Day 2: The Future Producers of Hip-Hop Battle It Out

Live From One Stop Shop Music Producers Conference Phoenix, Arizona, Day 2 (May 9th… 1am overlooking Phoenix city lights from a Jetblue red-eye to NYC)

Hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day! Day 2 technically starts at 12:00am from yesterday so I will pick it up from there. We found ourselves at Club PHX with Sha Money and many of the talented producers and artists who attended One Stop Shop. I have to admit, I had no idea that Phoenix was such an after-hours kind of town. The club was packed and as always when hanging with a bunch of musicians after midnight, the conversations flowed candidly about gear, projects and the state of the music industry.  Everyone I spoke with agreed that no matter how much turmoil the music industry is facing, it’s an amazing time for musicians who want to take control of their own music (and future) by empowering themselves with tools such as Cakewalk. As you will read later, this proved to be true from the OSS Beat Battle.

My wakeup call rang early. Seth Perlstein and I caffeinated up and prepared for what was to going to be a very busy day. The second day of the “V-100 Challenge” brought new talent early and with fury as MC’s jumped on the Cakewalk mic like it was nothing. I was amazed with some of these cats when I asked them if they wanted to hear the beat first…  or warm up… or something…  nope – these dudes would just step up to the mic and throw lyrics like they had been there all night practicing. Today we had some MC’s representing Boston, Phoenix, Florida, Dallas, Queens, Brooklyn and even Mississippi.  I’m glad I’m not the one deciding on who is walking away with SONAR 8 Producer. Thanks to all the cats that participated and please check Youtube this week for a V-100 video montage.

In between the action of the rap battles, we were pretty psyched to connect with some great producers in the game who stopped by to say hello and get a 1 on 1 taste of the new V-700, that is creating quite a buzz in the Hip Hop world. Neither Seth nor I had ever met Pete Rock and it was a pleasure to connect with him as well as Don Cannon, Just Blaze and Drumma Boy.  Throughout the day there were some pretty heavy panels going on as well.  Sway moderated a panel I caught in the afternoon with RZA, Just Blaze, Pete Rock, Steve Lobel, and many other pioneers in the game.  It was interesting to hear these guys comment on modern production and the state of the music industry.

Later on in the afternoon, we were approached by Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Arif Gursel, along with Sha Money who offered us an opportunity to demonstrate the V-700 right before dinner in front of all the conference goers.  It was a bit of work breaking down our booth and setting back up on stage but it was well worth it.  Seth Perlstein took the stage and did a great job going through some of the main features of the controller, interface, phantom synth and also fielded some questions from the crowd.

In the evening, I interviewed Lee Bannon who has been using SONAR and Project 5 on his recent project with Talib Kweli. Then we checked out the finals of the beat battle and it was crystal clear to me that we are in the middle of a music revolution.  Basically, any undiscovered producer could submit beats for this competition and it was ridiculous how crazy-good the final four contestants were.  Some of these new age producers are really thinking outside the box, that is outside the box with how they are constructing the beats, and the sounds were very refreshing to say the least.

Thanks again to Sha Money and I definitely recommend this conference to any up and coming Hip Hop producer for two main reasons:

1) It’s a great place to easily network with some name brand guys because the vibe is “we’re all in this together”.

2) It’s a great place to get your work out there if you really have an amazing talent.

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