Red Bull Thre3style is a unique competitive platform that allows highly skilled and crazy talented DJs to showcase their skills, battle, and gain serious credibility by making the audience go wild. Unlike underground DJ battles, the Red Bull Thre3style operates like a well-oiled machine. Six top DJs from the Midwest are given fifteen minutes to create a mind-blowing musical experience for the judges and audience. One after the other, each DJ performs their set with at least three different musical genres to showcase their skills and ability to rock the crowd. Records are played and scratched, beats are dropped, music is mixed, crowds roar and bounce, and an explosive musical experience emerges.
Immediately following the sets, judges deliberate and select a winner to advance onto the National Red Bull Thre3style competition for a chance to battle it out for a spot in the Global Red Bull Thre3style Competition. Not only that, but the winning DJ also gets bragging rights as one of the sickest DJs to ever grace this planet.
The evening was presented by Red Bull and the show was hosted by Hollywood Holt. Alright, you get the picture. Now check out how these DJs rocked the audience.
E-Six started off slow, but once he got into his rhythm, he had the audience jumpin’. In his set, he threw in some Whitney Houston, Puff, jive, house, and some quintessential hood hits. A musical mix of a little bit of everything so as to appease the crowd and judges. Although E-Six spent a good chunk of his time on his musical introduction and spent the last 30 seconds on the clock just standing in front of the crowd, I was hoping he’d showcase some more technical DJ skills to prove to the audience he is worthy of a champion title.
DJ Buck Rodgers
Hailing from Indy, Buck Rodgers kicked off his set with a brief educational sound clip about what it means to be a DJ. It was a cute little touch and then he crushed the cuteness by unleashing the beast within. Buck Rodgers showed how badass he is at scratching, mixing, making beats, and interacting with the crowd. He showed versatility through his song selections from club bangers, James Brown, Kreayshawn, and even worked in some Justin Timberlake. Yes, Buck Rodgers brought Sexy Back to Red Bull Thre3style. Not only did he dance and groove to his set, but he also showed us that he could physically spin while spinning music. Well played, Buck Rodgers. Well played.
Around Chicago, Intel is kind of a big deal. Yes, he’s known to have a crazy and unexpected musical selection, but it’s the way he brilliantly and flawlessly mixes the music together that really makes him shine. In the spirit of battle, competitors took jabs at Intel for looking strikingly similar to Drizzy Drake in hopes of distracting him; Intel kept it going, undistracted. In true form, Intel kept his audience and judges on their toes with masterful mixes. Full House theme song mixed in with “N****s in Paris”? Why yes, Intel made it happen! It’s the unthinkable pairings of music by Intel that drive the crowds wild. Intel also did a great job of bringing in some Aretha, Fatboy Slim, and some headbangin’ Pantera. As a special treat to the true Chicagoans, Intel even played the iconic Bulls anthem. His taste in music and ear for mixing is what makes the impossible possible when it comes to his sets.
Don’t let your eyes fool you. Zebo may have looked like he’s from the West Coast because of his swag, clothing, and gangsta rap selections early on in his set, but this man is all about Chicago. Zebo repped Chicago through all forms of music. He had a fan base following unlike any of the other DJs competing. Crowds cheered and screamed for Zebo, rightfully so. This man knows his craft, and he’s mastered it. Song after song, Zebo kept the crowd rockin’. From Beastie Boys to gangsta rap to Tyga to house and then juke music, Zebo never failed to keep everyone shaking and moving, dancing to every sound he produced. His energy was also off the charts! His enthusiasm and passion for his craft really set the energetic vibe for his set. Zebo had one of, if not the most, diverse musical sets of all the DJ competitors.
The guy in the flannel shirt and glasses from the twin cities of Minnesota can jam out! Mike 2600 brought so many technical skills, and humor to his set to make it a knockout of a hit. His song transitions were flawless. If I didn’t know any better, his mix of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” sounded like it was one harmonized song. From KanYe to Michael Jackson, Mike 2600 knew how to grab the crowd’s attention and bring musical joy to their night. Mike 2600 even took humorous hits at the other competing DJs midway through his set. There’s nothing wrong with some competitive smack talking, especially when you can walk the walk. Mike’s set was so on-point, he ended with the theme song from the movie Rocky and with 15 seconds to spare. He got his point across in 14 minutes and 45 seconds. His message: I came to win.
DJ Kwiet Storm
The final act of any competition has tough shoes to fill. Kwiet Storm had to come after very solid sets and the bar was set very high. Unfortunately, Kwiet’s set started off a bit choppy, but included an excellent selection of oldies hits. His shining moment was when he mixed Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” with Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit.” Kwiet finished his set with some ultimate house hits and made all of the hunnies juke. By the end of his set, the gals were going cray on the dance floor.
After incredibly solid and skilled sets, all of the six talented DJs were left in suspense as the judges took some time to make their decision. Only one of the six DJs will win the Red Bull Thre3style Competition from the Midwest. I was calculating the top talent of the night as well. All of these DJs showcased some serious talent, albeit, some more than others. After replaying every set in my head, I could not decide between four DJs. They all made me dance, sing, but only a few shocked me with their musical ingenuity. Luckily, the decision fell on the laps of the judges and not mine. Fortunately, the top three DJs were also on my top list for the night.
WINNER: Mike 2600
Runner Up: DJ Zebo
Third Place: DJ Buck Rodgers
Stay tuned as this DJ Competition continues throughout the nation and world! The World Championship Red Bull Thre3style competition will be held here in Chicago and Pursuit of Dopeness will be there covering it all.
Hollywood Holt (@HollywoodHolt)