Labor Day weekend, I flew out to Miami for the final of Coast2Coast Mags DJ Battle National Final. Here is a little summary of my whole trip:
FRIDAY: I arrived in Miami around 3:30 Friday afternoon. I was welcomed by the Coast2Coast shuttle straight to the hotel. To my surprise legends Rockwilder and DJ Pain1 were in the same shuttle as I was. It was awesome kicking it with them, super humble, hard working, and down to earth dudes! I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami for the weekend. After getting settled in the hotel, I met up with Craig (DJ Bromeo), my buddy from back in Pittsburgh, who happened to be on vacation in Miami at the same time while I was down there. We hit up the strip of all restaurants and bars in South Beach and grabbed some grub at CJ’s Crab Shack. The food was great, I ordered raw oysters and seared tuna with seaweed salad. Later that night we hit the town for some drinks and more grub: Wet Willies, The Clevelander, and Mango’s just to name a few. We also got laced with some fresh gear and threads from Soles Inc. We closed out the night with some awesome greasiness from Johnny Rockets. I also ran into legendary Sneaker Head Franalations while at Wet Willies! When I arrived back to my hotel room, I was introduced to my room mate for the weekend DJ Kid Fresh (2001 US DMC Team Champion w/ SuperFriends Crew, 106 & Park, DJ for French Montana).
SATURDAY morning was the first official panel for the Coast 2 Coast Convention. Speakers included Tone Trump and some big ups in the satellite radio industry. I spent most of the day relaxing and organizing my set for the DJ battle that night. The battle was held at EVE Nightclub in downtown Miami. There were 20 contestants in the battle, who all won there qualifiers in their respective cities. There was an amazing amount of talent in the building that night. The format was as follows: All DJs 5 minute elimination, judges pick Top 4, Top 4 go head to head 2 minutes. Winner is voted on by the crowd. I was honored to be able to make it to the Top 4 of the battle, but then lost to DJ Ambideckstrius (Chicago) in the head to head round. Ambideckstrius ended up winning the battle. He had awesome showmanship, on top of insane cuts and dope juggles! There was some controversy when DJ Cocheze (San Francisco) lost in the first round of the top 4. Most believed that Cocheze should have won the battle, he was the cleanest DJ by far and his sets were flawless. This is a reason why I do not like crowd judged battles, especially for turntablism style events. The average club patron does not recognize the amount of skill it takes to juggle/scratch, and tend to vote for the person who plays the most familiar songs to them. Regardless of the debacle, the event was a blast! It was amazing to hang out with some of the dopest DJs from around the country! Big shout outs to DJs: Cocheze, Neilson, Ragz, Kid Fresh, Henry C, Ambideckstrius, and everyone else that threw down! I was honored to finish 4th in the battle, considering all the talent that I was surrounded by! Big congrats to Ambideckstrius! Definitely held it down for Chi-Town! Here’s a link to video of my battle set: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCaCBAHobS4
SUNDAY: My last full day in Miami was spent on the beach. After the DJ and producer panels at the hotel, we hit the beach to unwind and enjoy the last day of the trip. Every time I’m in a different city I have to check out a sneaker spot and record store! I hit up Soles Inc again and Uncle Sam’s Music Mine. Grabbed some dope underground break records! South Beach is every bit as awesome as you see it on TV. Beautiful ladies, white sand, and clear waters make it even more exciting. Later that night I caught up with DJ Ragz (DMV, Beat Refinery, Jazz Addix) for some dinner at El Cartel Colombian restaurant, right outside our hotel. I ordered an Arepa Rellena de Carne (Steak Burger with seasoned meat and fresh corn bun). Sandwich was rich in flavor and the ketchup/mayonnaise/Colombian spice sauce was out of this world! That night I hit South Beach with Henry C, Cocheze, Neilson, and Ambideckstrius. We roamed around the streets and hit up a few bars. I didn’t end up sleeping that night, I stayed up packing for the trip back home.
MONDAY: At around 5:30 am Monday morning I checked out the Hyatt and took a taxi to Miami International. My flight left at 8:30 am and I arrived back in Pittsburgh around 11 am. The trip to Miami was one I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I met some great new friends, made some awesome business connections, and had the time of my life! It’s not that often that you get an all expenses paid trip to Miami, so I had to live it up! Big thank you to the whole Coast2Coast Crew (Lil Fattz, DJ Pain 1, and all) for the great opportunity! I look forward to being a part of this event again, and hopefully take the title back home to Pittsburgh!