For the past several years there has been an anomaly within the Milwaukee Hip-Hop scene, a force that has come along to bring a small amount of crucial unity to one of the most segregated cities in the country. This event is the yearly Hip-Hop producer battle known as the Miltown Beatdown.
For years you have had each side of the city and every shade of skin color populate the venue that holds the Beatdown with little to no issues ever arising. There is only one fight that I can remember and only a few occasions of tagging. This is amazing given the popular belief people have (generally those who have nothing to do with the Hip-Hop scene) of Hip-Hop events. You would think there’d have been all kinds of shootings and stabbings, jackings and car break-ins, rapes and drunken brawls. Again, this is not the case.
What does happen? Thugs, trap stars, back packers, headz, nerds, jocks, dogs, cats, the Hatfields, the McCoys, all come together to vibe out to beats by Milwaukee’s best known and unknown beat makers. What happens as a result of this is bridges are built between the different sides and scenes of the city and the metro area.
The battle is also growing to a point that it’s getting some attention outside of the city. When the event’s organizer
Jordan Lee is able to bring in people like De La Soul’s Maseo, the legendary Masta Ace, and Questlove of The Roots to judge different grand finales, you know something is going right. This year the event has evolved into an thing that is smaller in the sense of less battles but bigger in venue.
With one night of battles out of four done and over with, there have been some complaints about the changes. The format of the battles has changed and performers have now been added to the mix between battles. I haven’t seen how it works yet, but I will this Friday and I can’t imagine it being a flop.
If people’s attention spans are so small that they can’t absorb a 4 minute chunk of different beats by each artist, then they aren’t really there for the beats in my opinion…they are there to be seen. If they are there to be seen that’s cool too but don’t criticize. Just enjoy the event and being seen at the continuation of something that has done more for Milwaukee Hip-Hop than anything else before it.
I think the new format is a good format that calls on the producers to find a way to make their beats meld together rather than just tossing out 1 minute clip after 1 minute clip. That format was cool too, but let’s be open to something new and open our minds to listening in a different way. If new things aren’t tried, stuff starts to get old and die so props to Jordan for the change and whatever he continues to decide to do with whatever related to the Beatdown. He is one of the people who has spearheaded the current movement of growth within Milwaukee Hip-Hop so let’s support him as he supports us.
I’m going to walk into the Beatdown with an open mind, ready to cheer on my homie Dave Audiopilot Derrilykt who is battling this Friday and I look forward to seeing you there and chopping it up with as many people as I can while I’m in Milwaukee.
-The Digital One