Upstart DJs drop beats in ‘screwed up’ battle

Six students closed out a conference honoring the late DJ Screw in true hip-hop fashion — by battling on the disc jockey decks.

Hosted by Rice University’s Houston Enriches Rice Education Project, the “2012 College DJ Battle: Honoring the Legacy of DJ Screw” on Wednesday night ended the two-day “Awready! Houston Hip Hop Conference.”

The evening was hosted by Zin and featured DJ judges CAREFREEBX2TX, DJ Ebonix, DJ Supastar and Bobby Phats.

The event began with a speech by Lil’ Randy, a member of the Screwed Up Click, who recalled one of Screw’s more glorious feats.

“DJ Screw went to New York and battled them in the same type of battle that we are having here today, and he came out victorious in that battle. Why? Because he was the most creative and he had a sound that they had never heard before.”

The battle inside Rice’s Grand Hall consisted of a total of six DJs representing five different colleges: DJ Burn and DJ Bluetooth of Texas Southern University; DJ Elevated of Prairie View A&M University; DJ Wall Street of Sam Houston State University; DJ General Mealz of Grambling State University; and DJ Hustle City of Lone Star College.

Each DJ was granted a three-minute set per round and were judged on four main factors — intro, creativity, audience interaction and outro.

After some low first-round scores, the crowd groaned, but the judges were quick to defend their decisions.

“I’ve been at battles since the early ’90s, ok?” CAREFREEBX2TX, co-host of The Groove on 90.1 KPFT, said. “If y’all would have brought any of this to any of the professional battles, y’all would have gotten booed.”

Zin followed up simplifying where DJs fell short, saying, “If you’re whack, you’re whack. If you’re dope, you’re dope.”

DJ Supastar, who was a contestant on BET’s “Master of the Mix,” voiced her sympathy for a DJ with technical difficulties.

“My computer froze on TV, so I know how that feels.”

DJ Wall Street came through strong in the third round after eliminations, kicking off with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and following with UGK’s “The Game Belongs To Me.” He moved on to the next and final round where he battled Elevated.

“I’m about to show y’all something that no DJ here can do,” Elevated said before making a beat from scratching and backspin on a single turntable with a single recording.

Elevated proved victorious as the judges named him winner of the DJ Screw Legend Award.

“Screw was really my first introduction to a DJ,” architecture graduate student Elevated said.

Elevated said he was glad to be acknowledged by Lil’ Randy and DJ Chill and was happy to network with different DJs. Elevated will perform at the Prairie View Choice Awards on April 23.

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