Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!
By Khalil Amani
A few days ago the old man (me!) got a wild hair stuck up his butt and decided that I wanted to go to New Jersey for the UW Rap League Battle, which features a pretty good fight card—Daylyt vs. B Magic, O Red vs. Hitman Holla, Tsu Surf vs. Calicoe and the featured bout—Loaded Lux vs. Hollow Da Don.
So I hit up the good folks at UW Battle League and introduced myself—that I write for Allhiphop.com and Straight Stuntin Magazine and a shed-load of other sites and asked for some charity—a “Press Pass” (‘cause the tickets started at $100 and blogging doesn’t pay the bills!) to which they granted.
So I got off my Denver couch (Go Broncos!), took my Geritol, washed the crust out of my eyes, popped a lifesaver and booked me a flight to New York City! (I’m steadily disproving the myth that we bloggers only stay connected to the culture behind our computer screens! I’m out cheah!)
Ain’t even bothered to book a hotel! I was simply gonna turn around and go right back to the airport and fly back to my mundane life here in the Mile High City. (With major redundancy, GO BRONCOS!)
I guess you can say I’m a fan of battle rap.
By the time I finally made it to Elizabeth, New Jersey’s Club Envy I had missed several battles, but I did a lot of asking around and the consensus was that nobody had gotten “bodied.” (0-3) Seems that erry’body held their own.
Ah, but that Loaded Lux/Holla Da Don battle! Having a bird’s-eye view from the stage I had a chance to witness a great battle between two ultimate warriors. Loaded Lux is the consummate showman. His team came on the stage ala 1967 Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis, Black Panther Party—donning black leather jackets, berets, Ray Ban sunglasses and shotties (pump shotguns!), while holding a placard sign of Huey & Eldridge Cleaver (“Soul On Ice” by Cleaver is still my ish!) and another sign with Hollow Da Don’s face on it and the words, “SAY NO TO DRUGS!” Lux had Hollow looking like a whacked-out crack-head (I’m assuming Lux had some dirt on his alleged past drug habit?)
Hollow Da Don’s stage presence/performance was standard—no motif, just he and his goons leering across the stage at Lux while hollering, “Three-O that nigga!” (Battle raps have three rounds.)
I was actually standing behind Hollow at the beginning of the battle and thought to myself, “Fuck you doin’ on this side?” So I wiggled and maneuvered until I found myself standing just feet away from Loaded Lux.
Lux rapped first and came out the gates roaring! O my gawd! Dude seemed to be chomping at the bit to get in Hollow’s ass (pause!). Lux methodically deconstructed Hollow with his keen insights which are rooted in a strong sense of knowing his history and understanding of the spiritual realm. He is a teacher. His verses have got to be studied!
Hollow Da Don had some great punch-lines and took Lux to task over his religiosity and “blacker-than-thou” rhetoric—slamming Lux with the question of (paraphrasing), “What are you gonna do to help me since you’re pointing out my flaws?” Shit was powerful!
All-in-all, I say Loaded Lux took it 2-1. I think Loaded Lux is the greatest battle rapper alive! (Still can't get over what he did to Calicoe!)
For me, the beauty of the battle was that although there were and estimated 800-1000 hip-hop heads in attendance, everybody was respectful and civil. No fights. It was an evening of listening to these ghetto griots spit that ism. I sipped on a Long Island Ice Tea (saucy as I wanna be!) and inhaled the after-burn of The Loud marijuana and later on got a few pics (No! I ain’t on Instagram—yet!)
It was kinda cool being recognized by a few people. Some random dude in the audience caught my eye and said, "I know who you are! I know who you are!" (I guess they really are reading Khalil Amani!) And it was cool meeting 50 Cent’s comedian over at Thisis50.com—Young Jack Thriller of which we had an issue over a photo of my daughter, which he had misidentified as the teen prostitute who was shagging Lawrence Taylor. A misunderstanding and a conversation and it was all love and I thank him for his heartfelt apology. Respect.
Battle rap is pure. Battle rap is that dude! A refreshing change from the mindless B/S being crammed down our throats via the airwaves. My hope is that these artists will get the respect and money they deserve, because, indeed, they are the gatekeepers of the genre! When real rapping dies, the genre dies.
Khalil Amani is a blogger for AllHipHop. He also writes for DJ Kay Slay’s Originators Magazine & Straight Stuntin Magazine. Amani also writes for Hoodgrown, Maybach and Sext Magazines. He is the author of six books, including the ground-breaking book, “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” iuniverse.com 07). Amani is gay hip-hop’s self-proclaimed straight advocate. Visit The Coonerific One at http://www.khalilamani.ning.com Follow on Facebook/Twitter @khalilamani. Youtube @ yahweh 12 Khalilamani@yahoo.com
A little ghetto footage from my view. The beginning of Lux vs. Hollow battle.
Comedian & Emcee @ rap battle Young Jack Thriller
West Coast Battle rapper DayLyt
Newark Grape Street Crip/Battle Rapper Arsonal