Rap war, dance-off entertain at ‘Battle of the Beats’

After a three-hour rap battle and interactive show on Sept. 22, Battle of the Beats contestant Phillip “Sharp Skills” Jacobs, 26, was deemed winner, receiving the grand prize trophy and three hours of recording time in the KBEACH studio — in addition to a year’s worth of bragging rights.

Jacobs advanced through each round, and finally won the winning title after a double tie-breaking battle with runner-up MC Mayhem One.

Jacobs said he plans to record some of his lyrics in the studio, and finish his upcoming album “Anno Rebelio,” which will be released in March 2012. He said the album will have a “big music” feel, with classical music and instrumentals.

“I am what God made me to be,” Jacobs said. “‘Anno Rebelio’ is about what I’ve been through, and the struggles I’ve endured.”

The Battle of the Beats was created in 2004, after students attended the Poet’s Lounge and proposed the idea of having a musical competition to the Program Council.

After its debut, the competition wasn’t held again until 2009 and, now, 2011. The event was open to the public to compete and watch, free with CSULB ID and $5 for each non-student guest.

Under a single spotlight, each of the MCs spit their rhymes for 30 seconds. Each round progressed with eliminations, based on the scoring of the three judges.

The scores were averaged from the following categories: Originality, personality and stage approach, style and flow, time fill, and obscure gestures and foul language.

The judge’s table included a student, a professor and a guest judge, DJ Basicali.

The turntables were set in the middle of the stage for DJ Royal One, who mixed the beats for the freestyle competitors, set with a microphone stand on either side of the stage.

The tournament was set with an array of different competitors — although only one was a female competitor.

“The Battle of the Beats is great, it brings a diverse crowd and a lot of people you don’t expect to compete,” USU Program Council Coordinator Keya Allen-Littleton said. “This event takes on a life of its own.”

Formerly held in the Soroptimist House, the event attracted a larger audience, which led to the switch to the University Student Union.

The Student Union ballroom’s chairs were nearly filled as the rap battle began.

Members from the audience were chosen at random to compete for prizes.

The competitions included a “Dougie” dance-off, an alphabet rap battle (one-letter flow), a “too much booty in the pants” dance-off, and a “woo-hoo” battle that Lucas conducted. The winners were chosen by the audience’s cheers.

In addition, between rounds, Basicali performed a few of his own songs, as well as some classic ’90s hip-hop for the audience to sing along. The crowd swayed their arms in the air, singing “Back in the Day” as the final round approached.

The winners of the mini-competitions were awarded with giveaways, including the “I love hip-hop” shirts that were on sale at the event for $7. Basicali gave away some goodies from and IMKING clothing to a couple of lucky winners.

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