Shelley and West Boogie capped off an exciting RedBull SoundClash with surprise guest performances from 6lack and Baby Tate.
For the first time in a decade, Red Bull SoundClash has returned to the United States, and on November 30, the traveling event kicked off its American homecoming with a packed-out show in Atlanta, Georgia, starring two artists from iconic independent record label and management company Love Renaissance (LVRN): Shelley FKA DRAM and Westside Boogie.
Held at Atlanta’s newest concert venue, The Eastern, and hosted by Pandora’s Senior Director of Hip-Hop Joshua “J1” Raiford, Red Bull’s Atlanta SoundClash did not disappoint. Over the course of four rounds, Shelley — who is still riding the high from his outstanding eponymous LP released earlier this year — and Westside Boogie — the Shady Records signee who is holding onto his extremely anticipated follow-up to 2019’s Everythings For Sale — went head-to-head, and their friendly competition made for an exceptionally entertaining concert experience.
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When explaining how Red Bull SoundClash works, it’s easy to draw similarities between Red Bull’s SoundClash events and Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s sensational Verzuz live streams, but that would be an overly simplified comparison. On the surface level, two artists do face off in a one-on-one competition, but rather than a straightforward hit-for-hit battle, SoundClash gives participating acts the opportunity to push the limits of their creativity by performing live covers, remixing each other’s tracks, and changing the sonic makeup of some of their most popular songs. Thus, Red Bull SoundClash is able to yield raw, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and Westside Boogie and Shelley FKA DRAM’s showdown in Atlanta on Tuesday night was a prime example of that.
After warming up the crowd with brief, spirited performances of their fan-favorite cuts, the artists entered Round 1, “The Cover.” Both Shelley and Boogie were tasked with covering OutKast’s classic Speakerboxxx/The Love Below track “Roses,” and while the round concluded with the LVRN artists quibbling over the Compton-born artist’s “karaoke”-esque take on the Atlanta rap standard, it was clear that Shelley’s soulful cover undoubtedly won the crowd over in the first round.
The next two rounds saw the artists return to performing their own material, but with a twist. In “The Takeover” round, one of the artists would start up one of their original tracks before handing it off to their competitor, and that resulted in Westside Boogie delivering a fiery verse over Shelley’s septuple-platinum-certified hit “Broccoli” as well as Shelley powering through a scene-stealing performance over Boogie’s “Skydive.” Things got really interesting, however, during the third round, known as “The Clash.” Instructed to perform three of their songs in “comfort zone-stretching styles,” the artists executed special live renditions that saw them leaning heavily into styles like dancehall and chopped-and-screwed. Yet while that round truly showed how creative each of the artists could get, the climax of the night arrived during the fourth round, “The Wildcard.”
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Described by Red Bull as a round where “almost anything is fair game,” the final round saw both Westside Boogie and Shelley FKA DRAM utilizing every weapon in their arsenal, from huge cameos from beloved Atlanta artists to electric performances of their biggest hits. For Shelley’s special guest, he opted to bring out the sensational rising femcee, Baby Tate, and the Warner Records artist was showered with love while she performed her viral hit “I Am.” In one of his most tactical moves of the entire competition, Boogie claimed victory in the fourth round by welcoming his LVRN collaborator 6lack onstage to perform his breakout single “Prblms.”
After an hour and a half of great live music, never-before-heard remixes, surprise guests, and comical back-and-forths between the LVRN artists, neither Westside Boogie nor Shelley FKA DRAM was crowned the ultimate victor of this year’s Atlanta Red Bull SoundClash, but attendees were sent off with amazing news from both artists. Shelley FKA revealed that fans could expect a Christmas song from him in the coming weeks, and on an even more exciting note, Boogie assured fans that his sophomore album will arrive during the first quarter of 2022. The Red Bull SoundClash in Atlanta gave audience members an incredible show, an opportunity to celebrate both of the LVRN artists in an unforgettable way, and a much-needed update on Westside Boogie’s album, so with everything considered, the audience members were the real winners.
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