Hollywood, CA – Sparks flew when eight MCs went toe-to-toe at the #freestyle50 Cypher event at Hollywood’s Playhouse Nightclub earlier this week. Hosted by legendary TV/radio personality Sway Calloway and Smack White — founder of the Smack URL battle rap series — the competition featured one-on-one freestyle battles judged by producer London On Da Track and 300 Entertainment’s Kevin Liles.
Each of the eight finalists were chosen from the 9,000 hopeful MCs who participated in the #freestyle50challenge on social media.
The winner took home a grand prize of $10,000, a beat crafted by London on Da Track and an opening act slot on the upcoming 300 Artist Development Tour.
London On Da Track, Jessica Thorpe, and Kevin Liles
Finalist Kareem of Baton Rouge told HipHopDX, “I’m grateful I got everybody back home rooting for me. I know I have what it takes to get to that point, but I haven’t gotten exposure to get to that point. At the end of the day, it’s all god’s blessings. I’m grateful whether I win or not, but I’ll make the most of this opportunity to show everybody why they’ve been sleeping on me.”
London On Da Track added he’d be looking for, “Competitiveness, uniqueness and consistency.”
Calloway also spoke to DX about the event. “First of all I’m just a fan of this,” he said. “All of the people who tried to get here, it’s a golden opportunity to all of the artists to just be performing in front of Big Boy [radio host], Kevin Liles and London On Da Track. Even if you don’t win, you still win because you get the exposure. This is what I’ve always been about. I come from the battle rap scene, so we’re gonna see who the true hyenas are.”
Brooklyn contestant Cokah, one of the few women in the competition, said, “I feel like I always do a good job of representing my girls wherever I go. My moves, my style — nothing can be duplicated. I want to bring that creativity back to Brooklyn.”
The winner of the entire battle was Chicago spitter Y.K Supe, who took out Joe Waters, a Christian battle rapper from Tampa, Florida.
To celebrate his victory, Y.K took to Instagram, writing, “It’s a good feeling when you watch @urltv everyday and you get stamped by @smackwhite for being a dope MC.”
Prior to entering the competition, Y.K already had a local following in Chicago and even got a chance to perform at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
After the battle festivities, there were some surprise guest appearances from Tee Grizzley, who is signed to 300 Entertainment, and Redman. The crowd couldn’t contain themselves and practically rapped every word to Grizzley’s “First Day Out.”
Redman took it back to the golden era and performed covers of Biggie, along with a few of his own hits. With so many power players in the building, the event gave the artists who participated not only a fantastic opportunity for exposure, but also reminded those in attendance what battle rap is all about.