My introduction to the DMV music scene began two years ago, one night in DC at a lounge off of U Street called Axum. I had been hanging out with a couple of rap friends JCA and Roc (he now lives in Cali) and we were attending an event called The Beat Clash. It was a local producer battle, the first of its kind and Roc’s younger brother Busa had entered. At this point in my musical time line I had already been exposed to the greatness that was BusaBeats production, so I, along with his brother and our friend JCA were pretty confident in his talent. Up to that point in my life, I had never even heard of a producer battle, let alone attended one, so needless to say it was an entirely new experience for me.
We entered Axum lounge, a kind of “sleeper” lounge from the outside. I remember thinking to myself, “the beat battle is in this place?” From the outside it looked like a shack. Not very aesthetically appealing to say the least. But once we got upstairs on the second floor I was pleasantly surprised. We were greeted with the sounds of laughter, conversations, and hip-hop music. The upstairs lounge was nicely laid out and there was a decent little crowd at the time of our arrival. We had gotten there early to ensure that Busa would have a slot for the battle. I remember one of the first people I saw when I got up the stairs was this short dude with these really nice shoes on. We exchanged quick eye contact and for some reason I got this arrogant, cocky vibe from him. It kinda felt like he thought I should know who he was. It’s funny now that I look back at it cause I know now, that guy was DMV rapper Nike Nando. LoL And he actually is a really good, talented guy. I’ve had the pleasure of featuring him and his DMG crew on DMV Live Radio, a radio show I host (you’ll learn more about that later) and he once performed at an Undergrounduates event I organized (you’ll learn more about that later as well).
Anyway, Roc, Busa, JCA, and I hung out talking about music and stuff and we met up with more of JCA and Roc’s friends there as they came through before the event started. We were having a good time and then this guy with dreads who looked really busy comes over and briefly says wassup to JCA and JCA introduced him to us as either Nathan or Sinitus, that part I can’t really remember. But I do know that today Sinitus Tempo and I are great associates, he’s a super talented producer from the DMV that I will clue you all into in later posts. At this point in the evening the battle was about to begin. So everyone moved to the front of the room where it was going to go down. I remember looking over at Busa after the first round, checking to see if he was nervous. He said he was a little. I just remember hearing some of what his competition had to offer and JCA and I telling him he’s good, he’s got it. We didn’t know just how right we were.
After a few great live performances from artists PHZ-Sicks, JF Coop, Obii Say and many more, we witnessed the final round of the beat battle. It was a battle between the two youngest people in the competition, BusaBeats who was 18 at the time and a kid who went by the alias Prometheus who was 17 at the time. He was actually so young that his mom had taken him to the competition and was right next to him throughout the night. He almost didn’t get to stay for the final round because she wanted to take him home. He had school the next day…lol But after some convincing from the judges and the host Stef telling her what the reward was, she allowed her son to compete in the last round of the evening. But, while her son Prometheus had some amazing beats, they weren’t strong enough to beat the dynamic versatility that is BusaBeats production. The beats he played blew the crowd away and solidified his new position as the first Beat Clash champion ever.
Busa’s win further approved the notions in our minds that he was a phenomenal producer in the making. That event was the very first time I had been exposed to live DMV hip-hop and it changed my perception of the music in my area and the direction of my life’s path from that day forward. Good times!