The Lowdown: Beat Boss 4

Last week, DJ Tiatsim and Mode FM’s pet project, Beat Boss, took place for the fourth time. Taking over Samurai Sound studios in West London, the night saw fiery clashes between some of grime’s premier beatmakers including the reigning champion Sir Pixalot, Mode FM boss Scope, West London’s own Sh?m and more. Judging the event were Discarda, Spooky, Treble Clef, J Beatz and Zha, while Tiatsim and Big Mikee shared hosting duties.

Check out the whole set below.

On the night, the venue was packed out as we all enjoyed deep beats and cheap eats (thanks to a barbecue being put on!) as well as producers talking the wickedest war talk. Clashing and warring is more readily associated with MCs in grime, but producer and DJ clashes have been a big part of the genre’s history and traditions too.

And when they come packing pars like this one from Sir Pixalot, what else can you do but sit back and let them tear lumps off each other?

On the day, it was Beat Boss newcomer Sware who took home the prize after a tense final with Mistakay who had impressed despite being a late entry to the event, replacing As If Kid. Mode FM boss Scope was another strong contestant with an incredible first round against Sir Pixalot, featuring a Wildcard dub from Capo Lee. Perhaps the highlight of the night, though, was Potentz’ second dub in his clash against Mischief which was wheeled up a record-breaking four times. Amazingly, Mischief made it through that round, only to go out in the remix round, which anyone familiar with Mischief as the Refix Champion will know was a huge shock. Once again, Beat Boss showed its capability for upset.

One of the most interesting things about Beat Boss is its complete unpredictability. Twice in a row now the reigning champions have gone in full of confidence, only to be whitewashed in the first round by a new challenger. In the Beat Boss arena nobody cares how many bangers you’ve had, how many people lock into your radio show, or what kind of studio you’re working with, it’s all about how dark, warry and brutal your beats are on the day.

Not only does Beat Boss guarantee new beats and new music from the producers who take part, but it also gives you a look at how producers judge each other’s music. The talks from the judges in between each round offer illuminating insights into the structure and production of music. Treble Clef in particular was seriously in-depth, which is perhaps no surprise when you consider how layered, intelligent and well-structured his beats are. It was also interesting to hear Discarda discuss beats from the perspective of an experienced MC who has worked with some of the best the scene has had to offer, and he pulled no punches when called upon to judge, either, regularly palming off beats he wasn’t feeling.

Beat Boss is still a relatively new concept, but has already shown an ability to grow and develop into a more professional event, although right now it still maintains the raw edge that has made it so popular with grime fans and such a draw for producers. It’s a throwback to grime’s roots, while also being forward thinking and innovative. Events like this are part of what made grime such an interesting genre to begin with, so shout out DJ Tiatsim and the Mode FM team for their efforts to give us a new and interesting clash concept.

If you want to read more about Beat Boss, then check out our interviews with Tiatsim and the previous winners.