lilD: Battle Rap weakens Hip-Hop cultureWritten by lilD | | firstname.lastname@example.org
America gives African-Americans 28 days to reflect on their history. While it’s sad that some people only choose to research their heritage during Black History Month, what truly saddens me is one of the cultures founded by African-Americans is displaying such an incredible amount of backsliding.
I must share my experience with you.
On Sunday, Feb. 13, I was one of five judges at a rap battle. We were told that the two rappers each had three rounds to rap. The other judges were under the impression that the battle was to be won by the rapper who won the majority of the rounds. Since no one gave us any rules or guidelines, that thought process made the most sense.
The crowd favorite lost. The majority of the judges felt he lost the first two rounds by just a few punchlines, and won the last round because the other rapper choked. He was very classy and respectful about the situation and took his loss like a man. But others in the building weren’t so mature.
The panel of judges consisted of radio personalities and DJs. That means if we’re on the Internet, we’re probably working on our websites, networking with others in our field or building up our social networks.
We’re not spending countless hours watching battle rap competitions. Battle rapping is considered underground, and as radio personalities and popular DJs, our niche is mainstream entertainment.
Since no one gave us any kind of eligibility requirements, we wouldn’t know that if a rapper chokes, he automatically loses the battle. But the jury is still out on that statement anyway.
The building went from being an outlet for a friendly competition to four walls filled with derogatory slurs, disrespectful banter and an overall display of ignorance. All of a sudden, the same judge that you consider a legend is soft and not “real.” The same radio personality you embraced is now “fake.” And the same people who just came to have a good time are afraid that they will get caught in the chaos and won’t be able to escape. Just because your favorite rapper lost? Really?
Is this the way you want Hip-Hop to be portrayed? When Toledo artists can come together and organize a charity event like Dunkin’ for Donations, or present an artist showcase like Best of the Midwest with no violence or complications, why would you risk the stellar reputation of Toledo Hip-Hop by allowing your anger to speak for you? The saddest part is that the actual rappers were calm.
That building will never host a rap battle again, I guarantee. This is not the Toledo Hip-Hop that needs to be exposed, but perhaps by taking a long look at the company you keep, you will make better decisions for your career and reputation. Because when everyone calms down, and people reflect on that night, you don’t want to be remembered as the reason Toledo Hip-Hop is failing.
But what do I know, right? I’m just lilD, the girl with the smart mouth. You believe that because your self-esteem isn’t high, and it’s impossible to be “real” with someone who hasn’t been “real” with him/herself.
Frederick Douglass spoke in Toledo in 1864 in front of a packed crowd. Sojourner Truth was in the audience, and Douglass brought her on stage to speak as well.
After what just happened in Toledo, they’re probably rolling over in their graves.
E-mail lilD at email@example.com.