Last night Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash made its official U.S. debut at Los Angeles downtown venue Exchange LA. Los Angeles-based and internationally respected collectives Dim Mak, Dub Club, Smog and Stones Throw entertained the crowd of just over 1,500 in a series of four rounds. At the end of the night, the crowd was asked to vote for their favorite overall performance by cheering and making as much noise as possible.
By the sound of it, each collective had a solid fan base in the house, but it ultimately came down to Smog and Stones Throw. After three attempts at getting a read on who had the edge, host MC Commander decided that they should each play two more songs to break the tie. At the end of the night, Stones Throw was announced the winner and treated the crowd to an additional half hour of music.
The format of the show had each collective on their own stage in one of the four opposing corners of the main floor, with the crowd right in the middle and in the balconies above. Dub Club’s Jah Faith (pictured below), Tom Chasteen, Dungeonmaster, Roy Corduroy, Boss Harmony and Brigadier Jerry kicked off round one, which was the “selection round,” where each collective was asked to play their best selects. They got the crowd swaying and singing with their rendition of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.”
Next up was Smog, whose first round of talent included 12th Planet, Craze, Kemst, and Juakali who, with dreads swinging, was at the front of the stage getting the crowd dancing with their signature dubstep selects.
Following Smog, Stones Throw’s Mayer Hawthorne, J Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf and Dam Funk got the crowd hyped with some new Snoop Dogg and classic Michael Jackson tracks.
Dim Mak was the final collective to perform in round one. They kicked off the night on a house party-themed stage complete with a sofa and a beer bong. DJ Fashen, Them Jeans, and Thee Mike B got the crowd dancing with their upbeat electro dance tracks.
Round two was the entertainment round where each collective invited surprise guests to join them on stage. Smog started off the second round with guests Rass Kass, EMU and U-N-I. Stones Throw was up next and unveiled their surprise guest, five-year-old “Baby Boogaloo” aka Miles Brown. The extremely talented and adorable hip-hop dancer had the crowd roaring; as if his dancing wasn’t enough to win them over, the crowd got even louder when he got on the mic. Egyptian Lover also got up on the Stones Throw stage as a surprise guest.
Dim Mak had the crowd under their house party spell as they brought rapper Rob Roy and the Pharcyde’s Fat Lip to the stage. Dub Club kept it smooth by wrapping up round two with special guest Shinehead, one of the pioneers of reggae/hip-hop fusion in the U.S.
Round three was the mix-up round, where each collective was challenged to stray from their norm and play different genres of music. Stones Throw was up first and got “straight country” when they teased the crowd with a sound bite of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Mayer Hawthorne, J Rocc and Dam Funk did some ho-down-style dance moves. They kept the crowd guessing by unleashing a mix of hardcore rock, dance, and dubstep.
Dim Mak went old-school and got the whole crowd singing and reminiscing as they played The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly,” and served up some of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice.” Dub Club had Chico Dan, Rootsman and Shinehead front and center as they meshed a lot of roots reggae with a little dubstep flavor. Finishing on a high note was Smog, as they embraced the true challenge of the round and flawlessly dropped a variety of dance, hip hop, electro, reggae and more.
The last round was the “banger” round where each collective had five minutes to pull out all the stops to impress the crowd and earn their final vote. Dim Mak started with a Jeopardy game; Rob Roy asked the question, “What is the most insane electronic song?” Them Jeans, Thee Mike B and DJ Fashen all answered correctly with “Warp.” The set ended with DJ Fashen spraying the crowd below with champagne.
Dub Club got creative and unveiled costumed ninjas who climbed the rafters. Surprise guest Courtney Melody, who flew in from Jamaica to perform, played hit “Ninja Mi Ninja” and the crowd went wild. Smog leaned on 12th Planet to play a hit, and it worked because after their set was finished the crowd was chanting “Smog, Smog, Smog…” Finally, Stones Throw wowed the crowd when they introduced Planet Asia followed by soul singer Jody Watley; fans showed the stage some “real love” - pun intended.
Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash delivered a night of good music and entertainment to LA. All four music collectives kept it rockin’ and Stones Throw walked away as the first-ever U.S. champions.
“The night was awesome,” said Stones Throw Founder, Peanut Butter Wolf. “Everybody had a good time; we had a good time before we knew who the winner was.”
Proving further the success of the event, shortly after it ended, “Stones Throw” and Red Bull Music Academy “Culture Clash” showed up as trending topics for the city of Los Angeles on Twitter.
When asked how he thought the locals embraced the adapted version of a traditional Jamaican soundclash, host MC Commander said, “I think L.A. has been caught off guard and has been introduced to real culture on a vast level.”
To hear sounds from other Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clashes and a wide array of music from artists who are pushing the needle, visit http://www.rbmaradio.com.
- More photos from Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash Los Angeles
- More music from the World of Red Bull
- Get more with the Red Bull Spam newsletter