The Culture Clash 2016 Verdict

Once again the Redbull Culture Clash was one of the dopest events of the year, the perfect celebration of Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Grime, and House & Garage.

It was difficult to top the 2014 Culture Clash, but it feels like Redbull matched it with the choice of sounds, artists, and DJs. It was difficult to tell who was the clear winner as each Sound bought something unique to the table and delivered a solid performance.

ESKIMO DANCE
Grime is the biggest genre running the streets right now and this was the only team that could galvanise the entire Grime scene, they were the clear favourites to win since the 2016 announcement. It was the best of Grime on stage and they delivered a dope show, but Skepta, JME were needed to make their attack complete. Had BBK been around it could have changed the outcome of the clash.

Defining Moment – Fekky doing Fekky.

TAYLOR GANG
On the back of Asap Mob’s disastrous attempt in 2014, this could have been a savage beating for another US team, but to be fair Taylor Gang put in a lot of effort. There were a lot of flaws though, the Khaled intros weren’t strong enough, the Big Sean & Fat Joe specials were not dubplates, they were just voiced intros so they didn’t have the impact. Wizz freestyled over the Panda instrumental when this was the one team that should have had a Desiigner dubplate, but the Travis Scott dubplate inflammatory. As a Travis fan it was painful to hear him abusing our UK artists and Fekky definitely didn’t like it.

Employing Mr Play from the UK and Black Chiney were nice attempts to cover ground, but they didn’t pay off. An English accent on a US round confused the crowd, and utilising Black Chiney who are a sound in their own right felt like they were more relevant than Taylor Gang on their own set. These were two decisions that didn’t pay off or go to plan on the night.

Defining Moment – Whoever advised Taylor Gang to bring Ice Kid on the set should get paid double. It was a pivotal chess move, one of the biggest surprises of the night. It was like plot twist that you didn’t see coming in a film. Like when Kylo Ren killed Han Solo, it was a real ‘Oh Shit’ moment.

UKG ALLSTARS
These were the underdogs of the clash. They looked like the most underwhelming team in terms of online hype, but each member of this team has a minimum 15-year experience of tearing down raves. They dominated the Sidewinder circuit when it was at it’s peak, and they were used to making dubplates on a weekly basis. The artists, the DJs, the dubs were all on point, incredibly organised with an insane attention to detail. Mega Man and Majestic effortlessly ran the show with precision.

Bringing out Harry Shotta, and Skibadee was a shut down moment. The UKG Allstars constantly rocked the crowd and included the audience within their sets. They played for the people, not for themselves. They were closer to winning than the Taylor Gang and Eskimo Dance, and there’s an argument to say that it should have been a tie.

Defining Moment – Hard to call whether it was the East Enders intro or the Grime compilation advert, both were hilarious, but savage.

MIXPAK
This was actually an unfair advantage as these guys clash on a daily basis. They were over qualified and actually too skilled for this clash, which is also what could have made them loose. Their dubplates were infallible and they have them for days, but sometimes Mixpak didn’t let them play long enough which would mean the potential crowd impact was lost at times.

Popcaan’s decision to bring J-Hus on to their team was genius timing, as this was J-Hus’s first public appearance since Xmas and his epic return to the mainstage. Also Mixpak utilised Big Narstie to their full advantage by showing a video clip and having him on stage. These were savage blows to the UK teams.

Defining Moment – ‘One Dance’ by Drake is the biggest track of the year. Whoever was going to get a dubplate of this anthem was going to gain a greater chance of winning. Mixpak did it, and dropped it at the right time. The way that Popcaan introduced it at the expense of Fekky made the blow even more epic.

This was an amazing event, hats of to Redbull for continually supporting UK street culture and presenting with integrity in the best way possible. Mixpak deservedly won the clash, but it feels like it was an overall win for UK music.