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Red Bull Culture Clash San Francisco Crew Highlights!


It is upon us! It is time! It has all been leading up to this, a rumble in the San Francisco Regency Ballroom jungle… 4 crews enter, one crew wins… No prisoners, no good tunes left unturned, it’s an absolute all out brawl to crown a winner of the Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash San Francisco!

Last week we explained the event, and in this edition of our RBMA Culture Clash coverage, we will highlight the 4 amazingly diverse and talented competing crews: dirtybird vs Tormenta Tropical vs Dub Mission vs Triple Threat DJs. So, if you don’t already have a crew you’d like to win, hopefully these insights on the crews and their respective quotes and approaches might help you decide who you hope dominates the Culture Clash!



San Francisco founded, San Francisco focused, dirtybird is that San Francisco label putting out consistently impressive and innovative house music with a bass emphasis and tech flourishes. It’s fun dance music that gets you moving and grooving! When asked how he would describe dirtybird in a few words, founding member Justin Martin said it simply, “I always say the same thing - booty shaking fun! That’s pretty much it!”

Claude Vonstroke is ready to win, I can tell you that personally, “We are so ready to win… We’re really going all in on this thing. Me, like, well I’m not going to say anything, but we’ve got a lot of battle plans." When I talked to the big bird himself at the dirtybird BBQ, it almost felt like he was letting slip their big surprise, and if I know my birds, I know they really got something to wow their beloved San Francisco family...

Are you ready to win Culture Clash?

Justin Martin: “You know, I’m scared! I think that people are expecting a lot of us, which they should, but I think all of the teams are gunning for us. I’m not taking any of the other teams for granted, I know people have got some shit up their sleeves. We’re a little scared, it’s a lot of work, but we’re going to put our all into it, and we’ve got some really awesome surprises locked in already, so I think it’s going to be a fantastic event, and we’re so honored to be a part of it. Super stoked!

So, there you have it, heavy weighs the crown, and no clear winner is evident at the start. I love the candor, I love the focus, I love the confidence. These dirtybirds are taking this competition absolutely seriously, and I don’t get a sense of arrogance from them, I see that they are focused!


Tormenta Tropical

In their own words, Tormenta Tropical is “a monthly event presented by Bersa Discos record label, Tormenta Tropical explores new directions in cumbia, dancehall, Dem Bow and other tropical influenced heat.” So although it is a label founded in Buenas Aires, it is arguably closer in its tropical focus and dancehall influence to the traditional Jamaican soundclash, this means the clash gods could smile upon Tormenta Tropical…

How is Tormenta Tropical going to win the clash?

“We’re coming out hard with the unexpected to get the whole crowd hype. All the other crews are deeply rooted in a specific and somewhat predictable sound. For instance we’d expect Triple Threat to brough a bay area rap artist and more turntablists or Dub Mission brings out a classic reggae singer you’ve heard before. It’s definitely cool but something you can generally see at any of their events throughout the many years. We want to come with a unique night to blow minds”

So, Tormenta Tropical is confident, also focusing on the big surprises, and is ready to best two of the competitors outright… Love the slight talking trash! I am really excited to see what creative surprises they have up their sleeves...

Outside of the clash, Tormenta Tropical is posted up every second Saturday at the Elbo Room in San Francisco, and also at one-off events around the US, Central and South America.

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Dub Mission

A definitive reggae focused crew that is regard as one of the longest-running parties in the world, Dub Mission is going to bring only its finest dub, roots reggae and dancehall selections to the clash. Another resident crew of the always interesting and fun Elbo Room, Dub Mission is coming to the Culture Clash to “represent our sound, put on a great show and win the audience over, thus winning the clash. Oh and have fun doing it.” Their crew will consist of DJ Sep, J Boogie, Maneesh the Twiser, Kush Arora and Vinnie Esparza.

This is crew certainly is going to very familiar with the soundclash format, so I’d expect them to know exactly how to work the crowd for maximum winning potential.

“We’ve collected great dubplates, produced our own remixes and refixes and are also bringing our best selections from the last 18 years to the clash” - DJ Sep

If anything sounds like a crew was born ready, it was that answer right there. The other crews probably should stop shaking in their boots, and focus on how they are going to come correct.

On the subject of special guests: “Our special guests will both delight and surprise the audience. We’ve definitely not stuck to the tried and true alone. Expect some left-field appearances.” Oh boy, I’m excited, and I can only imagine with their 18 years of experience as a crew the connections and friends they have made that they can call it for the final round…


Triple Threat DJs

Oh how the tables have turned, and the Triple Threat DJs are going to be doing everything in their extremely talented power to turn the tables for a win in their favor! They aren’t going to be mean, as when clued of by their named, I asked, how threatening they might be at the Culture Clash, and in turn they responded “Wouldn’t put too much on it, BUT don’t take us lightly.”

Turntablists coming from only the most renowned and respected DJ collectives, Triple Threat consists of champion DJs Vinroc (5th Platoon, NYC), Apollo (Invisibl Skratch Piklz), Shortkut (Beat Junkies, ISP), and LA transplant crowd controller Fran Boogie. How can one easily explain Triple Threat DJs you ask? “Experienced, diverse and ILL.” Spoken like a true veteran of the good music game.

Also, if you weren’t already aware, turntabling is a very competitive musical style, and Triple Threat DJs come from a battle DJ background, so they are planning accordingly and are ready for what is up against them.

Do you have a game plan or strategy for success already in place? Or are you waiting to read the Culture Clash crowd and adapt accordingly?

“Preparation is always key, but as the vibes are set throughout the night, we plan to feed off the crowd’s energy and channel that back into our performance.”

Are you excited about any of the surprises you have planned? Are you extremely focused and just looking forward to unleashing and ready to clash?

“We’re honored to be selected and excited to be part of the Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash. The teams that have been invited to participate in the past are all top dogs in their music scene and we just want to do a good show and get the world hip to the talent that the Bay Area has. Focused? Absolutely! It’s going to be a historic night for the Bay’s music scene, so we’re going to have fun with it. Come out and see what it is all about!”

So… there you have it! Fierce crews that respect each other, but they are all vying for best of the Bay Area Culture Clash. Diverse and different, top notch and only of the highest caliber, these crews are going to go head to head and make this San Francisco debut edition one of the most beautiful Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash ever!

Red Bull Culture Clash

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