It's been a while since I last attended a 'beat battle', and this was the first time I came as a spectator instead of a performer. Buttonpush is a producer event like none I've seen before - it had the style of the now extinct Red Bull Big Tune that pits producers against each other in an NCAA March Madness style bracket, but the feel of a showcase you'd expect at an iStandard event. Sixteen of Kansas City's brightest up and coming music makers went head to head in four rounds to seek out a single champion. One of the more refreshing things was all of these producers were some of the youngest in the city - and many of them I had not heard of before.
I recognized a few names like Alexander Preston and the most recent iStandard champion Maxx Marvel - and was introduced to some new talent like Keen Notes and Lexx B. There was a wide array of music and plenty of talent throughout the entire show. FK Menace brought soulful latin flavor in the first round and That Kid Bo kept the crowd pumped with energetic anthems.
Each round was judged by a panel of local veteran tastemakers - including respected audio engineer Jaz of 64111 Studios, and established production duo The Xtrodinairs. Wordsmith Milkdrop was also amongst them to round out a well balanced group.
This was the first time I was able to visit the newly reimagined recordBar - who has moved into a more desirable location just a short walk from the Sprint Center in the KC Crossroads area. The new venue had a well stocked bar, great sound system, and was a perfect fit for this event. The crowd poured in to see the talent - many of the attendees came in support of their favorite producer while others trickled in to see what the noise was about. The same night a major UFC Fight was going on across the street which also also contributed to the audience.
After an incredible semi final match between Maxx Marvel and Bo - it was That Kid Bo who moved on to the final round and took home the crown and $300 cash prize, with D. Professor being the runner up.
Producers are popping up left and right, and Buttonpush aims to capture the growing beat scene in the region. With the growing popularity of 'beat making' and DAWs like Ableton and iOS applications, it seems music producers are getting more attention than ever before. The next Buttonpush event is right around the corner, May 12th and miniBar. Be sure to follow the Buttonpush bossman Reach to keep up with future events.