Friday night at the O2 Islington Academy Bar: A special musical set was being played
where competitors stand a chance of winning the grand prize of a slick new sports
car. On stage, bass, snare, high hat, percussion and vocals were being practised.
All present and working. Interestingly, there wasn’t an entire band standing on stage,
only one person and a microphone.
This was the London heats for the 2009 UK Vauxhall Beatbox Championships, where emcees
go head to head taking it in turns to outdo themselves with only a mic and their
vocal chords. Beatboxing, a less well known element of hip hop culture, is the production
of bass, percussion, vocal samples and any other noise produced by manipulating your
mouth to give the impression you’re producing an entire song without any musical
The packed venue was hot and sweaty with followers of the beatboxing community pushing
to get a view of the small stage. For those in the audience who were new to beatboxing,
judge Hobbit gave eager ears an introduction to the art with a varied set, ranging
from hip hop beats to grime basslines.
The proceedings saw eight contestants battle it out, head to head, knockout style,
to impress the judges. In order to qualify for the finals in June, they were also
judged by how well they won audience approval, by mixing in a catchy song or showing
off their most technical rhythms.
MC Zani, returning to defend his title, was surprisingly knocked out when faced with
Layth in the semi finals who went on to win against the finalist from last year,
When asked how MC Zani felt about Layth defeating him, he said he was surprised by
how much he had improved since last year’s competition and gave him a run for his
money, wishing him the best of luck in the final.
With the London heat out of the way, the next local heats are at Newcastle on 30th
April and Nottingham on 5th June, to qualify for the final on June 20th at O2 Shepherd’s
For more info on the Vauxhall UK Beatbox Championships, how to compete and where
the Newcastle and Nottingham heats take place, visit www.vauxhallbeatboxchamps.co.uk