Red Bull Music Academy celebrated the musicianship of the hip-hop beat during their Drum Majors event. They brought some of the most popular hip-hop producers of the last decade to Brooklyn to talk about their careers, play some new and unheard music, and to generally get the crowd amped the fuck up.
We began with Drumma Boy. A Tennessee native, he’s cut tracks with everyone from Monica to Soulja Boy. He’s also an influential figure in the Atlanta ‘trap’ sound movement having had a heavy hand in the rise of Gucci Mane. During his set he just played hype man while his DJ queued up his hits.
An entertainingly inebriated Bangladesh showed up and despite a few technical difficulties (probably because of said inebriation) played an entertaining set. He told stories of how some of his hits were made (Gucci Mane’s Lemonade apparently was made in the middle of an all night rager at a casino), how disappointed he was initially with A Milli (“There was no chorus. I was mad he made it into a mix tape song, now we all know how wrong I was”) and gave us a quick snippet of a fantastic Lil Kim banger (!?!?) he was working on called Strawberries.
Rick Ross’s producer’s J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League showed up and played their orchestral work which has become synonymous with his sound: league member Kenny Barto even played some saxophone live. They played snippets of songs they were working on for the forthcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 soundtrack while showing the crowd some of the sample sources for their biggest tracks.
Boi-1da came with singer in toe and focused mainly on his Drake productions, which lead to epic crowd sing-alongs. DJ Mustard came out to represent LA, spinning variations of his ‘ratchet movement’ anthem ‘Rack City’. Chicago Drill music sergeant Young Chop came with a full entourage on stage. A mountainous young man he turned the venue into a mini-mosh pit with the crowd screaming back the various Chief Keef and Lil Reese anthems back at the hype men on stage.
Eventually the man of the hour, Mannie Fresh, arrived. Spinning from an iPad and DJ controller, he played his classics along with along with a glimpse at surprisingly current production he’s been working on. His set was divided between his hits (he had an audience member on stage to sing the hook to ‘Still Fly’) and hip-hop classics from the 90’s and 00’s. “We are gonna fall back in love with Hip-Hop tonight!” he proclaimed midway through his set but it was a needless boast…everyone in attendance never stopped loving it.