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The Bay vs. Detroit: SF’s Larry June faces Babyface Ray in Red Bull rap battle

Larry June performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Detroit on Oct. 15, 2022. | Courtesy Jake Mulka/Red Bull Content Pool

San Francisco-born and bred rapper Larry June faces off against Detroit’s Babyface Ray on Nov. 3 at the Regency Ballroom as part of Red Bull’s SoundClash music series.

SoundClash is a traveling tour where two artists challenge each other’s creative prowess in a series of themed rounds. Megastars like Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu and Ludacris have competed in previous battles. 

The first of this dual-city competition took place in Babyface Ray’s hometown of Detroit on Oct. 15, drawing 1,800 fans into the sold-out Russell Industrial Center. The second installment brings the brawl to June’s home turf. 

Attendees enjoy the show at Red Bull SoundClash in Detroit on Oct. 15, 2022. | Courtesy Jake Mulka/Red Bull Content Pool

The battle between Ray and June shows off the best of what the Motor City and the Yay Area have to offer in the arena of hip-hop. Both scenes have shared plenty of cross-pollination over the years, from Oakland-raised Too $hort’s collaborations in Detroit to Michigander MC Breed’s tenure in the Bay. Detroit rapper Payroll Giovanni’s 2018 single “Mail Long” features Oakland’s E-40, opening up with the line “from Detroit to the Bay”—a catchphrase that Red Bull borrowed for SoundClash. And both regions have produced some of the most eccentric emcees in a generation, including Danny Brown and Mac Dre.

Fans can expect to enjoy surprise appearances from the two rappers’ friends and collaborators. At the Detroit show, Ray and June were joined onstage by special guests Baby Money, Curren$y and others.

At the 18-and-over show at the Regency Ballroom, Ray and June plan to battle it out from opposite stages over four rounds. To kick things off, Ray and June will perform competing covers of the same song. In Round 2, they’ll attempt to one-up each other by remixing each other’s hits. Next, the two rappers will genre-bend a medley of their own material, bringing in sounds from country, funk and more. The final is a wildcard round where the two emcees will shoot with their entire arsenal for a chance at the title. The audience decides the winner of each round through a decibel reader, and the SoundClash champion will be announced after the SF show.

The set is also likely to include June and Ray’s brand-new collaborative single, “Extra of Um,” which can be found on June’s latest album, Spaceships on the Blade. Pitchfork called the record a “protagonist's journey told in hazy late-night drives behind the wheels of purring sports cars.”

Larry June performs at Red Bull SoundClash in Detroit on Oct. 15, 2022. | Courtesy Jake Mulka/Red Bull Content Pool

Born Larry Eugene Hendricks III, June is quickly becoming a local household name not only for his role in the growing independent rap scene but also for his lifestyle brand, Midnight Organic. In 2021, he opened Honeybear Boba in Dogpatch. This year, June partnered with Richmond organic winemaker Purity Wine to release a limited-edition bottle called Uncle Larry’s Natural Orange. And he just launched an organic live resin vape cart with cannabis company Alive & Well that landed at local dispensaries on Oct. 17. 

Raised in the Bayview until the age of 4, June split his childhood between SF and Atlanta, two cities that shaped his laid-back, breezy sound. By age 8, he was writing and performing original rap, and by 15, he had released a mixtape. June supported big names like Post Malone and Cousin Stizz in his early national tours.

Larry June vs. Babyface Ray

Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., SF
Thursday, Nov. 3, 9:30 p.m. | $30
(415) 673-5716