Big Beat MKE is Back for its Second Annual Year, Thanks to Breaking And Entering

Big Beat MKE is Back for its Second Annual Year, Thanks to Breaking And Entering

Genesis Renji performing at last year’s Big Beat MKE. (photo by Allen Halas)

They’re at every music show. They’re covering almost every video drop—if it’s worth it. And they’re Milwaukee’s main go to for local music coverage. Breaking And Entering has a presence in every part of the city, and within a few months they’ll be hosting their second annual Big Beat MKE starting on May 2.

Breaking And Entering was established in 2009 by Allen Halas and he’s built his brand into a well-known and respected site that’s bringing back a part of Milwaukee’s history that stopped in 2015. For 10 years, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee Producer Jordan Lee and Tyrone “DJ Bizzon” Miller hosted the nationally known the Miltown Beat Down.

The Miltown Beat Down brought the city’s producers together to compete one-on-one in three one-minute Hip-Hop beat battles. According to a 2015 article, Lee started the Miltown Beat Down to bring more attraction to his weekly set at the Wicked Hop. Originally, Lee started with a rap battle, DJ battle and production battle, but the production battle was the only one to stick.

Halas remembers attending the Miltown Beat Down and being disappointed once it was no longer around. As a former producer, Halas knew the importance of having such a platform, so he decided to revamp the idea, run it through his media company and rename it Big Beat MKE.

“We made it our own thing,” said Halas.

According to Miller, him and Lee felt they reached their goal of connecting the music scene in a bigger way. He says the music scene is a lot better than what is was back in 2005 when they first started the Miltown Beat Down.

Plus, they’ve gotten older and they’re focuses have changed. Miller is more focused on DJing and teaching, while Lee continues to work at 88Nine, has four children and a wife to take care of, which is why Miller’s excited to see new concepts of the Miltown Beat Down, such as Big Beat MKE and the Cream City Beat Battle—ran by last year’s Big Beat MKE winner Main.Key.

“Jordan and I truly appreciate the love Milwaukee showed to us for the event over the years and we had a great time putting it together,” said Miller.

Last year’s bracket. 

For Big Beat MKE, sixteen producers will be selected to battle it out every Thursday at the Jackalope Lounj, adjacent to The Wicked Hop (345 N. Broadway)—the same venue of the Miltown Beat Down.

Submissions are being accepted until April 5. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of local music influencers, and a final bracket will be drawn at random from the 16 selected producers to be revealed on April 15.

According to their site, “Two producers will go head to head for three one minute rounds, alternating beats for the judges and the crowd to hear. If the crowd demands it, one optional overtime round will be contested. Judges will pick the winner based on style, overall sound quality, and crowd reaction.”

“[Big Beat MKE] gives people an opportunity to see somebody new,” said Halas. “It’s a competition but it’s also a concert.”

He continued: “I want people to discover something new when they’re at my events.”

Each battle will feature special guest judges. Two of last year’s judges were Hip-Hop artists Yogie B & Keez, who went to one of the battles and were then asked by Halas to come back to judge a later battle.

“It’s fucking righteous,” Keez said about Big Beat MKE. “It’s a stellar good time…people should really come for the vibes.”

According to the men, the judges sat above the crowd and it was amazing to see the crowd’s reactions during each battle. They’re both happy to see and support individuals who are giving a platform to Milwaukee’s music.

“It’s going to be a good ass time,” Yogie B said about this year’s Big Beat Battle. “The talent in Milwaukee is endless.”

And just like the first Big Beat MKE, this year’s event will feature live performances from local Hip-Hop and rap artists including rapper Nile.

Nile remembers hearing about Big Beat MKE a couple of years back but was too busy to attend any of the battles. Although he never went, he heard many good things about the event such as the networking aspect. Eventually he met with the Breaking And Entering team and now he’ll be performing on May 9.

“I was really interested and invested in their motives for change [and] the chance to give opportunities to the city, so I wanted to help [out in] every way I could,” said Nile and he added that’s he’s expecting to have a great time.

Last year’s event received around 30 submissions.

Looking back 10 years, Halas had no idea the role he would play in Milwaukee’s music scene. Breaking And Entering started as a podcast then it was a show on Marquette Radio for two semesters, and then he kept the site going once he graduated.

It didn’t become a daily music site until 2014.

And the name stems from an old friend who jokingly said Halas’s site had to be called “breaking and entering,” since he used her dorm for the show. What first started out as something funny turned into a Milwaukee household name.

Big Beat MKE is one of the most proud things Halas has put together through Breaking And Entering.

“Come and see what we’re doing because I know it’s extremely unique,” said Halas. “Live and experience something you can’t recreate online.”

Big Beat MKE is free and welcome to anyone 21 and up.

Big Beat MKE is accepting sponsors until April 12. Last year’s sponsors included Nice FM, Isharai Artist Management, 414 Milwaukee and more. For sponsorship inquiries, email Allen Halas at with "Big Beat MKE" in the subject line.

To be considered for Big Beat MKE you must enter two original beats. All submissions are due by midnight on Friday, April 5. This year’s bracket will be revealed on April 15.

To enter, fill out the form at the link.

2019 Big Beat MKE Schedule:

Opening Round:  May 2, 9, 16 and 23

Quarterfinals: May 30 and June 6

Semifinals: June 13

Finals: June 20

Performer Lineup:

May 2: Yogie B & Keez and Spaidez
May 9: Phat Nerdz and Nile
May 16: Sha and King Myles
May 23: G-Gifted and Joshua Jenkins
May 30: Dozzi B Marz and Rich P.
June 6: Camb and awillthagreat
June 13: Cmoneywave and J-Lamo
June 20: A.C. the RulerTwan Mack and Shle Berry

Jordan Lee couldn’t be reached in time for the article’s release.

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