Introducing the Border City Battle Club in Windsor, Ontario [Article]
In a an article called “Who da best? Rap battling comes to Windsor,” the Windsor Star showcases a new MC battle league in Windsor called the Border City Battle Club. The article was published just prior to the league’s debut on July 14th. Big shouts to the Windsor Star for covering the local hip-hop scene.
Windsor, ON – “A 519 ripper. Yeah, the nine’ll wreck ya. I got a .22 and stay high like Clyde Drexler.”
So goes a typical freestyle boast by local rapper Shane Mac — one of the competitors getting ready for the rap battle happening this Saturday in downtown Windsor. It’s the debut event of the Border City Battle Club. Six MCs will have on-stage face-to-face, mic-to-mic match-ups, trying to top each other’s brags and disses in rhyme.
Organizer Mike Smulders and his partner Tyrone Elliott (a.k.a. Choc Ty) hope the event will showcase the city’s hip hop scene and bring the art of the rap battle back to the 519.
Border City Battle Club founders Mike Smulder & Choc Ty
“I moved to Windsor about five months ago, and I’m like, ‘Windsor needs something like this,’” Smulders says. “This is where people in the hip hop community can come together and have something real.”
“That’s how you find out who’s the best — You battle.”
Although the area has had MC gatherings before, Smulders says those casual sessions — called “cyphers” — were different from organized battle events like the one planned for Saturday.
“A cypher is generally people rapping together. They all take turns, and they have their own time to shine, maybe 20 or 30 seconds,” he explains.
“Whereas in a battle, it’s two people, usually for three rounds, and you rap at your opponent. You rap about the person. That’s the whole thing. You try to outdo the other person with insults and jokes.”
But Smulders insists it’s not just about who can be the most derogatory. To win the favour of the crowd — and a panel of five judges on Saturday — competitors will have to demonstrate cleverness and creativity in their lines.
“It has to be lyrical. It’s not about who has the best insults. It’s about who puts the insults together the best. Who’s the most crafty, the most witty,” Smulders says.
Mike Smulders (pictured left) and Tyrone Elliott (pictured right) promote the Border City Battle Club, debuting Sat. July 14 at the Boom Boom Room.
To be honest, rap battles aren’t anything new. Since the beginning of hip hop music more than 30 years ago, MCs have engaged in rhyming combat to prove who’s better.
Legendary contests such as Kool Moe Dee versus Busy Bee in New York City in 1981 have been documented and discussed like classic boxing matches.
Smulders says a new generation has been keeping the culture alive with an underground battle scene that’s all over YouTube and across the continent.
“I have friends in Toronto and Calgary who do a rap battle league. There’s plenty of rap battle leagues now,” says Smulders, 32. “The Internet has really exposed all these different battles that have been going on all over the world.”
The debut Border City Battle Club event was originally going to happen at Smulders’ place of business, Smold’s Barbershop (790 Ouellette Ave.).
Smulders says the advance response has been so good that he decided to move the event to a bigger venue, the Boom Boom Room (315 Ouellette Ave.).
Admission to the event is free. Donations will be accepted for Hiatus House at the door.
The battles will begin at 8 p.m. and the after-party happens 11 p.m.
By: Dalson Chen, The Windsor Star
Photography: Tyler Brownbridge, The Windsor Star
Source: The Windsor Star
Border City Battle Club Promo Videos