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Battle of the Year Hip Hop Indaba – 2005


9 September 2005 No Comment

Last week our staff writer ‘Controversy‘ headed on down to the Battle of the Year in Cape Town to cover the live performances plus the Emcee, DJ and Bboy battles. Find out how it went and also check out who won the battles…

The month of August (past and present) has always had the reputation for attracting intense energy, does Black August ring a bell? Naturally, the build-up to the Battle of The Year was probably nothing short of it, as all of us felt a change over and shift in the universe, even though tragedy hit us (freak bus accident and a ‘mini tornado’) one couldn’t shake off that ‘something was in the air’. Suspiciously, or maybe just a spate of paranoia led me to be a bit weary about the Indaba…

In a moment of lunacy I panicked, on nearing the Good Hope Centre I saw no cars, cleanly forgetting that there are currently new facilities for parking. I decided to let go of the fear and entered the premises, eased up a bit when familiar committed hip hop family faces greeted me. I succumbed to a very entertaining host – Falko (dry humor and all).With receptors open, camera ready to snap and notebook/pen I was ready to go all out and cover the story in a way that would make those who could not be there for whatever reason, have a feel to what the event was really like.

The Indaba always attracted a bigger, more vibrant crowd for the break dancing championship than the MC & DJ Battle, so high expectation was at a minimum on the first night. Sir Isaac Mutant (member of the Plain Madnizz collective) kicked off the show with quite a mean hook, so the crowd was amped up and the DJ Battle kicked off straight after.

DJ Hamma was elected as the official judge on the said night. Some turntablist on the wheels of steel was, You Looz, DJ Willy, Dragon Fly and DJ Juice. Keeping in mind that crowd participation also had a hand in decision making…there was a general feel to play safe with the tune selection, some cut in R&B laced tunes while others referred back to the Old Skool and incorporated Soul and Funk. Tension was obviously in the air, DJ Juice had technical sound problems from the get go, so he just quit and refused to prolong the agony, DJ Scratch truly impressed with tune selection, cutting and scratching while You Looz also had nice track selection and even though he did find a bit of trouble in the beginning he overcame and recaptured the crowd.(so I suggest be on the lookout for these two young guns, they are hungry and blatantly determined). DJ Willy won the competition though personally I didn’t find his set all exciting cause it sounded to familiar, maybe I’m bitching or maybe I should understand that he has his formula. He walked away with some DJ equipment from Vestax.

Other live performances that appeared between judges decisions making included Plain Madnizz (who were rumored to have split) who were not as vibrant as they use to be (the alleged split could have contributed to the performance) as they were tight, but not in the typical Madnizz form.Jamayka Postin also busted a track (his album drops 17 September at Independent Armchair theater, which will also feature Black Noise and Kallitz and many others on the bill), Jacque, who I briefly was introduced to on television was quite popular and I loved the fact that even though his song was sample laced, it was local.Ramcwa flipped in his mother tongue and after a few moments the crowd warmed up

Shaheen (P.O.C) judged the Emcee battle and the criteria was straightforward -Flow, Rhyme Structure, Content and Stage presence. VLK9, M.c Thief, Craig D, Brian (New York), Surprise, Psychotic, Beacon, Duane, Linden-Azanian bboys were a few of the entrants for the Emcee meltdown. In the end they were narrowed to four and put in one on one conceptual elimination battles.

Psychotic vs. Surprise – Topic- Sperm Cell (trying to enter the uterus for purposes of impregnation) Execution time 30 seconds The topic was humorous, in the sense that knowledge of the uterus and what ever popped into the head had to be combined a create a freestyle. Psychotic seemed the stronger from the get go, lyrical content in this round was pleasing but Surprise was quite imaginative and has niche to convert the rhyme to a story telling in a sense you wanted to hear what he had to say next- very imaginative. Psychotic’s consistency throughout took him into the finals.

Brian vs. Chang Man -Topic – Propose to each other in the most romantic way, this was a test as mc battle never ever steered in that direction, the boys were a bit adamant in their lyrical content to profess undying love to each other, Chang humbled and overcame male pride and proposed even going down on his knee and that clinched him a place in the finals.

Finals Changman vs. Psychotic. Both Emcees are super heroes, Chang’s armpits are his weapon whilst Psychotic’s is his zit, freestyling this to their favorite karaoke song.Chang was unclear and microphone control landed in him taking a nosedive (there was bit of a struggle. After four rounds it was decided Psychotic was the winner, his consistency proved to put him in the forefront even though he veered off the topic a few times. The winner (Psychotic) won free studio time to record a track at City Varsity.

So a bit of bad vibes I put out there, in the first place, came back in the form of a busted digital camera battery…

Break-dance Championship- Saturday 27th August 2005

Saturday afternoon I was greeted warmly with break-dance and Capoeira workshops, Emile hosting the bboy sessions and Filas da Afrika facilitating the latter. There wasn’t much media around which sucked, my theory, they were too absorbed in the battle that was to go down the evening and didn’t find the sessions and workshops for the youth important or crucial.

Freestyle Dancing -Funky Kids, DWC – Dangerous with Class, The Cool Lagoon, Version 1, Chain Reaction , Ground Breakers, Mixed Flavor, Sky is The Limit were just some of the groups who represented on the Freestyle dancing front. I was impressed by the talent those kids displayed though I feel as the older generation we should steer them in the correct direction, too much of dancing were carbon copy sequences of  “You got Served” and “Honey”.  Rightfully we should look towards those who inspire us, but they are inspiration and it should drive us to light our own fires….in essence all the kids on the day were great dancers…. They had concept, costumes ranging from bboy gear to Arabian wear, with great props which even included basket ball. In the end they were narrowed down to four Freestyle Crews: Funky Kids vs. Version 1 and Chain Reaction vs. Cool Lagoon. Version 1 was all over Funky kids but the girls battled to the end even though it was clear from the get go the boys were too fresh for them. The second semis were a bit more competitive but Chain Reaction turned out victorious.

Finals: Chain Reaction vs. Version 1 Chain reaction had great techniques, nice choreography and a six man advantage over the V1 trio, though they were very innovative, perfectly in sync. Chain Reaction ended up the Freestyle 2005 champs.

“Bring forth the Battle” Panel includes Paulo, a 40 year old bboy from the Netherlands. Criteria…”Falling is not a move or option” Break-dance crews went all out this year, with regard to technique, choreography, performance and tune selection. Some of the participants: Black Ice, Sound Box, Supreme bboys, Azanian bbys,Ubuntu , Break Mechanics, Breakdown, Demolition Squad, Hardcore Mentality, Blade Breakers , Navigation Crew, Bionic Breakers and Style Dogs. The props and concepts were very innovative, ranging from meditation, to superheroes, utilizing umbrella and glitter to one bboy being wrapped up like a mummy, very impressive. The style dogs bust great power moves, but lacked sequence. Supreme Team went all out with signature emblazed umbrellas while Azanian Bboys were tight they lacked the usual oomph we are so used to seeing when they control the floor. Ubuntu freaked out the crowd with power moves and matrix style moves. These boys definitely worked hard, one of the members of this crew represented the S.A. Team last year and obviously brought back some new moves from Germany. The Navigation Crew flaunted their brilliant, hardworking B-girl all over the place, sister if you read this, keep busting moves, you are most certainly representing the S.A TEAM in Europe soon.

While judges were adding up score and selecting the finalist, two beat boxer represented on the mic, the hooded beat boxer turned out to be a girl after revealing her face and dressing down to her tank top …Soundbox, who was the opponent won the battle.

Pop Lockin battle, judged by Ramone (P.O.C) left Static Flow and a bboy Shapiro, at loggerheads, eventually Shapiro won. Then Ramone being himself as usual blessed us with a demo, with other old skool cats in the mix as well.

Emcee-Psychotic (Winner of the emcee battle) also busted on the microphone with weird topics being thrown at him from the crowd. Eventually the top four was announced

Battle for 3rd and 4th – Demolion Squad vs. Supreme Team Personally, due to the 20 minute Battle factor, my mind strayed from this Battle and no one really upped their gamed or kept me captivated. But there were nice power moves here and there.

1st and 2nd Place – Azanian Bboys vs. Ubuntu. This Battle kept me permanently on my feet, the entertainment standard was off the Richter scale. Old Skool bboys vs. the New Skool moves, I did sense that even though Linden of Azanian bboys was leading the crew, it was evident that synchronicity and lack of the usual powerful energy on stage kept them a bit less focused, Ubuntu went all out with a nothing to lose attitude and ended up Break-dance Champs for 2005, representing S.A in Germany.Ubuntu worked hard as a team and rightfully deserve to win.

Other News

Black Noise sponsor Puma gave away a lot of product from t-shirts to caps.

Bumped into Teba he told me thus far he has sold 2000 units (internationally), that’s brilliant.  G-sus on the other hand, his launch ended up with him selling 127 units, he promoted the album with a t-shirt that read “My cd is R35” – talk about self marketing? Godessa was also present and word on street is they are shooting a move based on Godessa. Hip Hop Connected Event is also underway for more info email hiphopconnected@yahoo.com

Finally I think that the event as a whole was successful with up to 3000 people attending on the Saturday, Emile has said that he received a whole lot of emails full of complaints…probably mostly by passive activist…if u ask me.(I didn’t manage to capture decent pics, then again- it’s the August Energy, aint it?)

Written Exclusively For Africagateway by Controversy
Pics by Rushay

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