Beat battles have grown in popularity over the years but have been slowly dying off in the last while. I’m not exactly sure, but I think a large portion of it has to do with how the battles are organized, and also how they’re perceived by the audience. I was never a big fan of beat battles because most of the time it would come down to who was the most popular beat maker in the venue that night, but it can be very useful to enter beat battles – but only online.
Why Only Online?
The number one reason why I think live beat battles are a terrible idea is because it’s just not set up properly. I’ve seen tons of them and they all come across as the same – a handful of beat makers standing on stage doing all sorts of sign language while their beats are played for the audience. The audience only reacts when they hear a certain part of the beat that changes up, but most of the time they only react when it’s for someone they know.
The problem with the way the beat battles are judged is that they’re not judged. Everyone thinks they are, but they’re not. The “judges” usually consist of maybe one or two people that actually make beats, but the rest are people who know people that just happen to be a part of the local music scene. If the judging panel were full of judges that actually held some weight when it comes to music production, then the outcome would be tremendously different.
One of the biggest criteria that the judges look for is the crowd’s reaction. I understand that it’s the crowd that is listening to the beats and they of course are going to react to whatever sounds dope to them, but I find the judges are TOO influenced by the crowd. It should only be a part of it, but let’s face it – the judges will never go against a crowd because if that crowd leaves the battle angry, there’s a good chance they won’t be back the next time.
But the main drawback about battling in a live setting is that it can be damaging to you and your beat making career. As I mentioned, people in the crowd will cheer for their friend who is in the battle, or some person that they know, not for you even if you have the hottest beats that night. If you lose to someone who sucks, then that makes you look like the guy that lost to a guy with crappy beats!
I have seen some battles that were actually different, and much better organized. They require each contestant to make a beat on the spot with a given sample, and they get to bring their own equipment to make their beats, right there on the stage. The great thing about that is that it’s much easier to weed out the wack beat makers from the good ones, plus it proves that talent will win every time. If you can find live battles like that, then it’s a much better option to the traditional beat battles.
Do It Online
Even though live beat battles do have some good things coming from it, I still recommend to beat makers that if they want to battle – do it online. With online battles, it’s a much simpler process because whichever website is holding the battle, they have clear guidelines and most likely a theme that you have to follow. This makes it much easier for everyone to follow, plus it’s easy to just make the beat and upload it.
I’m a bit biased in this category because with IllMuzik I’ve been holding beat battles for over ten years now, but that’s the reason why I’m writing this article. I’ve seen many beat makers come and go, but some of them really stood out, and good things came from it.
I’ve had members that won three battles in a row, some that have won eight total, and some that just seemed unstoppable. I’ve also seen some win once and never be heard from again, and others that won and created controversy because of their win.
Battle To Get Better
So what does all of this have to do with you? Online beat battles will help you get better at making beats, period. In the time that I’ve been having battles, the ones that have stuck around and battle each month even after losing each time, they managed to get much better at making beats. I have had rookies enter the battle and think that their beats were the best thing since Dr. Dre’s, but were quickly humbled when they received zero points by night’s end.
The ones that hung around and received feedback about their beats are the ones that succeeded, and in my eyes, won. Beat battles are a great way to battle other beat makers and give everyone a chance to win and be crowned the best for whatever website they’re on, but it’s also a great way to learn.
There are beat battles taking place all over the internet, and some might be hard to find because maybe certain websites just aren’t popular enough. Regardless, here’s some websites that have battles:
The great thing about online beat battles is that you’re being judged either by a panel of judges from that website, all of whom have experience making beats. Some websites also allow the other members to vote, which is even better because then you will be judged by your peers – people that make beats just like you.