Red Bull Music Academy presents HASHTAG$
Don't Call It #BEATS
For a brand that most people recognize solely for hocking energy drinks and extreme sports, no other has captured, promoted, embraced, and helped give the proper voice to underground electronic music better than Red Bull and its Music Academy.
Aside from it's foray into reinventing the classic DJ Battle with its Thre3style competitions, and of course, all the work it does supporting up-and-coming artists or breaking new ones with its yearly academies, RBMA recently launched the web video series HASHTAG$ at the end of January. With the goal of dissecting, defining, and clearing the air around the obsessive genrefication of emerging trends in electronic music, episodes range from #AltRnB to #postdubstep to this week's episode, #beats. Each is an entertaining and enlightening watch that gets to the heart of the music thanks to first-person interviews from the source, the artists that create it—not outsiders that label it.
Watching "Don't Call it #BEATS" today, I was especially struck by the value of a series like this. As a journalist who has grappled with informing the general public about new strains in electronic music making, while struggling to resist the confining genre tags that invariably come along with them this is a series I'm envious about not being involved in.
Flying Lotus put the underlying theme of #beats best saying, "what keeps it going is the fact that there's no label on what it's supposed to be." The episode—and the series as a whole—gets into the space of this music by letting it speak for itself. And without further ado, we shall too.
— Joshua P. Ferguson