Catch Me If You Can

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Austin Chronicle: The Faces Behind the Beats

Thursday’s Flamingo Cantina Beat Battle puts mugs to the thuds

By Chase Hoffberger, 2:40PM, Wed. Apr. 30   Hip-hop protocol pairs two individuals (and their posses) in a studio: the rapper and the producer. They go to work, a record gets made. Typically, it’s the MC you see performing, getting his or her face on the flyers and drawing attention. The producer goes back to the boards, burrowing in the studio, and starts working on new cuts.   Leading ATX femcee KB the Boo Bonic remembers when she was just getting started with rap more than a decade ago. In Austin and her native Houston, she spent her evenings at beat battles, listening to new cuts from producers in competition to figure out who she’d like to work with.

For five months now, she’s thrown a monthly rap showcase at Flamingo Cantina, even bringing scalding hot H-town rapper Doughbeezy to the Sixth Street venue last month. Shortly after that show, she realized she hadn’t seen a beat battle in a while. Of course she decided to make one of her own.

Thursday, KB brings 12 local producers to Flamingo for a three-round, tournament-style beat battle. Yours truly and KOOP Radio “Hip Hop Hooray” host Miss Manners are slated as judges. The night should give hip-hop’s proverbial rhythm section the type of shine it badly needs.

Check Soulfresca’s airy Max Lo productions and PeaCE, with his soulful 2013 EP The Rapture, made in conjunction with Aleisa Lani. Dirt Rich crafted the arsenal of beats on KB’s forthcoming Farrah Flawsitt EP, while Aaron “AC” Combs produced the bulk of both Krypol Haze’s 2013 debut and East 35’s latest LP, in addition to tracks for members of the League of Extraordinary Gz and Houston hard hitters Big Hawk, Trae the Truth, and Lil Keke.

More: New Orleans ex-pat N.O.L. In 2005, he contributed two tracks to Lil Wayne’s Dedication mixtape – “Over Here” and “So Smooth” – before turning around at SXSW 2009 to track Curren$y’s Jet Fool classic “Star Power.” Then there’s Jay-Tigg, a rapper/producer from Kansas doing work with Big Henry.

There’s also names working rappers will likely recognize. Names like Raskal, Nova, and Hurrikane RG, Chamothy the Great, and Ty on da Track – names you’ve seen before on local Dat Piff and Bandcamp cuts. Rare is the chance to see the whole slew onstage together.

“I’m looking forward to it as an artist,” admits KB, adding that she plans to make next month’s installment an entire evening dedicated to local female rappers. “The people I asked were like, ‘Really? Really? I get to get onstage and play my work?’ Hopefully a lot of artists will come out, link up, and find beats.”

Doors at 10pm, with music kicking off at 10:30. $5 cover. Come out and show some support for rap’s back end.

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