Red BULL EMSEE BATTLE PHILADELPHIA (2011)
AUGUST 25, 2011
I don’t know what it is about Philadelphia and these events, but somehow the entrance procedure never goes smoothly. On this particular night, there were heavy storms, and although doors at the TLA were to open at 9pm, stafff waited until 10pm to let people in, after being drenched in the rain for at least 20 minutes.
Once I walked in, everything seemed to be going smoothly. I grabbed a $6 whiskey and Ginger only to be told two minutes later that I could not bring it on the main floor 😦 . Turns out, the event was 18+ and that was their way of controlling underage drinking, but it sure did kill the hell out of my buzz.
DJ Greg Nitty (the former 100.3 DJ) was getting the crowd ready for the event, playing a range of classic and modern hip-hop tracks. He even played a couple tracks from 50 cent’s first album; including Wanksta, and Many Men. He finished his set with recent tracks including Nicki Minaj’s, Did it on em and JayZ and Kanye’s track, Otis.
For the most part, everyone seemed to be enjoying the music; especially this hype group of guys yelling “We want Ness” over half of the tracks played. This did not go over well with many other people in the crowd whose friends were also participating in the battle.
Bun B steps on the stage, looking shorter than I pictured him, with a disclaimer. …although this is being taped for television, he has not actually prepared himself, and that he may have a couple “fuck-ups” during the show in which they will go back and record the same introductions again.
First on the stage was Mic Stew vs. Uno Lavos. This first round of battles consisted of a series of pictures that would be shown on the screen for about 10 seconds which the emcee would have to remember and recite in his 60 second freestyle directly after, all the while battling his opponent.
Uno Lavos went first, forgetting all of the pictures, and not actually using all of the 60 seconds alotted to him. This made him an easy target for Red Bull Emsee Veteran, Mic Stew, who basically devoured Lavos within the first 20 seconds.
The winner in that first battle was so apparent, that guest judge and Philadelphia native, Schoolly D, replied “Uno Lavos, you should just go home!”. What a burn…. SMH
That set the tone for the battles next to come.
After the next couple battles (which weren’t that interesting) came the Finess vs. Voss battle. Again, Finess’ crew began chanting “We want Ness”, to which looked as if it may be a win for Finess despite the battle actually happening.
A coin was flipped and Voss went first. To the surprise of many, despite his rhythmic disability, his lyrical content was actually pretty good. He even won the crowd over dissing ‘Ness and his “dick-riding crew” (Said verbatum by Voss).
When it came time for ‘Ness to perform, he went back at Voss. Although his lyrical ability was a great match, and his rythmic ability was better than Voss, the rest of the crowd was so hyped over Voss’ disrespect of ‘Ness crew, that it was hard for ‘Ness to recover and the judges ruled in Voss’ favor. Goes to show you, your crew can definitely get you in trouble!
The first round of battles ended with a performance by guest judge, Joel Ortiz. During his performance Joel Ortiz shot fire against the record industry claiming ” I speak real hip-hop, I don’t speak industry.” Another rapper claiming to be the “best rapper in the game.” I am never surprised by these things.
After the performance, Bun B came back on the stage to two groups in the audience quarreling over a battle. Apparently a ‘Ness fan shouted “I can’t believe this shit. Those greasy lookin muthafucka’s…”. To which a Voss fan replies “You just mad ’cause ya man loss. Ness sucks!”. Then the ‘Ness fan attempts to come across the edge of the stage to “fuck him up”, to which Bun B replies ” They’re just words! This is hip-hop. If you trying to fight over a battle, that’s a pussy move.”
Then Bun B introduces the second round of contestants. In this round, there are words posted on the board (not pictures). Each emcee is required to use all the words on the board, which the judges will be checking off to see who uses all the words on the board and who uses those words the best.
The best battle of the second round has to be the DNA vs. Voss battle. After the flip of a coin Voss’ goes first and fires shots against DNA’s chipped tooth. Unfortunately, someone else had also done so in round one, so the crowd was looking for something new. DNA’s next move was certified genius. Not only did he use all of the words on the board in less than his first 30 seconds, but he also reused the words on the boards rapping backwards the initial freestyle he referenced in the first 30 seconds of the battle in the last 30 seconds. This solidified him a spot in the final round.
When judging the battle, Schoolly D says “A girl sent me a note saying she’ll give me head after the show if I voted for Voss’ but I can’t be bought that cheap. So I’m going to go with DNA, although if that girl included her mama, Voss’ might have had a chance!”
Wow Schoolly D!!! How many ridiculous sexist shots does a woman have to hear in hip-hop before it becomes not only disrespectful, but cliche?
After the second round of battles, Schoolly D performed tracks from his last album. Many people heralded Schoolly D as the “first gangsta rapper.”
During his performance, a fan reached out to dap Schoolly D. Unfortunately, Schoolly D didn’t see the fan and tripped over the fan’s arm… LMAO!!! To which Schoolly D replied “Y’all lucky I don’t get high anymore ’cause I would have bust my ass and it would’ve been all over youtube.” That was SO TRUE! But Schoolly D was a good sport for continuing his performance which attributes to his reputation as a great emcee!
Next was the final round of the 2011 Philadelphia Red Bull Emsee Battle. The winner is to go on to Atlanta to compete and perform for the title in front of Eminem. I know the crowd was antsy as both emcees Mic Stew and DNA, had already proven to be worthy of the title. This round had no rules except to conquer your opponent with witty lyrics off the top of their head.
Round one of the final battle began with Mic Stew, criticizing DNA’s worthiness of the Philadelphia title considering he’s from New York, to which the crowd seemed to have agreed. Next he began to freestyle about himself, the crowd, and whatever came to his brain. Next up was DNA who surprisingly struggled to find things to rap about during the first half of his freestlye, to which toward the end, he began to rap about Mic Stew’s Jewish ancestry, which I think was a poor judgment call on his part.
Round two of the final battle began again with Mic Stew making references to DNA’s tight skinny jeans which served as a double entendre considering the reference he made about his skinny jeans to gay genes and his name DNA, which according to Mic should’ve been TNA (tits and ass for those not familiar with the acronym). Unfortunately towards the end of his set, Mic Stew became distracted by one person booing in the top section of the venue, which later we find was last years winner, Philly Swain.
Apparently, Swain must’ve felt bitter towards Mic since they battled against each other last year to which many believe Mic was robbed of the title. This distraction served as a 2 second screw up to which Mic quickly recovered to finish out the last of his round.
DNA’s second freestyle in the second battle was flawless. A little too flawless to which many believe he began to reference writtens. Some of his lines referenced cliche hip-hop themes; the block, snitches, drugs, and killing, to which the audience wasn’t impressed. He summed it up by trying to use metaphors of Philly rappers compared to Mic Stew but it didn’t go over how he planned.
When it came to the judges, the verdict was, that the battle was extremely close. They believed that Mic Stew won the first round due to DNA’s screw up and that perhaps DNA won the second round because of Mic’s screw up.
Despite the closeness of the battle, all judges claimed Mic Stew the victor of the 2011 Philadelphia Red Bull Emsee Battle, to which the crowd agreed!
The last and most highly anticipated performance of the night was Redman. Let me just say, that man is a HELLUVA entertainer. He even included a short “Fuck you Redman” chant! He took Philadelphia on a hip-hop 90’s to 2011 journey that the crowd went hype over. And NOT to my surprise, he brought on stage Philadelphia’s own, Freeway to perform.
In the middle of Freeway’s performance, he calls into the crowd for Peedi Crakk. Unfortunately Peedi is no where to be found as the crowd waits for a response for about three minutes. As the overall theme of the night “the show must go on”, Freeway continued his set without his partner.
Til next time Philly,
Heineken green room presents:WALE @ TLA
August 11, 2011
Let me begin by saying, I am a fan of Wale as a person. As an artist, I’m still on the fence. So can someone tell me why they think it’s ok to have me wait in a line 4 blocks away from the venue in an alley way to see him? That was just so tacky!
According to others in that line, the businesses on South street had a problem with the TLA’s customers waiting in line taking up room on South st. Are these people serious? In case they haven’t noticed, South st is dead. The only time people come up there is to drink, otherwise it’s no point, and I know the bars didn’t have a problem with the massive crowd.
So with all due respect, no Dr.Denim, no Barefeet, no NET I will not be waiting in any line away from South st. I am not taking away from your deminishing businesses. Therefore I decided to wait in front of the door, to which I ended up being one of the first 20 in the door compared to being in the first 300 had I actually waited in line.
So once I was through the door, a couple heinekens later, I was in my zone. Sitting at a table with a couple of cute friends by the bar was the best decision I could have ever made. I had a bird’s eye view of all the fine men in the building, or at least one in particular. We actually had a moment… It was hot. Unfortunately, I would never pursue him in real life because he’s not my type mentally [sigh].
After another two hours and interchangeable spells of drunkeness, Wale came on stage. I didn’t recognize him at first because he had on these ski glasses and a head full of locks. Is it me or did they just grow over night? Weave maybe? I don’t know.
I did not recognize the first two songs of his set (sorry not yet a fan), but like the typical Philly girl I am, I was hype to see young Chris perform No Better Love. Although discussions at this bar later seemed not to share my satisfaction. It seems that people are getting tired of Philly shows being oversaturated with ex-State Property members. Who knew?
Of course people loved that he performed Pretty Girls, which quickly transitioned to Philly Girls. 🙂 I’m going to argue that song was the highlight of the show.
Unfortunately, most of his TRUE fans were upset that most of his mixtape releases were left out of the performance. Seems that people don’t like commercialism (doesn’t matter who does it). *Note to record labels, promotional brands, etc.
Overall, when a couple of beers are involved, I had a blast. These Heineken Green Room events aren’t so bad, but then again, they’re FREE. So no one can complain.
The BOUNCE @ THE BARBARY (August 5, 2011)
Damn. Damn. Damn. Why did I have to leave that party early? I was living my whole life; So much that my growing afro did not deter me from dancing.
Usually I hate the Barbary. It’s hipster central with the addition of coke heads, smoke machines, and drunk body throwing. Not exactly my type of scene; however, this night all of those things meant very little to me.
Maybe it was because I was already feeling peaceful off of the many drinks Tyf was serving at the Latest Dish hours before (you need a happy hour before such a party) or maybe it was because Bo Bliz knows some serious body rocking combinations, but I’m gonna argue that this party was the best and will remain the best unintentional/intentional MAD DECENT pre-party ever to occur… EVER!!!!
The dance floor/bar was comfortably packed. I did have to throw a couple shoves out there to get to the stage, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once I got on stage, there was plenty of room to move around in which is great considering that myself, Suga Shay, Cristal B. EZ, Spikey, and Arielle are some hyped up black girls who utilize space to it’s maximum capacity.
I found out that my BFF Suga Shay must’ve got paid earlier because she was definitely trying to buy up the bar, and just when I was about to put my bid in, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was like a father tap too; you know the one’s that are accompanied by a stern stare.
“Ari just got hurt in the back and we have to leave now.” As depression kicked in, that’s when I realized how much I actually enjoyed myself. Turns out, some jerk got into a body throwing contest with his boys and Ari became the landing cushion. It was her first time at the Barbary. 😦 She definitely wasn’t prepared for the mayhem! Coke heads and gangsta music only breeds uncontrollable aggression. Lesson learned. Better luck next time.
Til Next time,
Body Rock (July 28, 2011)
This event was extra sweet for me because it was also the night we surprised my ST member, Bonesy, with a surprise birthday shindig that was just awesome!
Getting back to the event itself, let me begin by saying that BodyRock was extremely hot (figuratively and literally speaking). I felt like an extra in the thong song video. But the lack of air conditioning was made up for by the ill music and the fine men.
Yes, some of the men in there were natural African Adonis’, and although I would have loved to partake in the mingling of it all, I had to focus on surprising my friend.
After downing a couple drinks we made our way to the front of the dance floor, where the DJs on stage were just as interchangable as the records spinning. I don’t know the order in which they played, but I will say that each transition was flawless. Nothing less to be expected from the illvibe crew.
My girlfriends and I were enjoying the music and each others company until the same creeper who stalked us last year continued his ventures this year. What are the chances? ….
We then decided to go outside to find other people outside gasping for air after stepping out of the hells lair that was Kung Fu Neck Tie that evening. The air problem was rather unfortunate considering that normally Kung Fu Necktie is one of the most underrated places to go to in this city.
The service is very engaging which is uncommon for the normal hipster infused or wanna-be bourgeoisie-esque Northern Liberties service in the area. The size and format can compliment both small and large crowds and the owner is rather chill. I was actually excited to find out that they’ll be adding a kitchen soon.
This spot has the potential to be my one of my favorites, if the food is good 🙂 .
Til Next time,
MMJB (The Jam House) Week 1 ( July 19,2011)
Surprisingly, A total success! All of the acts were good except for one and I am too classy to single this person out… (Sike, I just forget their name).
Anyway Selina was amazing! I love her hip-hop tributes, which is always a crowd grabber, but differently from what I’ve seen at the Blockley, that stage presence was super sexy… idk, Selina must’ve been dippin’ in the SWAG pool. (LOL… swag… i hate that word). And most importantly, she did the water song! Which I believe is actually called “Goin’ Down”, but I’m gonna stick with the H2O song.
Young Gliss’ performance was good too. I was surprised at the lyrical content considering I knew him for a while and I didn’t think he had it in him. It was also the first time I’ve ever seen him perform, and I was pleased. He also did an acapella freestyle at the end that I think was dope, but I couldn’t really pay attention with Dice being high and saying random shit on the stage… Can you say Diddy?! And they kept shouting out “Raw Life”. Dice has a label… Who knew?
Unfortunately, I have to skip a couple artists because I was going back and forth between Dobbs and Superdope, and… I didn’t want to be stuck in a Zander Zone. [zander zone def. a space that is occupied by more than one ex-boyfriend/current boyfriend at the same time].
When I came back to Dobbs, the band, Dragon King, was performing. The lead singer reminded me of the male version of Janis Joplin. They also had this song about people doing coke at the Barbary, a definite hit. I think that I will definitely go see one of their shows after that. The band was awesome too, with a very eclectic range of songs; kinda wish I would’ve stayed long enough to purchase something.
So all in all, had a great night! Next week, Tu Phace, Patty Crash, and The Rebel Yell will be performing. I’m excited for that show. Tu Phace is always cool, so I’ll enjoy his set I’m sure. Depending on whether or not I work I may/may not participate in the war paint. But anyway, I’m probably most anticipating Patty Crash’s set! I love her voice! Hope she performs that song, So Immature, because that’s my jam. Until next week,
The Philadelphia Fusion Festival 2011 Rundown (July 16, 2011)
Unfortunately, I got there 10 minutes into Estelle’s performance 😦 . I did get to see her perform “American Boy”. Overall, she sounds exactly like her records live, so kudos to having real talent; unfortunately, not hype enough for me. I will admit, she did try to spice it up by doing a Mary J Blige cover. Being as though I am Mary J. Blige’s #1 fan and (undercover best friend…lol), it wasn’t the same. I could’ve done without it.
Then there were two Ballywood dancers performing during intermission. Ballywood X Nicki Minaj, not a good look ma! That’s like river dancing to Uncle Luke. I will admit, it was entertaining though.
There were other performances that I missed because I was distracted by some people that I wish I didn’t see doing things I wish they weren’t doing (ST insider), but I didn’t let it completely dampen my mood.
Besides when Shurwayne Wincheter came out, it was Carnival in Philly. Is it me or are West Indian men just amazing creatures? I love the way they speak, walk, love me…lol. But in all seriousness, this man was winding better than Ciara. Yes, I said it!
Philadelphia loves them some Meek Mills! Nothing but high school girl pandemonium at the stage when he came on. Most of the teenage boys were filming the performance with their cell phones from their seats.
OMG, I almost forgot…. There was a weird rump shaker contest going on, after I came back from a quick Starbucks slip away. I was mortified! There was more cellulite and gray hairs than I ever wanted to see on the stage. Normally, these things wouldn’t kill me except that it’s the GLOBAL fusion festival, which means other people are here to see Philly, and we gave them our grey-haired cellulite rump shaken ass… SMH
After that performance I slipped into VIP for some vodka, and came out with vodka, water ice, coke (the drink, not the powder) and wine! Can somebody say alchy? It seemed to me that more people were having fun in the “staduim seating” than VIP so I went back with the city folk.
Between drinking and the heat, I don’t know what came over me. My friend Joelle and I were filming random videos of us freestlying to ST’s unrealased most anticipated track “i’m a call you back!”.
To my surprise, Shurwayne Winchester was sitting in the same row as my drunk self, so of course I proceeded to engage him in conversation; to which my friend Joelle was amused. We ended up taking mad pics on his iPhone. Good times Over all.
Unfortunately, I walked out on Melanie Fiona. I wanted to avoid the stampede that was sure to occur when it was over! But I will say she was cute and her dancers were dressed amazing, but that’s all I can give you.
Til next time xoxo,