POSTED Fri. Aug 26, 2016

Creative Culture

Soundclash Cultivates Local New Orleans Hip-Hop

The standard concert format can get tedious: you, standing on the floor, staring up at the vaunted Artist Upon the Stage. But for local hip-hop fans, there’s an alternative to that model: New Orleans’ Soundclash concert series, which celebrates its eighth anniversary in October.

Rappers Chuck “Lyrikill” Jones and Tajiri “Truth Universal” Ujasiri began the Soundclash series as a three-round battle wherein music producers, rather than rappers, signed up to compete, open-mic style, against each other. The crowd, plus a cast of local and national hip-hop celebrities, judged each producer’s instrumental tracks on a 30 point scale in categories like originality, crowd appeal, and technique.

“You stand up there on display, you get five minutes, a one minute snippet of five of your songs,” says Gavin “G-Mac” George, who moved to New Orleans from Atlanta a couple years back. G-Mac has since won Soundclash several times. “The crowd plays a roll in the judgment,” G-Mac attests. “If they don’t like the track, it will probably be dead silence – maybe at the end they’ll give the at-least-you-tried applause. Though overall, it’s more of a camaraderie.”

Each Soundclash event also features several rappers, a bunch of DJs, and maybe even a singer or two.

Three years ago – five years into Soundclash’s now eight-year stretch – Soundclash founder Lyrikill shocked the hip-hop community by moving to Houston to pursue business opportunities. Enter area promoter and Soundclash fan El Williams.

“At the time I was promoting and booking the acts for Soundclash, while Lyrikill was the host and founder,” says Williams. “I was the most passionate about Soundclash, so when he left it kind of automatically rolled over to me. “

Under William’s curation, Soundclash has stopped cramming multiple producers, DJs, rappers, singers and other acts all into one night, to instead focus on just one of the classical elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing, Bboying, graffiti or knowledge) at each event.

“We don’t do the beat battle monthly anymore,” says Williams. “It’s now more of a showcase, and competitive open-mic. Three months in a row we will do those rapper showcases, then the fourth month is the Soundclash producer showcase.”

“We changed that more due to lack of participation by artists,” adds Williams. “We’d get four producers come through each month, seven, maybe ten. So I figured it would be better to have more impactful beat battles, with all those participants competing every four months instead. Now we usually have over 15 producers at each event. It’s a lot stronger event that way.”

Throughout its history, Soundclash has welcomed underground hip-hop artists and celebrities to judge the competition, as well as perform: from local heroes Mannie Fresh (producer for Cash Money Records and Dee-1) and Grammy-winning Westbank beatmaker Chase in Cash (producer for Drake, Lil Wayne and Eminem) to New Jersey artist Cardiac, who has produced for Rick Ross, Fabulos [sic], Diddy, French Montana and Wiz Khalifa, among other mainstream stars.

Soundclash’s eighth anniversary party this October 13th will consist of a traditional beat battle. “They will be getting judged, even though it’s a little looser,” says Williams. “Then those top three producers will move on to partner with iStandard [an organization for producers] and do a national showcase competition.”

The popular hip-hop event has also changed locations, with MC showcases taking place at the Dragon’s Den upstairs every third Thursday of each month. “They’ve redesigned the Dragon’s Den now so it’s more of an open area. They moved the DJ station, built a new stage, bigger dance floor, installed new sound. It’s now a bigger venue with some big sound in there, with some nice lil’ bass,” says Williams.

Artist and producer Wes B serves as Soundclash’s current host. “He’s not funny,” says Williams, “we’re always picking on him and telling him he’s not funny – but he’s very good at the show side of the things, and remembering the footnotes. He’s one of those guys you really need on the team.”

Local legend E.F. Cuttin spins the wheels of steel each month as Soundclash’s official DJ. The addition of Cuttin has translated into a series of hip hop tribute shows at the Howlin’ Wolf Den, the venue that also hosts Soundclash’s quarterly beat battles. On the heels of his popular recent tribute night to Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt album, Cuttin will, on August 27th, present a tribute to OutKast.

Then, September 24th will feature a Tribute to the Year 1996, considered by many to be the best year in hip-hop history thus far – a year that gave the world classic albums from Tupac (All Eyez On Me), The Fugees (The Score), De La Soul (Stakes Is High) and Snoop Dog (The Doggfather) among many, many others.

Williams stresses that Soundclash is still about everyone in the room, from the stage to the floor. “I just want people know that the platform is here for them in New Orleans,” he says. “Instead of going all over, banging on doors, begging to play this or that establishment, we went ahead and built our own deal for the underground.”

Image: courtesy of Soundclash, via Facebook.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Dec 14, 2018


Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 10, 2017

Creative Culture

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

On May 12 the New Orleans Museum of Art will fling open its doors for Masquerade: Late Night at NOMA, a costume party replete with float builders, mask-makers,…....

POSTED Dec 23, 2016


Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Happy holidays, y’all. We hope you find plenty to occupy you during this busy Christmas weekend, but if you find yourself having a small, quiet moment, or just…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook