Riddim Rally Final @ Red Bull Studios London, 17 May
We follow Glasgow producer Bushido to London to see him battle it out for the title of Red Bull Studio's Riddim Rally UK Champion
A new event on the UK's clubbing calendar, Red Bull Studios' Riddim Rally is a producer clash that brings together beatmakers from around the country to compete for the title of Riddim Rally UK Champion. After four heats – in North & Scotland, Midlands, London, and South Of England – Glasgow producer Bushido is one of the four finalists taking to the stage tonight, in front of a live audience, in the hopes of snaring the prize which includes professional studio time for the winner.
The live judging panel consists of producer Faze Miyake, NTS Radio’s A.G, and grime MC Capo Lee, who set out exactly what they're looking for from the finalists. "Good production – but vibes," says Miyake, to much laughter. A.G wants "something I can play [in a set] tomorrow," while Lee promises that "Whoever wins, I'm going to vocal their beat."
With that criteria laid out, the four finalists are ready to play the first of the three 90 second-long tracks they've recorded (in just a one hour timeframe for each production) earlier on tonight. The judges will each give each track a score out of ten, with a knock-out system eliminating the lowest scoring competitor from each round.
Alongside Bushido are LUCY, from Bristol, London's Sh3m, and Manchester's Anz. Bushido's first track runs on a grimey, bass-heavy current with skittish beats and unnerving laughter vocal samples. It draws a solid 8.2 from Capo Lee, and sees the Glasgow producer through to round two. LUCY is unluckily the first one to leave, after pulling the lowest score of the round.
The second round sees the three competitors left dishing out bigger, tougher beats. Anz impresses with her sample-driven production, drawing a 9.5 from A.G – the biggest score awarded yet. Meanwhile, Bushido's huge tune draws praise for its slick production – "It's like a Gillette shaving ad," remarks Lee – and when the scores are tallied up, he beats out Sh3m by 0.7 to go through to the final two.
Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and though Bushido's final track has the crowd grooving their support, Anz makes her mark with the winning tune: a house-tempo number with funky synth elements and squelching bass. The Scottish representative has certainly done us proud, and the enthusiasm on show tonight from both the competitors and audience members is a promising sign for the future of this inaugural event. It's also worth noting that of the 32 producers that took part in the competition this year, three were female, with two of those making it to the final. Here's hoping this inspires even more diversity in next year's event.