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Rekindling the nitty gritty of underground Hip Hop

Kianna Shann | 11/17/2010, 5 p.m.

In the heart of Downtown LA, an elite group of Hip Hop enthusiast pack out a quaint skate shop. All were there for the same reason, to experience real underground Hip Hop at its best, a rap cipher better known as a rap battle. MCs from all over Los Angeles, stopped by to participate in the freestyle battle put on by SK8 Café and sponsored by United Virtiuoso and KS consulting.

In what felt like a sauna as condensation dripped from the walls due to the over populated store front space, people prepared for the battle that was arising right before their eyes. The energy which pumps through all real Hip Hop lovers veins poured out of the doors of the SK8 Café and onto the sidewalks as people watched the MCs prepare and deliver.

Lexyss Bundschuh, stylist and website manager for United Virtuoso, an eclectic group filled with raw talent, expressed their reason for putting on the event was not to plan another party but, "We wanted to have a real Hip Hop event to bring back the underground Hip Hop music vibe." A vibe that many artist feel are lacking in the industry as the art form gets more and more commercial.

As 12 MCs rapped and riddled their way through the trenches of the battle one prevailed victorious Terrance "Buggsy Capri" Joseph a local artist out of South Central Los Angeles. The artist used unorthodox lyrical content and impressive use of metaphors to gain approval from the judges. The artist who has lived both in NY and Atlanta in the past few years has groomed his skills as not only a battle rapper but also as a producer. "I remember when I went away to college in Oregon and I started making beats on an EJ. I would stay up till 4 a.m. making music on this little laptop and then try to make it to football practice and fall asleep in football practice." The artist while he appreciates all the new music that is pumping through the streets these days also finds it to be a "double edge sword." "I think it awesome that artist can sit down with their laptops and two weeks later become millionaires (by making club rockers), Hip Hop has now become music that is consumed by the world and it has become Pop music. Then you have these people who have never lived in South Central, have never trapped before telling Hip Hop artist how to dress and what to say and what to write about."

The art of battling and participating in cypher's is definitely a lost past time. "The industry is so commercial now, it's almost saddening the type of music that is put out and labeled "Hip Hop, shocks me sometimes, the underground vibe isn't there anymore." This Cypher event was nice because people were actually giving each MC an opportunity to express himself and they were listening to what he had to say, they were looking for the lyrical content which is something that is not done often." Explains Jharon Ward an artist.

For all MCs whom are still interested in the underground Hip Hop battles, this is the first of many more to come for the company. They plan to continue to refresh the industry.

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