At the age of 15, A-Trak became a pillar of the music community when he won the DMC World DJ Championships in 1997. Twenty years later, he's giving hungry producers and DJs around the world the opportunity to shine at his first annual Goldie Awards, which will be presented by Fool's Gold/Thump/Noisey/TMWRK on Sept. 7.
"The Goldie Awards is kind of my baby now. This is a new project that I'm really excited about because it's even more close to my roots and foundation," A-Trak tells Billboard exclusively. “It's a new battle that has two categories with a DJ battle and a beat battle. I earned my reputation in battling winning the DMC DJ Competition in '97 and winning a bunch of more titles until 2000 and those couple of years. I remember how that put my name on the map. That was when DJ'ing was more underground. It was sort of a light bulb moment that brought about the Goldie Awards.”
With the competition set to take place in New York's Brooklyn Steel, competitors will battle in front of a bevy of acclaimed music-makers. For The Goldie Awards, A-Trak has enlisted the likes of Diplo, Just Blaze, DJ Craze, Destructo, Mija, and Mannie Fresh to judge the crop of contestants. "The judging panel is pretty incredible. I'm really proud of what we put together," says A-Trak. "I really wanted to put together a judging panel that reflects the whole breadth of the ground I wanna cover with Goldie. So, I'm going as much on the producer side as I am on the DJ side, old and new, hip hop and electronic, and just like trusted names, trusted figures. It's exciting, for example, to see a Just Blaze just have a battle that he did with Swizz Beatz. That tells me that it's a good time for the awareness."
In addition to his stacked panel of judges, A-Trak recruited budding Harlem sensation Dave East to serve as the host for The Goldie Awards. "Dave East is the homie. To me, Dave East really represents a really good bridge of classic and new, and that's a lot of what the Goldie Awards needs to represent," says the music savant.
In order to compete in A-Trak’s musical battle royal, fans must submit one-minute videos through Instagram for consideration. From there, six lucky producers and DJs will be flown out to New York to compete for the crown. “The way we’re gonna have contestants send in submissions is gonna be through social media to Instagram and YouTube. Definitely on Instagram with hashtags and like one-minute videos. One-minute videos is perfect for a submission for a DJ battle or a beat battle,” A-Trak says regarding the rules of submission.
Even if contestants fail to advance onto the next round, A-Trak believes that the video submissions will be impactful for their rise and development of these up-and-coming acts.
“For me, it was really important to make sure that the Goldie Awards is something that can be shared and experienced the same way that current fans of current music are sharing and experiencing," he says. "Even just getting eyeballs on some of those submissions [is huge.] If someone is thinking about submitting a video and they search the hashtags and they see 30 other videos of other DJs that are putting up their submissions, that’s probably going to light a fire under their ass and think, ‘Oh s--t. I can be this. Let me send my video in.’ For that interactive experience to exist, I think that’s really important."
For fans interested in attending The Goldie Awards, tickets officially go on-sale this Friday. Check out the trailer below.