Uptown Breaks it Down


Friday night, Uptown was bumping with bright colored lights, and students spitting rhymes and dropping beats for some friendly competition at the Rap Battle, which kicked off this weekend's Black Arts Festival. Oompa Williams was a lovely host, pumping up the crowd with her enthusiasm, throwing in some humor, and at one point, breaking into impromptu song and dance in between acts.

The atmosphere was filled with energy, people got comfy on bean bags and the crowd was constantly cheering; almost no one sitting still once Drake's voice dropped through the speakers, and another round started up.

All participating members gave their all, hoping to receive the loudest cheers when Devon put his hand above their head. After some playful back and forth with rappers such as, Brittany Phillips ' 16, who is the only female rapper I've seen compete, the host's mom, Lalena Brown, took a turn at the mic, coming out the winner. Some audience members jumped up from their seats to cheer as she rapped.

Mislav finished the beatbox battle as the crowd's choice with his catchy low bass and range of interweaved, funky sounds. Eventually, the crowd rolled out, most people laughing or dancing, and some inspired ones attempting to throw down some of their own rhymes, including myself.

The rap battle was quite the success. Everyone left highly energized, exiting with smiles on their faces and leftover rhymes and beats resonating in their ears.