Imagine that the year is 1993 and you live in LA. How did you get info about best moves to make on a Saturday night? I would imagine that since there were no Instagram posts to check for and no Snapchat videos to stalk, people would have to rely on other means of figuring out “where it’s at” when the fans of Hip-Hop music wanted to hang with the dope rappers. First choice would be your circle of friends via three way phone conversations and coded messages on a pager. Of course any person with a radio might get info from 93.5 K-DAY and 92.3 the Beat about the clubs in Hollywood, but in 1993 there was a strong crowd of underground Hip-Hop fans that would prefer to hear bars in a battle at a bar, instead of spending money they don’t have to drink overpriced alcohol among the strange people that Hollywood breeds. The GOOD LIFE CAFÉ was one of those alternatives that existed in 1992, so it would be nice to think that by 1993 other underground freestyle battles would be found in venues throughout different areas of the city on any given night. The Hip-Hop culture in LA was being established and the freshness of the MCs coming from the LA area at the time was impressive. The crowds would often be standing room only at your local underground hot spot. DJs were a special element of the evening because they possessed the ultimate crowd control. The crowd had the ultimate power because they judged the MCs and chose the winner once the battle was complete.
Now imagine a Saturday night 22 years later and Hip-Hop is bigger than it’s ever been and yet the underground Hip-Hop scene in LA is harder to find than ever. Sounds like an OXYMORON, no Schoolboy album, but it’s the Truth, no Trae. Los Angeles does offer outlets and opportunities for artist to be heard, it’s just unfortunate how much image matters more than talent in today’s landscape. The artists, rappers, and MCs on display today also have the struggle of finding an honest crowd of real people to receive them. It’s outrageous to think about how many “Hip-Hop” events I have been to in LA that barely had black people in the crowd. Hip-Hop culture seems to be lost in cities across America and people are still discussing how did we get here. You should be tired of entertaining discussions about the so-called death of Hip-Hop and figure out how to heal this thing we all love so much.
K2 and the #PRJCTUNDRGRND on Saturday October 3rd at the Menlo Club on the corner of MLK and Menlo, right across from the LA Coliseum, Hip-Hop was alive and the vibes created reminded me of a scene from my Hip-Hop dreams. If I were a rapper, I’d love a chance to exercise my ability to freestyle in a room full of people. But I’m not a rapper, and the rappers these days probably don’t have a concrete definition of what a “freestyle” even is. The music selection chosen for the three artist at the #PRJCTUNDRGRND stage was excellent. The range in beat selection was good and the artists actually got freedom from the DJ to rap for a length of time that made the artist feel comfortable. The rules of the battle were loose and there were 4 full rounds. The three artists that blessed the stage that night were B. Nasty (@asef), Ade Martine (@theofficialademartine) and the only lady of the evening JustLiv (@Sunny_Olive). Each artist provided a unique style and everybody killed at least 1 round of the night.
The host of the night and moderator of the battle B. arcH (@size10addidas) kept the vibe real welcoming and the show moving by dishing out the topics each and providing hella jokes. B. arcH also gave us a stellar poem during the open mic portion of the evening. The best freestyle verse of the evening in my opinion came from the lady artist JustLiv who apparently is a singer, more than she is an MC. Her vocals were impressive and she was modest about her rhyming abilities, which were equally good. The 2nd round topic of the night was “Exes” and at this point, JustLiv almost stole the show with the way she captured everywhere attention with her verse. All the women fed her energy as she freestyle flowed over the YG x “B*tches Aint Sh*t” instrumental. Not only did the singer switch her flow multiple times and stay on topic about her former loves, the girl never said anything negative about the men in her past and she uplifted the ladies in the room. She had the 2K15 Lauryn Hill with some Queen Latifah in her music style and if she chose to take rapping a little more seriously, she wouldn’t lose any fans at all. B. Nasty was definitely the funniest artist that night and his best freestyle verse came over the Kanye West x Jesus Walks instrumental and the topic happened to be about “The System”. Overall, our winner of the evening happened to be the most consistent of the 3 artists through the 4 rounds, Ade Martine. His strongest verse came at the end of the battle during the acapella part of the night and the topic was “Dollar and a Dream”. After sealing the deal, Ade won a beanie from the Black Beverly Hills clothing line and an interview that will be published online.
The open mic revealed even more talent in the house as other underground artist such as Picclo and Akil Ali blessed the stage with some great new music as well. They both have new projects that are due out sooner than later so click their names above to get the linkage to the goods. #PRJCTUNDRGRND is the best $5 I would have spent for some real Hip-Hop anywhere in Los Angeles. This event was proof that “Quality > Quantity” still matters when it comes to the social scene and Hip-Hop culture. There were some good people in the spot and the networking was real valuable as well that night. The culture in the city needs more events like these in a real way. Grits & Biscuits is cool, but it does nothing for the person that is searching for the true elements of the music that we love so much. Partying is not the only way to partake in Hip-Hop life. Real Rap is back in full effect and it will be only a matter of time before people get tired of driving unnecessarily far, to pay for parking, then have to wait in line just to spend $15 for a drink after you’ve paid at least $20 just to get inside. Let’s not forget to mention those times that you’ve been to Hollywood and the music is a “Mix of Hip-Hop and house music”…what a waste of a good time. The real deal will be returning soon. K2 created history with her preview of the future. Consistency is key on all levels of this Hip-Hop game. Before you even realize that the underground has returned, you will probably be too late. Much respect to #PRJCTUNDRGRND and we are definitely looking forward to your future events.
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