Beatnuts and Bass Heads were out in full force on Saturday night as they flooded the floor of the Virgin Mobile Mod Club for the Canadian Beatbox Championships: Mind Body and Sound. At the fourth installment of this event, 16 vocal percussionists were pitted against one another to battle it out for the Canadian crown, $500 cash and a ticket to the 2014 World Beatbox Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Starting off with a minute long preview of the goods by each of the performers, the competition ran as a bracketed series of battles from then on. There were two 90-second rounds where each competitor was judged on their originality, technical skills, crowd reaction, creativity and battle tactics. Flipping beats and dissing the punk standing next to you is a little more complex than it is on the streets.
Sourced from over 60 submissions, the level of talent that hit the stage this year was unparalleled.
“What was really exciting about this year was the amount of new beatboxers who auditioned and qualified for the Canadian Championship,” said Phil Dixon, one of the founders of Beatbox Canada. “Seven out of the top 16 [finalists] were first time competitors. It brought a fresh dynamic to the tournament and made for some very entertaining and close matchups.”
From Vancouver (Feng) to Halifax (Haste), this crop of dynamos demonstrated how deep the pool of talent runs in Canada these days.
“The progression of beatboxing talent in Canada is absolutely phenomenal. Each year our competitors set new and higher standards for what it takes to compete on a national level,” Phil remarked.
Unfortunately, none of the first time competitors made it to the semi-finals, and Heat from Waterloo got edged out by returning stunner BBK. On the other end of the bracket, it was a repeat of last year’s finals between crowd pleasers Scott Jackson (2012 Canadian Beatbox Champion and Canada’s Got Talent Finalist) and Calgary native Peterpot (2012 Canadian Beatbox Runner-up).
Throughout the competition it looked as though Weston native Jackson would run through anyone that could drop a deep dubstep beat, but it was Peterpot’s crafty rebuttal and spot on time signature replication that took him into the finals.
In an interview with HipHopCanada, Peterpot seemed to unknowingly foreshadow his final matchup, recounting his testy battle with BBK from 2011. In the same interview, he confided that it was in fact Jackson that posed the biggest threat, and that BBK’s cocky stage persona wouldn’t save his flow. (BKK flipped Pot the bird in their 2011 battle.)
“Part of battling is that it isn’t just about beating your opponent—it’s about winning the crowd,” Peterpot told HipHopCanada.
Through three 60-second rounds, it was a close call between BKK and Peterpot, but it seemed as though Peterpot’s calm demeanor and succinct timing wasn’t going to fail him this year. The crowd made major noise for the unassuming, curly haired Calgary kid and by a narrow 3-2 margin the judges agreed. Peterpot will be representing Canada next year at the World’s.
You can check out the battle here:
Perhaps more importantly than who won and who lost (the competition was audibly close), it’s about seeing the bopping heads and hearing the banter amongst the crowd. The animosity that might be felt on stage rarely transcends the competition as battlers throw arms over each other’s shoulders as they await the results.
“Its so motivating because the beatbox community is so supportive of each other,” Phil concludes. “They continue to push each other to new and uncharted levels of vocal percussion.”