“Unfortunately no females entered the Beat Maker of the Year Beat Battle and this is something we are going to address in 2020 and get more females interested in taking part.” said Beat Makers Market founder Enzo.

The absence of females at the Beat Maker of the Year Beat Battle was a glaring gap in the contest. “I know there are some ladies who are interested in the art of beat making and we just need to make sure they come out and participate,” Enzo said.

Cyrus Beatz was the eventual winner of Beat Maker of the Year in the battle. “I came here for a win and I believed that you know what, I’m gonna take it. Last year I was in Durban with the same mentality, but then…this time was different because I’m going through personal stuff, so in the process nje of going through the stress I only prepared three days ago.”

THA CHAMPION: Cyrus Beatz on stage at the Beat Makers Marker. Photo by Sip The Snapper
THA CHAMPION: Cyrus Beatz on stage at the Beat Makers Marker. Photo by Sip The Snapper

On a sombre spring afternoon in Johannesburg after “xenophobic” attacks gripped the city that week, the Beat Makers Market took place at the Good Luck Bar in Newtown. The ambiance of the event was hassle-free and communal, satisfying to both ear and eye enough to please the production geek and the average music lover. ¬†With more sponsorship this year, growth of the Beat Makers Market is visible, since being found in 2017.

“…I think this year, in our third year we’re definitely heading towards the right direction. We’re growing, people understand the concept you know what I mean, even the vibe is dope you can feel it as you walk in, there’s this aura in the air that beat makers are out here to share, celebrate and inspire each other through beats,” said Enzo speaking to Tha Bravado after the end of the Beat Battle.

Ninjas vibing to the Silent Disco at the Beat Makers Market at Good Luck Bar. Photo by Sip The Snapper
Ninjas vibing to the Silent Disco at the Beat Makers Market at Good Luck Bar. Photo by Sip The Snapper

One of the dope features of this year’s program had patrons vibing like zombies with headphones on, in the Silent Disco. There were three DJs simultaneously playing their sets, but with no sound outlet in the form of a speaker, but a limited number of headphones were dished out to attendees. “We had about 80 to 100 headphones and you could basically choose your own DJ. Our tag line is ‘Beat Makers Market where music and technology meet’ and today we were trying to show people that, that music and technology meet-somebody walked in and asked ‘where’s the music?’ and started seeing people dancing, and was like ‘ooooh!’.”

While that was happening, YFM’s DJ Sabby hosted the legendary King Don Father Mandla Spriki of Kalawa Jazmee together with Tweezy on the main-stage in the Power Beats Panel discussion.

From L-R: Spikiri, DJ Sabby and Tweezy at the Beat Makers Market sharing knowledge. Photo by Sip The Snapper
From L-R: Spikiri, DJ Sabby and Tweezy at the Beat Makers Market sharing knowledge. Photo by Sip The Snapper

Enzo defended the judges’ objective stand, regardless of how rowdy the audience became in the Beat Battle, at times seemingly swaying their ultimate decisions. “The judges we had have made experience of judging competitions so they knew what they were doing and who they felt to be beat maker of the year.”

DJ C-Live playing one of the Silent Disco sets. Photo by Sip The Snapper
DJ C-Live playing one of the Silent Disco sets. Photo by Sip The Snapper

Battlekat, Rashid Kay and Nyambz had the responsibility of adjudicating on who the beat maker of the year would be. The criteria was broken down into categories such as creativity, technical ability (the mixing and mastering), diversity as well as crowd reaction.

“You might have a beat that has four elements, but those four elements might just be captivating for the crowd. Do you reward the guy that was technically more superior or the guy that has the crowd? You know with Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, it’s just him and that was a very big song. I think it’s solely debated on crowd reaction, but the bad thing about that is that sometime you don’t have a neutral crowd, but that’s why we’re here to balance it out,” Nyambz said.

THA JUDGING PANEL (from L-R): Rashid Kay, Battlekat and Nyambz. Photo by Sip The Snapper

The night’s performers were forced to do their thang in front of a handful of people, after an exodus post the beat maker’s battle. “Moving forward, the Beat Makers Battles will be structured in a way that involves breaks between, with performances.”


INNOVATION comes from the music producer. Period. They sit there, fiddling with their gadgets and witness an idea become an actuality that stirs up ingoma inside an artist.

The process of making a beat may seem simple from the outside looking in but a lot goes into music production. A listener with a good ear, might know that something’s off with a particular track but not comprehend why- it could be that the sampling is atrocious, the mixing terribly done or just badly mastered.

These are things which some artists don’t completely understand too, hence workshops such as the Beat Makers Market (BMM), are important in educating listeners and those who interact with music on a professional level. “The event is an innovative networking event geared towards artists and music producers to build successful business relationships,” says event founder Enzo Slaghuis.

The BMM will be a gathering of people who wear various hats in the music business such as independent artists, movie supervisors, A&Rs, music executives and songwriters. “The concept was launched in 2017 at Slaghuis Studios in Diepkloof. The purpose of the last event was to launch the idea to beat makers and consult with the artists on how and what they would want from the Beat Makers Market event,” says Enzo.

This is the same man responsible for the legendary Slaghuis Hip Hop movement that gave the world guys likes of Pro (Kid), Pitch Black Afro and Siya Shezi among the long list of lyrical beasts from the South Western Township.

The event will have a panel discussion with some of South Africa’s celebrated Hip Hop producers. It will feature Dome, PH, Battlekat and Omen where they’ll explain, among other things, the recipe of a hit song and how the model for producers has been redefined. While the day’s beat maker competition will have the winner walk away with prizes comprising of M-Audio studio equipment, SAE Institution Music Business short course, AKAI MPK Mini, Monkey Banana Studio Monitors and a case of Redbull Energy.

At the time of writing this, there were 147 beat makers who had already entered the anticipated rivalry. Nyambz, Omen and Dome will have adjudicating responsibilities on the day. “We are also hosting the 30 minute beat challenge where interested beat makers will be challenged to create a beat on the spot using provided sound packs and a sample,” Enzo tells me.

The event takes place on the first Sunday of November at Newtown’s Good Luck Bar in Johannesburg. There will also be live performances by rappers Rouge, TLT, Makwa Beats, drummer J Star, Jed Nery and Morgan the Beat boxer.

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