Red Bull Thre3Style Challenges DJ Versatility

Competition takes place at The Independent on Jan. 24

San Francisco's love of DJs continues. Fifteen years ago (yes, it’s been that long), the city was home to internationally-renowned pioneers of turntablism like the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and Triple Threat. Today, the turntablism style of rhythmically scratching vinyl songs on a record player is no longer widely popular, but the party-rocking style of DJing — or DJs who rhythmically mix together dance songs on a software program like Serato or Ableton — is in full swing.

Hence the arrival of Red Bull’s Thre3Style competition, where the motto is, “They Battle. You Dance.” The international contest hosts the West Sub-Qualifier here in San Francisco at the Independent on Jan. 24.

Contestants include well-known local DJs D-Sharp (tour DJ for Lyrics Born), J. Espinosa (on-air DJ at Wild 94.9 FM), Mei-Lwun, Richie Panic, and Dstrukt. The rules stipulate that each DJ gets a 15-minute set to demonstrate their "track selection, creativity, mixing, stage presence, and crowd reaction." And they can’t just stick to, say, hip-hop or EDM — they have to use a minimum of three styles of music in their sets. Local band Hot Pocket, which has a dense repertoire of soul, funk and hip-hop cover songs, opens the party.

The winner of the West Sub-Qualifier advances to the West Regional final next month in Seattle. The Red Bull Thre3Style World Finals will be held in December.

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