Presented by international beatboxing online community forum humanbeatbox.com, over fifty beatboxers from across the country (both first-timers and regulars on the circuit, including last year’s defending champions) competed in four categories at the 2013 UK Beatbox championships at Brixton Jamm last weekend – Solos (open to both men and women), Teams (of two people), Women and Looping (single competitor with looping equipment). Judging the competitors for the day were legends of beatboxing Bellatrix (2009 World Women’s Beatbox Champion), THePETEBOX (beatboxer, musician and singer) and Faya Braz.
The afternoon kicked off with the elimination rounds, starting with the Solo category. Each competitor had roughly two minutes to impress before being scored in secret by the judging panel. Artists including Freddy, Hobbit, Experimental and Chunbeatable worked the crowd with their best beatbox tricks.
Next up was the Women’s category, which was much smaller than the Solo category, however these artists equally packed a punch on their mics with their beats. Dana McKeon and Ness had the crowd in a frenzy with their original, quirky beats blended with singing.
For this year’s championships a new category called Looping was added to the mix. Looping is the process by which a sound is recorded and then repeated on “loop” on a machine, using pedals or switches to activate the repetition. Competitors layer various beatboxing sounds, creating music and adding their own ad-libs over it, whether that be singing or rapping. Beatboxers Formula, Hobbit and Ness each created some inventive loops.
It wasn’t just the competitors taking to the stage. World renowned loop pedal beatbox artist THePETEBOX showed us all how it’s done with a twenty minute looping set, combining beatboxing, singing and rapping. Following this tour de force, the Teams rounded off the elimination rounds with some dynamic beats and high energy, collaborative efforts.
As evening fast approached so did the battles for the finalists, with MC for the night UK rapper Stig of the Dump hosting proceedings. With 2012’s Beatbox Champions fast-tracked to the battle rounds, the evening proved to be a nail-bitingly tense showdown of vocal dexterity.
Beatboxer Hobbit dominated the finals, taking the crown as champion in Looping, and as part of a duo along with Marv-Ill (collectively known as Illbits) in the Teams category. Dana McKeon came a close second to Grace Savage, retaining her title as Women’s Beatbox Champion. Ball-Zee battled hard and became a third time reigning champion, dominating the Solo category.