A beatmakers journey – A guide on the do’s and dont’s when entering a beat battle

February 27th, 2014

bmThe story of how I made it to the 2014 Australasian Beatmaker Invitational… and lost.
By  Apollo Grimez

So, was sitting in my little home studio when I got an e-mail about the 2014 Australasian Beatmaker Invitational, which as far as this part of the world goes, is the Olympics for Aussie Beatmakers. Hey, it’s sponsored by Akai Pro. That’s my shit right thurr! Oops, turns out Queensland is not part of Australia or at least the rest of the country doesn’t think we have dope producers or paying punters that would justify a gig in Brisbane. Well, I was dead broke anyways and since Cairns is quite a distance from just about anywhere, I resigned to the fact that I wasn’t even going to try my luck.

It ain’t over till…

Days passed and I couldn’t stop thinking about this beat battle. I wanted to be part of this thing so bad, but needed to work out how to do it financially. Well, what is the easiest way to make money? Sell yourself. Rest assured, I didn’t put on stockings, heels and a wig. I offered myself as advertising space to local up and coming businesses (there are lots of people willing to help, but you must seek them out) and in turn got the money for flights and some fresh digs to rock on the night! On to the next.

Leap of Faith

So, you’ve decided to enter a beat battle, you’ve worked out funding and you believe that you have what it takes. Great! Oh, wait…it’s called the “Beatmaker Invitational”, so it’s probably a good idea to get accepted before you make major moves. Since I’m an idiot, I opted to ignore my own advice. Again.

Send 3 of your best beats, they said. Ok. Where do you want to perform? Melbourne or Adelaide were my choices. I sent my stuff off and so began the hardest part. Waiting…
You lucky summumabish!

It’s been over a week since I sent off my beats and still nothing. Let’s have a look what Facebook has to say. Sydney is announced, Melbourne is announced and guess what? I haven’t been picked. I’m not going to front. I’m was little gutted, but there was still hope for Adelaide. My second home and I’d be proud to rep for SA and QLD.
The following day brought the Moment of Truth – Adelaide contestant have been picked! My heart was racing. I skimmed over the names and YES!!! Your boy made it in. I clearly had more luck than sense, but who cares? I gambled big and won big – there was still the small matter of actually winning this thing.
Time to get my beats sorted out!

Travelling Man

So, Ive got the beats somewhat mixed (to the best of my abilities), the flight is booked and with less than 24 hrs before the event, I am shitting bricks. Time to pack. Always, always have a usb stick (or several), cd-r’s or whatever medium you are working with. If my cd gets lost, stolen, breaks or whatever, I can always get my shit together and keep on battling.

Showtime

So, the big day arrived. I was back in my old stomping grounds – RADelaide. I got to the city with my buddies, had a quick bite. Not too much though, in case I have an 8mile “mom’s spaghetti” situation. We got to the joint, walked in and BOOM – it’s pretty much empty. I had a chat here and there with some of the other producers and counted down the minutes. Mmmmmh. OK. Over the next hour it filled a little more and come time for the beat battle, it was crowded but nowhere near packed. The host/promoter called all the contestants over for a handshake and a briefing. I actually know the guy from a previous event where we shared a few beers and stories, but of course he didn’t remember me. Mom, I’m famous!!! Sigh…

Qualifying round

One by one our names were called as we had 3 minutes to prove our worth, and things started off with heat right away. I was up 5th, but didn’t actually hear myself called the first time as I was too busy talking to my fellow beatsmiths about how dope the last 3 minutes were. Not a good look. Fortunately, there was only one Apollo Grimez in the building, so eventually I got it right and did my thing. Right away I could hear that my audio wasn’t as clear as some of the others, but had them drums smacking peoples fillings out. Let’s hope it’s enough for another chance to show what I’ve got. Throughout this qualifying round were lots of different styles, lots of skill, and one guy just had the crowd participation on lock down.

After a brief break, the host returned and announced the first 2 beatmakers to advance and starts the semi finals right away. No Apollo Grimez here. OK. Maybe after these two duke it out…

The 1st semi final wraps and the other 2 are announced. Has anyone heard him say: “Apollo Grimez”? – No, me neither.
Boom – And it’s over just like that.

I needed a drink and could only shut up and watch my peeps do their thing. Great semis followed by a great final round. I thought the guy who took it home deserved it based on originality and consistency. And it didn’t hurt that he was a top bloke.
Game Over. Retry? Y/N?

In Conclusion

If you are a producer and you are looking to enter a battle, do it with the primary goal just to be part of it. Sure, aim to win, but understand that if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you are not good or that your style isn’t wanted. Whether it’s Hip Hop, Electronica, whatever…someone out there loves and wants your beats.

Now, to be honest here. Part of me hurt as it does anytime I lose at anything, but the important thing is that you walk away from these things with ideas on what you need to do to be better in the future.

Never, never, ever, ever, ever, badmouth the person who beat you. You will look like the sore loser douchebag type. Even if you think you were better. The other guy thinks he’s better than you. Otherwise he wouldn’t be there.

Lastly, I want to thank Kool Barrio and Moosh83 and a certain private financier for the sponsorship and the support. Also, a big thank you to my family and friends for the kind words and massive respect to Randy Glazer at Joint Adventure, the guys from Grindin, Mixed Tape, Akai Pro, Crooks & Castles, Acclaim Magazine, Feit Shoes, Monster, and everybody else who helped make this event happen. This was something very special and I hope the guys that thought that they aren’t good enough to enter get some inspiration, some tips and hopefully the courage to go ahead and give it a shot next year. What’s the worst that could happen, right?

There is nothing better than having a good team in your corner. Cairns has shown me nothing but love and big things are coming. Let’s get it!!!

Apollo Grimez

Tags: , ,
Group: australian hip hop, beat making, cairns hip hop, production

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