I gave a thorough once over to all the beat-makers (with material available) for Local Trolley’s week one preview of the Miltown Beat Down hip-hop music production battle. Knowledge of the Beatdown‘s pure bracket format would have changed my final picks, but my take on the artists remain largely unchanged, and not far off from the actual result (more on week one here).
Heat two, of the Miltown Beatdown’s first round, cues their tracks tomorrow evening at the Jackalope. Before I continue I want to give a big forearm smash to the Miltown Beatdown organizers for their post, in the wake of last week’s competition, on artistry ethics. Check it out, we are from Milwaukee (or there abouts), and Eric Benet is the only one from Milwaukee that can expect never to get rejected; so you not always going to end up with a dime-piece after divorcing Ms. Halle! If fact, getting on salt at the Jackalope of all places, people will think you still use D-batteries in most of your electronics. Anyway, the MTBD blog said all that needs saying.
Back to the beats. Now that the Zangief (track two) laugh sample has surfaced, I am confident that no stone will be left unturned in search of beat supremacy. Here’s this weeks MTBD under-card:
Andy Petr vs Bad Character
Andy Petr got a sound, it’s choppy and takes a lot of chances. Not only that it’s versatile. I feel my ears wanting to like it, but many tracks play without any direction and the layers fight each other. Andy will be okay though on account of the ability to deliver some recognizably hip-hop tracks. Even if Andy doesn’t make up his mind what style he wants to favor, leaving out the innovative interpretations of rhythm and track progression will deprive the crowd of some forth dimension of sound Petr exists on. The Local Trolley initial Power Rankings didn’t completely do justice to Andy Petr, mainly because I’ve played Bionic Commando on the original NES, but Petr’s body of work is genuinely on a ground-breaking trajectory. Bad Character brings aggression on that Lord Infamous “I like skulls” vibe. Straight forward and primal, Bad Character beats have a club-ready knock conjuring images of arm-locking mini-skirt wearing “girls” running across the street ready to fall all over the place getting sweaty and drunk. This battle will be close if Bad Character can come up with enough interesting variations on a theme to force the crowd to not throw BC’s music in a proverbial box.
Prediction: Andy Petr prevails unphased by the need to please the crowd. Bad Character has an outside chance with an effort on par with the track Feels Good, a track playing in my head since I first heard it.
Hitmayng vs TradeMark
Hitmayng proclaims being from Milwaukee/Madison which actually puts you somewhere in Jefferson County, a place we all know you don’t want to be after dark in a car, on foot or otherwise. Furthermore, attaching Milwaukee to Madison that way is a no-no in the Local Trolley Guide to Rawness. Luckily this is the Miltown Beatdown and its about music with a beat, but I do have to ask, no, no hold on… What the hell are you doing with a Lego-man close-up of this manner? Now, what matters is that Hitmayng picks good reference material and it listens well. In a series of highlights, Hitmayng whips notable beats together from what he bills as 25 cent records. TradeMark does not have any music published, but if he has any music that is trademarked he will likely win.
Prediction: While samples have their place in hip-hop, it’s not on every beat, looped. Even the most basic beat-making software allows you to add your own flavor to your music. Hitmayng’s choice of samples is good, but if TradeMark has anything besides himself beat-boxing on cassette tape to battle with, let alone displays some brilliance, TradeMark wins.
40 Mil vs Sinister Reality
Judging 40 Mil solely on hip-hop genre won’t do justice to the music that will pump tomorrow night. The beats are original to my hearing, and have a variety of influences drawing from styles that have reaped commercial success in Hip-Hop and R&B. The fundamentals are present in the production but there is a chance that 40 Mil may not be given credit for dynamic, true-to-self (as oppose to true delusion) and radio-ready music. Although [mainstream] hip-hop music is often criticized, it is a legitimate hip-hop genre. The sound is big and will undoubtedly get heads nodding. I get the eerie feeling that Sinister Reality drew this match-up to make him demonstrate that his reality is in fact sinister; or maybe it’s just lottery karma. I also get the feeling Sinister Reality has something in the tank, whether it’s enough to deal with 40 Mil remains to be seen.
Prediction: 40 Mil wins, closely.
ClassiCal vs Big Steve
A dual of cool vs. hot ensues as ClassiCal brings light-hearted melodies stripped from lyrics. ClassiCal is refined and not overly underground. Music theory knowledge goes a long way in this craft, and ClassiCal will speak to the crowd of Jackalope. The collaboration with fellow MTBD contestant LUXI is quality. Big Steve lands somewhere between street and black hipster (“Super Producer” now just “Super”). Big Steve moved up pretty high on the Local Trolley Power Rankings for a track like Just One of Those Nights, but the odes and homages diminish his musical themes.
Prediction: ClassiCal showers the crowd with fermented Kambucha while peering through cool sunglasses. Big Steve will get approval from the MTBD mass, but music composition knowledge will swing ClassiCal past Big Steve pretty safely.
By the end, Andy Petr will have knocked off TradeMark, and ClassiCal surpasses 40 Mil to move on to the finale.
May 26th the heat gets turned up at the Jackalope when MTBD group 3 battles.
Made before round one, here are my overall power rankings of field:
I won’t re-rank until the finals but *equals trending, ~equals loosing ground.
2. Lex Luther (last year’s winner)
3. Mark Valdez
4. Mixed Up
5. White Russian
6. Bad Character~
10. Big Steve GooniTunes~
13. Audio Pilot
15. 40 Mil*
16. Jihad Baracas (2009 winner, confirmed)*
18. Cash Beatz
20. Mighty DR
21. Jooney Dubz
22. Andy Petr*
23. Jungle Boy
25. Sam Winters
Ranked on Principle (No Material!).
26. Saul Garza Beatz* (Got a sample of Saul Garza’s works and its definitely worthy)
28. James Jaxin
29. MC Cullah
30. Sinister Reality
31. DJ Heavywait
32. TradeMark (No online presence in 2011…?)
Breaking Beats Down, Miltown Beat Down Rd. 1, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-jC
Who’s Next, Miltown Beat Down Rd. 1 cont., http://wp.me/p1hPwN-lv
Kitchen hot, Miltown Beat Down Rd. 1 cont. cont., http://wp.me/p1hPwN-nO
It’s Halftime, Miltown Beat Down Final Prelim, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-oo
Local Trolley 2011 Honors!, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-13I