More than we acknowledge, the art of DJing is one of the most impressive forms of non-verbal communication. Masters of the mix have the ability to control a room full of people, speaking only with their hands, and through the rhythms and voices of others. It's that exact gift that can provoke a room full of people to respond with celebratory screams of approval. It's why people love DJs, and why they really love DJ competitions.
Last night, the Red Bull Thre3Style qualifying event took place at D.C.'s Rock N' Roll Hotel, pitting five DJs against each other and giving one the opportunity to draw a step closer to competing in the World Finals in Toronto later this year. The tight, dark room on the first floor of the venue evoked memories of 8 Mile, and saying that the stakes were high would be a gross understatement.
Howard University alum Low Key of YouHeardThatNew.com hosted the event, which featured DJ K-Meta, Mista Selecta, DJ Heat, DJ Trayze and last year's champion, Spinser Tracy. Each competitor was given a 15 minute set in which they were expected to wow the crowd and judges with three different genres of music. The intimate setting, amazing music and, of course, Red Bull set the stage for a memorable evening.
After DJ K-Meta started the show, Mista Selecta and his equally impressive beard drew cheers as he blended Chief Keef's "3Hunna" with Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything." DJ Heat repped hard for the female DJs and catered to the energy in the building, playing everything from Onyx to the Backyard Band's classic, "'96 Dope Jam." There's no way you can have a DJ battle in D.C. and not play some Go-Go music.
DJ Trayze, who was the runner-up last year, kicked his set off with No Doubt's "Sunday Morning." Any Friday night spin of a song about Sunday morning is brilliant. His turntable stuntin' continued when he blended Pitbull with the Beverly Hills Cop theme, a mix that blew everyone away. Displaying a ton of showmanship, he threw a bag of Doritos into the crowd after Kanye said "Tell her, 'Girl, like Doritos, that's nacho cheese'" on the "Lollipop" remix. You have to love that.
Closing the competition was last year's winner, Spinser Tracy. He made jaws drop when he mixed Miguel's instant two-step classic "Adorn" with Mary J. Blige's "Real Love" remix. He also had everyone in disbelief when he mixed into Lil Wayne's "No Worries" after letting the crowd digest Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy." It showed not only supreme crate-digging, but also a great deal of thought. That's precisely why he's the defending champion.
Each of the DJs put forth amazing efforts, but there could only be one winner. DJ Heat came in third, Spinser Tracy second and DJ Trayze was named the victor. Following his impressive performance, he will head to Philly to compete for a spot at the National Qualifier in L.A. After a transitional set by DJ Spicoli, Trazye kept people dancing with another hour of music—a musical victory lap.
All in all, it was another successful event complete with very talented DJs and all the good music you could handle. However, for the record, there can never be too much good music.
Written by Julian Kimble (@JRK316)