Last Friday, August 10 2012, saw the first annual Breadbreakers R.hythmic A.merican P.oetry Battle at the Wealthy Theatre, an event put on in partnership with the Library and the Grand Rapids Hip-Hop Coalition.
After the opening act, the Action Figures, the stage opened up for our six competitors – Azizi Jasper, MC3PO, Antonio Taylor, Venson Dix, Stephen Gren, and Rich DaVos – to face off for three rounds in the following areas: content, stage presence, and flow. The first two rounds were a capella, while the third was over a beat courtesy of DJ Dean Martian, who also provided an excellent mix through the night.
The scores reflected the level of talent that we saw at the show. Performances were scored on a scale of one to ten, and In the first, round, the top five competitors were only separated by a five point margin. By the third round, it was only six. The level of artistry on display was incredible. Each performance was worthy of respect and admiration.
The final round was between the top two competitors saw a clash of two completely different styles of rhyme, between Azizi Jasper and MC3PO.
MC-3PO chose to rap over a beat, and in a powerful style of classic hip-hop. I thought there would be no way that Mr. Jasper could top that performance. Mr. Jasper, however, laid down an amazing rhyme in response, with a more compact style, and in the manner of beat or slam poetry for which he is well known here in Grand Rapids.
In a split decision, 4-3, the judges ruled in favor of MC3PO. I had no idea how to call the final round. All I knew was I had just witnessed a night of fantastic hip-hop.
The Grand Rapids Public Library would like to thank Victor “Governor Slugwell” Williams, without whom this event would not have been possible. We would also like to thank Robert S., Deejay Word, Unk Funk, Staci Nichols, Brady Ty Manning and James Jumbo Owens for judging the night’s rhymes.
Our thanks go out to the competitors too; you all are crazy-skilled. Hope to see you again next year!