The Red Bull Culture Clash is, quite possibly, one of the greatest things to happen to music.
This time last year, the stage was set in London’s O2 Arena as 4 crews reperesenting Hip-Hop, UK Garage & Grime, and Dancehall, respectively, battled it out in a show of epic proportions.
For those unfamiliar with the setting, Red Bull’s Culture Clash draws inspiration from traditional Jamaican sound clashes, pitting notable crews against one another in a series of sets that include custom dubs, special performances, and as many special guests as you see fit.
This time around, Red Bull is bringing the fesitivites to Atlanta, a cultural breeding ground in its own rite, and it all kicks off tonight (Friday, August 25).
On the bill, you’ll find Popcaan, making his return to defend the title he won alongside Brooklyn’s Mixpak last year with a buzzer-beating dub of Drake’s “One Dance.” This year, however, he’s stepping in with his own Unruly crew (Squid, Jabba, Jazzy T, Sir DJ Corey, Petro and Kamar Petrekin) to rightfully bring honor to the Dancehall namesake.
He’ll be pitted against Tinie Tempah and the Disturbing London roster (Charlie Sloth, Yxng Bane, Yungen, A2, DJ Charlesy and Mr. Play), Toronto’s WondaGurl as she gets backup from her Enjoylife crew (Southside, TM88, Nessly, Rich Kidd and Bluxz), and making his Culture Clash debut is Mike Will Made-It as he prepares to roll through with the EarDrummers set (DJ Cash, DJ Osh, Eearz, Jace of Two-9, Aubz and Bwrightous), featuring a performance from Rae Sremmurd.
And just in case it wasn’t enough culture for you, it’s all hosted by DJ Drama.
Naturally, its all fun and games, but not without a few ground rules:
1. Red Bull Culture Clash is split into four rounds, each with its own format.
2. Crews can play dubplate specials and custom dubs, bring out special guests, and do special performances throughout the whole night. However, in Round 4, ONLY dubs or special guest performances are allowed. Playing a regular record will lead to disqualification from that round.
3. Strictly no repeats! If a crew plays a record already played earlier in the night, they’re disqualified from winning that round. Only exception: the record is explicitly announced as a counteraction and somehow altered (dubplate, remix, live performance, et al.).
4. Each round is won by crowd reaction via a decibel reader (highest average during the first five seconds). There is no winner for Round One. Round Four counts double. If two crews are held to a draw after Round Four, the host calls for the crowd to choose between the two crews in a runoff. Since the last round counts double, all four crews still have a chance to win until the very end.
If you find yourself missing out on all the action in the ‘A’, Red Bull has got you covered with a live stream, complete with a pre-show preview hosted by Max Glazer of the Federation Sound and Sir Foster, also known as everyone’s favorite NBA pianist (ATL Hawks).
The Culture Clash preview starts at 8 PM EST and will include live interviews and crew breakdowns, while the main event starts up at 9 PM EST.