Coming hot on the
heels of Fort Lauderdale's last successful battle, Grind Time's Broward
Beatdown, is Street Wars 5, a Miami-based competition sponsored by
the good folks at Vice City Cypher and hosted by longtime MC and battle
It takes place Saturday, May 22 at the Jamyard, Fort Lauderdale's
pay-to-paint graffiti warehouse (3525 NW 10th Ave). The big names
slated to appear are South Florida favorites LMS, Protoman and Wrekonize, but there will be
loads of talented locals on the scene for eight-plus one-on-one battles (all for cash prizes) scheduled for
It's 2010, and between BET, MTV, YouTube and as much as it pains me to reference 8 Mile, everybody's seen an emcee battle or two at this point. In fact, popular culture is aggravatingly comfortable with battle rapping and hip-hop in general. Where once rappers were making the top of FBI watch lists and getting banned from award shows, they're now slanging Big Mac's and making impactful contributions to presidential campaigns.
The new generation of emcee battling, spearheaded by leagues like Grind Time, Fight Klub, Jump Off, Smack, and Canada's King Of The Dot, its done for battling what MMA Leagues like UFC and Pride did for the world of professional fighting when boxing was at an all time low in popularity.
Traditionally a battle consists of an open registration format where spontaneously matched MCs freestyle it out over randomly selected instrumentals, but we now see a much different scenario where competitors know who they're battling weeks, if not months, ahead of time and plan for their opponents with calculated efficiency. Virtually all the material is pre-written and opponents commonly do rigorous research on each other, checking MySpace and Facebook profiles, phoning acquaintances, and reviewing videos of past battles in attempt to dig up serious personal ammo.
They then face off in streetfight-like fashion, in the middle of a
crowded circle, for three timed rounds (with potential OTs) of screamed a
cappella assault. Don't be surprised to hear vividly detailed death
threats, hyper-prejudiced name-calling, personal jabs at each other's
musical output, and grandiose claims of sexual relations with the
opponents mother and/or girlfriend. Its all in good fun... usually. To
hedge the amount of post-battle debate and politics, "crowd judging" has
been replaced by pre-selecting "qualified" judges to tally up rounds
and pick a winner at the end of each match. Is it outstandingly
ignorant? Yes. Does it encourage violence? Sometimes. Is it drastically
setting back race relations in the US and abroad? Possibly. Is it
highly freaking entertaining? Absolutely!
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Unlike regular hip-hop events, things start early so make sure to check here for more information on performance times and
scheduled matches. Here's a taste:
-- Jasper Delaini