In crafting the McDonalds Flavor Battle, the fast food leader was aiming to capture the energy and excitement and recognizing the creativity of one of this countrys underappreciated art forms The DJ experience.
To bring that experience to college campuses around the country, the company put a slight twist on the Battle as it exists online. So while DJ Irie, Spinderella and Bryan-Michael Cox duke it out online, competing to see who can craft the best mix in each of three categories, DJs across the country have been given the opportunity to display their skills in front of students in 25 different US markets. When the Flavor Battle rolled into Atlanta on Saturday, October 10, it pitted three fairly established friends against each other, in a competition that was both fun for the competitors and entertaining for the fans. And one man was left standing, ironically repping for McDonalds most popular sandwich as part of Team Big Mac. DJ Rasta Root called me and said theres a McDonalds Battle and they need DJs to compete and he nominated me, DJ Smilez recounted after his win. I pretty much went home and practiced and threw together a couple of routines, and here I am. Smiles, a popular Atlanta club DJ and producer had previous DJ battle experience. But since his career, lately, has taken a turn towards business and recording he recently launched White Light Records with T!Katz Dell o8o Harris Smiles, born Nate Friend, hadnt battled in about four years. In a sense, time worked in DJ Smiles favor. Four years ago, everything was original wax, he explained, there was no computer to set your loops on. Records skipped and got scratched. You had to practice a lot more.Technology turned out to be a double-edged sword, as Smiles chances at victory were almost ruined when his laptop stand broke right as he started the second round. Still, this wasnt the traditional DJ Battle. The contest between Smiles and his competitors DJ Fudge and DJ Amdex centered more on music selection and crowd involvement. The three turntablists, who are all friends, each brought their own flavor, each taking a slightly different approach to gaining the crowds flavor. DJ Fudge offered three rounds powered by Hip-Hop anthems like Ludacris Number One Spot and Jay-Zs P.S.A.Amdex, on the other hand, reached back to older joints like DJ Cools Let Me Clear my Throat, while utilizing his blend skills to put a familiar twist on newer songs like Dem Franchize Boyz Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It. He even reached into his bag of tricks to produce Willie Hutchs Tell Me Why Has Our Love Turned Cold, the song sampled on Three 6 Mafias Stay Fly. But at the end of the day, Smiles had the crowd. With current hits like Travis Porters All The Way Turned Up, and Dorroughs Ice Cream Paint Job, he kept Morehouse Colleges Forbes Arena jamming through all three rounds. When he pulled out Michael Jacksons Rock With You, however, he won the competition: after his two minutes ended right as the songs bridge started, the crowd sang the rest of the hook all the way thru as if the music hadnt stopped. I think this was a really great event, says co-host Dres Tha Beatnik. It allowed the DJs to get loose anyway they want to. Its difficult because I know all of them personally and professionally. It was a good selection of music. It crossed genre, it crossed gender, it crossed age. And thats what you want in a setting like this.