Words by Phi
Tae Kwon Flow - battle of the MC
Patrons of Johannesburg's club 206 on the 22nd of September were treated to a rare occasion via 'Tae Kwon Flow' - the first official MC battle hosted in Johannesburg in a long time. As midnight drew near the previously distracted crowd converged on the main floor in dribs and drabs, their attention drawn by the compere Mizchif to the focus of the evening - the coronation of one MC as the worthiest microphone controller in J Sec. Delivery, stage presence, lyrical content, crowd interaction and crowd reaction were the stated criteria on which the 10 participating lyrical combatants would be judged. The line-up featured an even mix of more and less established MC's: Gorgeous Flash, Culprit, Alka, Kano, Rashmo, Zubz, Impatient, Death Code, Snazz D, and Disloyal. As each one was introduced to the audience the stage transformed from a neutral DJ platform into a word war zone as the MCs prepared for the title bout - it was on!
Round One. Each MC confidently flossed in a showcase round of skill where they had 1 minute to rip the mic. The best 4 contenders were then chosen to enter the next round of the battle. Disloyal, Snazz, Impatient and Zubz were the skilled wordsmiths who ousted the other 6 contenders from the contest.
Round Two. This proved to be an even more compelling round - a test of freestyle battle tactics. Disloyal and Snazz, Zubz and Impatient were paired up respectively and went toe-to-toe rhyming on random topics provided by the compere. Crowd favourites Impatient and Zubz transpired as the victors, which meant that the last man standing would be one of these two.
Round Three. Tension levels were raised a couple of notches as the battle finalists had it out with each other via an exchange of freestyles. This round had to have been the most difficult for both the crowd and the judges to choose their favourite. Both MC's scored highly over all the rated criteria, but in the end a final decision was made in favour of Zubz. His rhymes were the most organic, original and accessible, which he proved in a subsequent "justice round", where the other 9 MC's took to the mic once again in a united effort to try and challenge his victory. Not at all fazed by his then fading voice (due to a cold), and the sometimes overly aggressive retaliations, he self-assuredly and cleverly responded to each MC's verbal attack. This left no doubt in the minds of those present that he was indeed deserving of the props as the illest MC on stage that night.
'Tae Kwon Flow' was a riveting exercise and a lesson to many that ill rhymes are more than just complex, pseudo-intellectual lines (see Y FM's 'Rap Activity Jam'), and will hopefully spur other much-needed grass roots events within JHB's Hip-Hop community.