. Though, I would have liked to hear an EARTH chant for all the people of the world… there is always next year.
Before announcing the winner, ?uestlove put on a very funky and classic DJ set doing lots of hip hop and 80s style mixes. I had never seen ?uest DJ and it was a real treat to have a real legend perform while they figure out the winner. His set was very chill but upbeat getting the crowd to move with a mix of popular artists from this era to big band swing songs. His performance was a completely different feel then the battle. It allowed people to just enjoy themselves rather than judge who the world champ would be. After ?uestlove finished his set, everyone was anticipating who was going to be named champion this year. As the Redbull girls took the stage holding the trophies for first second and third place the DJs were brought out to announce the winners. In third place was DJ Drummer, second was DJ Nedu Lopez and in first place was the USA contestant DJ Four Color Zack. A winning lineup that I can agree with though the other two runner-ups were extremely close in the competition. Each DJ played their heart and souls out proving that they are some of the best in the world. But there could only be one world champion and DJ Four Color Zack brought down the house then built a skyscraper bigger than the trump building to replace it showing that the he is a force to be reckoned within the DJ World and deserves to be in the spotlight of it all.
Review by: Casmir Leonard