Throughout high school, I would go to my school’s Hip Hop Appreciation club’s weekly meetings even though I’ve always been way more into people like Brad Paisley and The Arcade Fire. I went because my best friends started it and at each meeting they would freestyle. Some of the guys who founded the club got really into it and started recording music. I was always blown away by how clever, witty, and quick they were. I asked them to teach me but because I started clapping when they asked me to “drop a beat” and since I didn’t seem to understand how to rhyme, they eventually gave up. So I just tagged along, claiming I was the boys’ manager, thinking I was a big deal. When they recorded music and needed a “girl’s voice”, I was their go to girl. It’s one of my greatest accomplishments.
My friend Zaki, who started the club in high school, goes to USC now too and he hasn’t really battled since we got here. He freestyles for fun with all of his friends (and if he’s lucky I’ll let him go against me) but he gets intimidated and backs down when he has the chance to go in public.
Last night at the Lotus Hookah Lounge right by campus, some students in the Music Industry major here at USC put on a show called Local Legends Freestyle Battle. Zaki decided to enter it for fun, so once again I tagged along. I had to– I am his manager, after all. I didn’t think it was going to be that great a show going in because, let’s be real, how good can USC students be at freestyling?
So I walked in there with Zaki and all of our friends (we had to bring a group to cheer for him, obviously) and I looked around noticing that I was the only girl in the room. I’m not going to lie, I felt really cool being there with all the guys, pretending like I knew what was going on. Slowly, more and more people started filtering in. Each person who was participating in the battle brought their own group, and if you looked around the lounge you could see six or seven clearly delineated crews.
Finally, all the contestants were called up on stage to introduce themselves and draw their number to see who they would be going up against. I don’t remember many of the guys’ names, I didn’t even understand what their rap names were, but they sounded cool.
So it began: the guys started battling, and there were 3 guys who were clearly the best. Marc Payne was the first guy to go, and he absolutely destroyed his opponent. He also had a really loud cheering section sitting behind us who would help him get through each round.
The next guy was this chubby, goofy looking kid who no one thought would
be very good. We were dead wrong– he killed it. He rapped crazy-fast and was remarkably clever; his opponent never stood a chance. Then Zaki’s round came up… and he was awesome (obviously).
So the chubby guy beat Marc Payne and ended up battling Zaki in the semi-finals, and sadly, he beat Zaki too. I have to be honest, the guy was really good. Zaki had a few good lines (he said something funny about the guy looking like Chris Farley) but the other guy was just on, and he interacted with the crowd like a pro. He ended up winning the tournament and taking home the $100 prize.
After the event, I gathered up all the boys and made them go to Yogurtland with me. All 7 of us piled into my car, drove to Yogurtland, and pumped the tunes through the car speakers. Of course, Keith Urban was playing, and I was the only one signing.