California’s Bay Area and Detroit have always been spiritually linked in hip-hop. Because of a mid-80s migration pipeline that sent frozen-toed Michiganers west for the sunnier climes provided by the Golden State coastline, the two music scenes share a lot in common. From a love of car culture to the off-kilter swing flow that has become common in both cities’ regional sounds, the Bay and Detroit have provided plenty of artists whose origins could just as easily land in one or the other — think MC Breed or any number of newer Motown rappers like Icewear Vezzo and Payroll Giovanni.
Soon, though, those two sides will find themselves embroiled in a friendly competition, courtesy of Red Bull and the Red Bull SoundClash. The fan-favorite battle event is returning this year with a traveling schedule that’ll see two rising rappers — Detroit’s Babyface Ray and San Francisco’s Larry June — face off in each other’s hometowns. They’ll each have an opposing stage and the winner will be determined by crowd reactions via a decibel reader. The cool part is, because of the Bay/Detroit connection, there might not be much of a hometown advantage for either.
In addition to those two battles, a third will take place in Houston featuring a unique cross-genre clash between modern-day blues man Gary Clark Jr. and chopped-and-screwed aficionado Paul Wall. That should be interesting in its own right, thanks to the odd blend of music styles from both Texas natives.
The schedule can be found below, and you can find more info here.
10/15: Babyface Ray vs. Larry June – Detroit
11/3: Larry June vs. Babyface Ray – San Francisco
11/10: Gary Clark Jr. vs. Paul Wall – Houston