Salva and R.L. Grime remix "Mercy" with special guest Pusha T
As if putting the first skydiver into the stratosphere for a record freefall wasn’t enough, cult energy drink Red Bull has decidedly become an authority on music as well. Last night at the Red Bull Music Academy’s Culture Clash in Los Angeles, innovative local electronic record labels Smog, Friends of Friends, Dim Mak and Jefree’s battled it out on four separate stages to be named the champion label of L.A. Bringing very different sounds to the table, the crowd was boxed in from all four sides.
As should be expected in any music battle involving the City of Angels there was lots trash talking, a lot of swagger and, of course, a lot of flaunting. After each label was given ten minutes to showcase their sound, a second round kicked off where each group attempted to mimic each other and Friends of Friends punished the compeition with a guest performance by monome pioneer Daedelus. In round three each label brought out their secret stashes of guest performers and the crowd was blessed by the presence of Pusha T, B Real of Cypress Hill, DMX and an aging George Clinton who croaked “we want the funk!” for Jeffree’s.
The night came to a close when each label was granted 15 minutes to put it all on the table, unloading their arsenal of DJ’s and bass as the crowd rotated their attention between each stage.
In the spirit of democracy, a decibel meter bounced up and down as the audience was given the chance to make noise for their favorite label. Smog, who brought their signature "chainsaw" dubstep sound, took first place with Friends of Friends finishing in a close second. I spoke with Friends of Friends founder Leeor Brown, and though he was visibly disappointed his label didn't finish first, he still exclaimed: “This has been one of the most fun nights of my life!”
Can we really judge the best in L.A. though? Doesn’t this city's diversity just make us Angelinos all-around unbeatable? Also, I suspected a lot of “doping” in that room last night. Decibels or not, if Flaunt was there, everybody's a winner.
Jefree's draws the crowds attention and sucks them onto their stage.
Monome pioneer Daedelus shows he can match anyone's style and technique, Shlohmo takes a beer break.
Legendary rapper DMX barks in favor of Dim Mak.