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Red Bull Culture Clash is a spectacular coming together of NYC diversity


New York City has always been referred to as a melting pot of cultures and communities from all over the world—a beacon for anyone, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality, to come with dreams of building a new life. This diversity makes NYC a perfect place for Red Bull’s Culture Clash which this year, also worked as a kick-off event for the PRIDE month.

Every year, Red Bull’s Culture Clash travels the world bringing the spirit of Jamaican Sound System (aka Sound Clash) culture by showcasing head-to-head performances from four crews, each celebrating the city’s historically lively parades. This year’s Culture Clash featured Papi Juice (representing the Pride March), Remezcla (representing the National Puerto Rican Day Parade), Eastern Standard Times (representing the Lunar New Year Parade), and No Long Talk (representing the West Indian Day Parade).

Red Bull Culture Clash gives New Yorkers the opportunity to openly display love and pride for the city’s different cultural music scenes on one of the biggest stages in the world.” 

~ No Long Talk Crew

On June 1st, at Greenpoint’s Open-Air Terminal Market, with the NYC skyline and East River as the perfect backdrop, Red Bull’s Culture Clash set up four competing stages. Upon arrival, attendees navigated the long driveway, passing stacked, decorated shipping containers until the East River and skyline were revealed, shimmering in the beautiful 80-degree weather. The anticipation attendees felt during entry was met with excitement and pride for their cultures being a part of this day.

The Open-Air Market featured vendors like The West Indian Carnival Association, NYC Pride, BreadxButta, Everything Oxtail, Forsyth Fire, and Boba Guys. BreadxButta, for example, showed their love for Puerto Rico by setting up an immersive photo op where you could hear sounds recorded from the island. As attendees continued through the vendors (sipping newly acquired Red Bulls), there were opportunities to try foods from different cultures and an option to relax at communal picnic tables before the event.

As you entered the battle area, four stages were set up in each corner of the venue, all facing into the DJ and crowd-decibel sound reader. Each stage was decorated almost like a parade float, with intricate details and storylines representing their respective cultures. The Papi Juice Crew, representing PRIDE, had their stage sparkling in silver and pink, wrapped with pink and white airbrushed illustrations of their crew members. Remezcla displayed Puerto Rican cultural staples on their stage, such as life-sized dominos, a card table, a car wrapped in the Puerto Rican flag, and a Piragua cart with the word “Nuyorico” painted across it.

No Long Talk’s stage combined West Indian and NYC culture by displaying street signs reading Eastern Parkway and Utica Ave. Their mega speaker system was built into a yellow truck cab, with a backdrop of illustrated people waving flags as if they were in the parade. Lastly, Eastern Standard Times decorated their stage to celebrate the Year of The Dragon, with traditional symbology and designs celebrating the Asian diaspora.

Before the competition started, attendees celebrated and danced together to music by The Large, a British DJ based in New York known for her unique blend of up-to-the-time soundsystem heaters featuring club music from around the world. Performing crew members could be seen handing out blow horns, cowbells, fans, flags, and other noisemakers. Initially confused but excited, attendees soon realized why these would come in handy.

As the competition started, the hosts Mel Ottenberg, creative director and editor-in-chief of Interview Magazine, and Devin Halbal, a TikTok influencer known for her off-the-cuff phrases like “Met Gala Behavior,” introduced each crew and laid out the rules:

There would be four rounds, with each team having 8 minutes to win over the crowd. Each round’s winner would be decided by crowd cheer and a sound decibel system. This system encouraged attendees to stay in front of the stage they were supporting and make as much noise as possible during voting at the end of each round.

Round 1: Temperature’s Rising

Papi Juice Crew (featuring Papi Juice, Raul Lopez of Luar, Mazurbate, Bronze Goddess, Byrell The Great, Kimberly Drew, and West Dakota), kicked off this round with a high-energy lip sync performance with dancers on stage. Above the stage, their crew held signs saying “Protect Trans Kids,” “Pride Was A Riot,” and “For Marsha.” Their high-energy performance set the tone for what was to come.

Remezcla (featuring J.I The Prince of N.Y, Nina Sky, Tony Touch, DJ Bembona, and Christian Martir with Capicu!), followed with a group playing cards as a DJ played traditional Puerto Rican songs, accompanied by spirited Conga percussionists. They called for the community to come together and celebrate Nuyorican culture, representing the cultural and intellectual movement involving poets, writers, musicians, and artists of Puerto Rican or Latin descent who live in or near New York City.

No Long Talk (featuring DJ Puffy, SilentMatic, DJ Madout, Disco Neil, Jus Jay King, Kevin Crown, Major Penny, Rheezus, Shacia Payne, and Travis World), jumped straight in with classic calypso, soca, reggae, and dancehall hits while dancers waved flags from different Caribbean islands. Kevin Crown spoke to the deep roots of Caribbean culture in NYC, with specific reference to Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.

Eastern Standard Times (featuring P-Lo, Bohan Phoenix, Sunkis, 12 Pell, Ted Park, Inspecta Jones, Deb Kim, Sangarang, and Slayrizz), started with a high-energy set featuring an Asian spin on hip-hop while dragons danced across the stage. They brought out Jay Park, a current hitmaker in the Asian rap scene, to excite the crowd. After introducing their crew, they took a moment to thank the crowd for coming and noted the hardships faced by the Asian communities in recent years. They ended with a message of unity and celebration of the Asian diaspora.

No points were given as Round 1 was a warm-up. However, the crowd made the most noise for No Long Talk, hitting over 100 on the decibel reader.

Round Two: Parade 

Remezcla started the second round by celebrating the Puerto Rican Day Parade with high-energy dancers decked out in Puerto Rican flags and clothing. They continued by creating a nostalgic soundtrack for their parade with musical guests like Nina Sky, Lumidee, and Judy Santos.

No Long Talk showed love and homage to Trinidad, the originators of the Caribbean Carnival. Masqueraders dressed in carnival costumes danced across the stage, amping up the crowd while some of the biggest Soca hits played.

Easter Standard Time transported the audience to the Lunar New Year Parade with dragons dancing across the stage. Slay Rizz, dressed in a gold outfit emulating a dragon, strutted down the stage, giving the audience the performance they came for.

Papi Juice Crew continued to show their love for Pride by highlighting some of the biggest black female artists in the industry. They celebrated their queerness by reminding the crowd that “Everyone’s a little gay”.

While all the crews put on a stellar performance, the point for this round went to Papi Juice Crew!

Round 3: New York, New York

For this round, the groups had to remix the song “New York Groove” by Hello into their performance.

No Long Talk remixed the song into a traditional reggae mix. The crowd was encouraged to wave their flags and show love for New York City. Eastern Standard Times continued their hip-hop celebration, mixing the song with tracks from their crew and cultures. Papi Juice brought a ballroom performance with voguing, and they brought out rapper Precious who paid homage to the birth of Hip-Hop, turning up the heat and energy on stage. Remezcla put a reggaeton twist on the song, performed by J.I The Prince of New York, ending with signs promoting, a site with a petition for the freedom of expression and autonomy for the Puerto Rican people.

This round’s point went to No Long Talk, tying them with Papi Juice.

Round 4: Special Guest

Eastern Standard Times expressed their appreciation to the black community for creating hip-hop and invited Philadelphia-based artist Pink Sweat$, who amped up the crowd with call-and-repeat lyrics before performing some of his top hits.

Papi Juice brought out Ms. Boogie, who rapped over a classic New York drill beat, filling the air with a feeling of queer liberation and celebration.

Remezcla brought out legends Laura Styles, DJ Tony Touch, J.I The Prince,  and Jim Jones. During the performances, folkloric characters integral to Puerto Rican culture and festivals were on stage dancing and exciting the crowd. 

No Long Talk wowed the crowd by bringing out YG Marley and Wyclef Jean. Just when the crowd thought it couldn’t get any better, Wyclef Jean played exclusive dubplates of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. The set ended with a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “Not Like Us,” calling out all the opposing crews.

The fourth round ended in a close call, but the double point went to No Long Talk, crowning them the winners of the Red Bull Culture Clash 2024. We asked the winners how they see this performance contributing to the recognition and celebration of West Indian culture in NYC, to which they replied:

Our crew hopes to execute a performance that shows the wider world that Caribbean music has the power to unite people from so many different places, and that it is really a source of healing for so many New Yorkers. Hopefully, the show speaks for itself, but we look forward to solidifying Caribbean culture as one of the driving forces for New York’s rich and diverse cultural palette.

“I hope people remember this event as one that showed the world that 1) the Caribbean can dominate against any culture (doe size up),” No Long Talk Crew continued, and “2) we can also dominate in a way that is celebratory and uplifting. I also hope that this event leads to a greater level of respect, recognition, and opportunities for Caribbean culture globally.”

As the sun set over the New York City skyline you could feel the immense amount of love, support, and community. You could feel the melting pot. The celebration of culture and community is something that defines New York, and this experience was incredibly special for all involved. We want to congratulate No Long Talk on this year’s win and celebrate the entire Caribbean culture for their contributions.

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