But there was dissing nonetheless.
Days before the February 23 showdown at Skybox, one of the contestants, a house cat named DJ Soap, posted a song on his MySpace page called "Bring It, Bitches." Using a sample from the Diddy song "Tell Me," he called out his four competitors by name.
On the track, Christina Aguilera sings There's something about [Soap inserts DJ name]/Really got me feeling [a voice shouts, He is!]/Weak. The sample ends with Soap-via-Christina threatening to take fellow finalist DJ Sku back to his/her room.
It was cleverly done, but because the song was about getting it on rather than kicking ass, it almost sounded like Soap wanted to get laid. Still, last Friday night the other DJs answered.
After a drawing to determine the order, Sku got behind the decks and began firing out house beats alongside a Trick Daddy record.
"I like watching this dude, and more than that, I like how he's burning through records," judge Andy Griffith observed after Sku had cut through about a pound of vinyl.
Indeed, the renowned local turntablist's skills could roll back Third World debt, but after 20 or so minutes, he slowed the pace by throwing on some snap-crunk beats. "This set should crescendo throughout, not just be a medley," remarked judge Irving Berlin.
Sku ended his set by playing a record that slagged everyone in the house with boastful O.G. talk, but it was clearly aimed at Soap.
DJ Shad (pronounced shod) opened his set by throwing a real bar of soap at you know who. For his first nine minutes, the resident at Club Kandi spun nothing but hip-hop. The crowd ate it up, yelling Go! Go! when Shad mixed in a hyphy hit by E-40. The judges Irving especially were becoming vexed. Hip-hop has its place, but it's not Ultra Music music.
In the nick of time, Shad converted the flow to ghetto house with a hard and nasty track that chanted, Ass, titties/Ass and titties. This morphed into Daft Punk, then the old-school disco hit "Ring My Bell," then moved seamlessly into a sample of the Muppet Show theme song. Judge Jim Henson downed three shots, jumped onto a bench, and began "mouthing" the song's words with his right hand.
Next up was Soap, and though he delivered a solid house set, he chose to play his smack track again, as if straight from MySpace, and also spun two records that had been used by previous DJs: "Shake & Pop" and "Ho's in the House." Spin Cycle columnist Chris Milbourn, judge and main consultant in selecting finalists, pointed out that, at a battle, you do not play records that have already been used. "No shit, Sherlock," echoed judge Watson.
Spinstyles got up fourth and spun a set that was massive, cool and crowd-pleasing. His response to Soap was the most artful, too. Chopping together the Diddy song and the voice of a gangsta critiquing it, Spin made the point that Soap's song was not the toughest track for a dis "faggot shit" was the term employed, I think. The rest of Spinstyles' set was seductive and original wall-to-wall bangers that let up only for a sing-along to the Outfield, which pleased judge Night Ranger immensely.
The final contestant, J Fortune, had the disadvantage of being a drum-'n'-bass specialist spinning in a more mainstream setting. Still, he delivered a blistering performance.
Meanwhile, I gathered votes, and it was looking like a close race between Shad and Spinstyles. When the smoke cleared, Spinstyles came out on top.
Overall, it was the best and most competitive DJ spinoff we've had so far. There was even a villain in the storyline. Next year, maybe the villain will win.
"Good guys ... meh," sneered judge Chairman Mao.