Puffy Did It
DJ Puffy is The Red Bull Thre3Style World DJ Champion. On Saturday night, the 25-year old deejay beat out Australia’s Beast Mode, Japan’s You-Ki, the United Kingdom’s JFB and Canada’s Trapment to claim top spot. It was historic – the first wildcard, the first competitor from the Caribbean, the first competitor from Barbados.
Coming in at 4th position, Andre stuck to the old adage: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite different song selections, it was just like Wednesday night: a culturally diverse mix and frenetic performance, now with cleaner and tighter transitions. There was no room for error. Where the more technically sound competitors relied heavily on their skills to impress the judges, they left the crowd lukewarm – high at some points, cold at most. Puffy again focused on keeping them amped for the full 15-minutes. Albeit it being harder to connect with them on the bigger stage, unlike the intimate venue of the preliminary round, Puffy’s focus on picking up crowd response when a song or blend might not have done the job, won the whole of Santiago over – and the judges in the process. Jazzy Jeff couldn’t keep still.
When he scratched Dawn Penn’s “No, No, No” into Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, I heard that’s when the official trophy engraver got up and started to inscribe his name on the award. But I could be wrong.
In hindsight, Puffy wasn’t supposed to be there. In its seventh year as a global event, this is the first time that Red Bull Thre3Style have ever extended invitations to those outside of Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Americas. Countries who don’t host their own Thre3Style competitions. Countries brimming with the always-overlooked talent. Countries like ours. The same old story.
But yet, as one of the wildcards selected via online submission, he rose head and shoulders above those from where small talent aspire to “make it”. He did so without heavily relying on their standard, on their music, but by doing it his way – no overreliance on tricks, just pure vibes and energy, and shining the light on local and regional music those there may not be familiar with, and which Caribbean viewers who couldn’t make the flight to Chile could connect to. The dub of Rupee’s “Tempted to Touch” was a highlight.
Regardless of how you feel about Puffy, the journey and success is inspiring. He had a dream and chased it. Worked even harder and chased it. Shook off a failed bid to participate in The Groove Cruise Miami DJ Contest, and decided to enter another competition without completely giving up and sticking to what he already knows. He broke himself out of a cushy radio position, one many would give their left arm for, because he knew he could achieve more. Now, look. “Barbados got nuff talent” has personified itself into another world championship. “Barbadian’s don’t support their own” has again been crushed, as the rallying of young and old behind this young man has been nothing short of overwhelming.
But the buck doesn’t stop here. It’s now on to you. What we saw on Saturday night was an outside opportunity grasped tightly with both hands, thanks to years of toil and drudgery. And it’s not that hard to replicate. Keep working. Accept the Good, the Bad, and the Unfair, as a learning experience and keep striving. Never settle. Always seek to better yourself, and your craft. It doesn’t matter if you create like Puffy (musician, songwriter, deejay etc.) or just work a regular job, or both, keep drudging, keep learning, and never stop sprinting behind your dreams at Usain Bolt-speed.
Puffy did it. You can do it, too.
[Image via redbullthre3style]
Carlos Brathwaite is the Founder & Editor of 246Mixtapes. Follow him on Twitter.
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