I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been into beatboxing, and it’s something that has always slipped under the Wordplay radar. I think because these days beatboxing isn’t strictly hip-hop beats and tends to be more dubstep or drum and bass. It’s a natural progression if you’re going to display complex technique then you need more levels in your sound than boom bap can offer. Saying this, with everything in between the battles being very much hip hop orientated I knew I was about to eat my words.
So after a long overdue Wordplay meet up we decided it would be daft to miss the UK Beatbox Championships Final just round the corner, especially as Vice had been to the heats in Bristol the month before and was buzzing about it! This year the final was held at Scala in King’s Cross. With several viewing platforms and next level acoustics it was the perfect venue. Packed too, beatboxing is a popular….sport?
The whole thing was hosted by TooManyT’s. These guys killed it! They kept the vibe high into the early hours. You gotta remember that this is a ten hour affair! They even managed to squeeze in a performance half way through!
This year was judged by an international panel that consisted of ALEM (World Solo Champion) PE4ENKATA (World Female Champion) and TOM THUM. Who all gave performances between battles. A particular highlight was PE4ENKATA who fused Operatic vocals with beatbox! Amazing!
The competition was high, to my surprise the attitudes and the battle ethic in the performances made the show. As I said before the majority of the beats have moved away from hip hop but the attitude, ego and showmanship have definitely remained. As soon as the time’s up it’s all love, but during there is an element of B-boy battling that made each clash deliver more fire!
From the controversial exit of the crowd’s choice winner Beatfox to relative newcomer D-Low taking the crown the competition was fierce. This youngster was solid, confident and can hold his own against any veteran (backflips too, but that’s not accounted for by the judges shhh). Then the angelic and technical sounds of Burd, the live performances of world champions followed by high energy sets from LVLZ and Dirty Dike. The bar was lifted every hour! The UK Beatbox championships has been permanently marked in the Wordplay calendar.
I’m converted, big love to the team and everyone who made it down. Next year we recommend you attend, even if you’re not really into beatboxing.
Words by (a slightly humbled!) Nev