On Saturday, Versus organizers Reach, Sephiroth, Trystyl and Vertigone hosted well over three hours of DJ and rap battles at a packed Riot Room. If VS-Mini is just the lead-up to Versus 5
, we definitely have something to look forward to this summer.
The show opened up with three short solo performances. Headfella started it off with clever lines about girls and late-night trips to Panchos (subject matter just about right for someone with X’s on his hands). He was followed up by Atilla, who is shaping into one of the area’s most versatile MCs, with range from backpacker-style hip-hop to nerdcore. Louiz Rip, who is 6 feet 5 inches, closed out the set, dominating the show not only in crazy size but with clear proficiency.
The battles began with ButtonPush, a five-round DJ battle. All four entrants (one a two-person team) shared a table, setting up their laptops in a row. The rounds moved quickly, as the DJs just played their constructions down the line, one after another. It quickly became clear that Barbaric Merits (the duo) was bringing the tightest, most danceable beats, and they took the prize. Kudos to the Ghost for incorporating a drum kit, and to DR+2 for bringing his LED game in the form of a homemade helmet.
After a quick tear-down, the rap battle was under way. The night’s contestants had been kept secret and included: Ben Grimm, Abnorm, Dutch Newman, Key, Swayzerbladez, Huey P, Louiz Rip and EMC. They took each other down with fat jokes: “Say hi to Andre 3000 calories”; outfit disses “You still shop at Hot Topic / With your eyeliner on you ain’t shit” and even some ribbing from the host, Sephiroth: “You guys don’t need to battle - I won.” Yet as was the case with the ButtonPush battle, it became clear who would likely be champion early on —perennial Versus Champion, Swayzerbladez. His raps were smooth, funny, and deserving of the championship. Will there be anyone who can beat him at Versus 5?