Monthly Archives: November 2010

Producer 14TK Named 2010 Red Bull Big Tunes Winner

By Tamara Jenkins

Michigan native 14TK prevailed as the best beat master and crowned the winner of Red Bull Big Tune’s 2010 national championship held November 18 at the Metro in Chicago, IL.

In its fourth year, Red Bull Big Tune is a national producer competition that began 2004 in Seattle, WA as a way to highlight local talent.  The competition is now the premier producer battle giving unknown and established producers a chance to become stars and the opportunity work with A-list recording  artists.

Red Bull Big Tune creators, Jonathan Moore and Vitamin D, derived the concept and name of the competition from traditional Jamaican dancehall culture when DJ’s would clash (battle) with one another by spinning  the latest Riddims (songs) that would be played in dancehalls.  The Riddim most favored by the people was considered the “Big Tune.”

Translated to contemporary times, two producers hit the stage giving the crowd a snippet of their track and the last producer standing at the end of the night is crowned the winner by the crowd.

This year’s championship  included winners and runner-ups (19 in total) from nine qualifying battles held across the US. Before the competition, The 19 aspiring producers received one-on-one mentoring with legendary producers DJ Premier and Just Blaze.

More than just a competition, Red Bull Big Tune reaches out to local youth in cities where battles are held.  Vitamin D and Jonathan Moore said the most fulfilling part of the program for them is visiting  YMCA’s and college music programs where they can interactive with the youth.  

Prior to  the championship, a screening of 2009’s Big Tune championship was held at the Wit Hotel with Vitamin D and Jonathan Moore in attendance.  The documentary chronicled  2009  finalists and featured success stories from past winners and competitors including 2008’s winner, Chicago native C-Sick who got the chance to work with Nas. Nas,  a fan of the competition, stated in the documentary“this is a great opportunity” and aspiring producers “need situations like this”. Before winning 2009’s competition, Frank Dukes produced tracks for 50 Cent and following his win, he worked with Ghostface.

Other notable success stories include Tha Bizness, a trio of producers that produced the hit “Every Girl” for Lil Wayne and Mayer Hawthorne, discovered by Peanut Butter Wolf, who is now a soul singer signed to Stone Throw Records.  For more information on Red Bull Big Tune, visit the website: .

Photo courtesy of Red Bull Big Tune

Metro Chicago to Host 2010 Red Bull Big Tune Producer Battle Finals

19 aspiring producers will vie for a chance to bring their innovative sounds to the masses during the national finals of Red Bull’s Big Tune competition Thursday, November 18th at the Metro in Chicago, IL.

Nine qualifying battles were held across the U.S. bringing the winner and runner-up from each stop to represent in Chicago.  Before each producer rocks the stage they will have one-on-one experiences with top producers Just Blaze and DJ Premier who will help them gain industry insight during two days of mentorship.

The winner of the Red Bull Big Tunenational championship in Chicago will get the opportunity to record in the Red Bull Studio in Los Angeles with the A list emcee of their choice. In past years some names have included Common, The Game, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli.  Last year’s Red Bull Big Tune winner, C-Sick, had a hands on personal recording experience with hip-hop great Nas. “Everything sounds great!” exclaimed C-Sick after a long day in the studio.  “The way Nas spits over beats is crazy.  It’s exactly what I expected.” The end result was a track named “Film”. This year’s winner will have a choice of three to five top notch emcees to choose from.

Big Tune began in 2004 as the brainchild of DJ/producer/emcee Vitamin D and hip-hop visionary/event producer Jonathan Moore with the purpose of bringing emerging and established talent to the forefront.  After three years of hosting local battles in Seattle, WA the duo forged a creative partnership with Red Bull and the event evolved into a national producer program. The competition made its national television debut on the BET Network last spring with a half-hour show chronicling the 2008 national finals in New York City. 

The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark Street. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is free with rsvp. For more information about Red Bull Big Tune and to rsvp, please visit

El DeBarge LIVE @ The Shrine Chicago

One of the original heartthrobs in R&B music is back in a major way.  R&B singer/songwriter El DeBarge performed an intimate, sold out set of his greatest hits on November 5that The Shrine Chicago nightclub. Backed by the house bands Verzatile and Zzaje, DeBarge romanticized the women with extended renditions of his classics All This Love and I Like It. DeBarge also performed singles from his upcoming CD Second Chance.

Originally scheduled to perform a 25-minute set, El told the crowd, “I have to give you a few more songs,” and concluded with a festive instrumentation of Rhythm of the Night. The new CD will hit stores on November 30. For more information on El DeBarge, visit For more performance photos, visit



  Photo by Rich P

Fashion Focus Chicago 2010

By Tamara Jenkins 

Dress Code 2010

 Chicago’s best and brightest in fashion descended on Millennium Park for Fashion Focus Chicago 2010. 

Fashion Focus Chicago, in its sixth year, was held October 18 through 24, featured shopping events, industry seminars, and showcased the city’s top designers with seven runway shows including Dress Code and Presents the Art of Fashion 2010

The top students from Chicago’s fashion design schools made their runway debuts during Dress Code. Standouts included bold menswear from  Katie King (School of the Art Institute of Chicago);  long, flowing open back neutral dresses from Sara Perez (Columbia College Chicago); sexy black balloon pants and bottom fringed sheath dresses from Amanda-Michelle Olson (the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago);  and  beautifully colorful gowns from Toni Pescatorre (the International Academy of Design and Technology). 

New to this year’s event was a showing of the four finalists from the Chicago History Museum’s FashionNext Generation competition. The winner was Brenda Beavers (the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago). Beavers winning hat and handbag designs are now on display as part of the I Do! Chicago Ties the Knot exhibition at the museum.

Lara Miler, Elda de la Rosa (center) & Boris Powell Presents the Art of Fashion 2010featured a preview of Spring 2011 fashions from established Chicago designers including the sporty sophisticated and versatile knits from eco-friendly Lara Miller; colorful, Oscar worthy gowns influenced by1950’s French couture from Elda de La Rosa and ultra-urban chic styles from Borris Powell. Kirk James Collection, Laura Lein and Paul Sisti were also featured.

The event also included three award-winning designers in an emerging artist category: Hector-Javier MonArrez, Fraley Le (featured in 2009’s Dress Code show) and Lydia Wawrzyniak. For more information on Fashion Focus Chicago, please visit

Photos by Raymond Boyd and Dan Locke