Ontario freestyle Championship
Ontario freestyle Championships
I was tapped to provide a neat summary of the Ontario freestyle championships on Jan16, 2009.:
To my surprise, a long line up had already formed upon my arrival, and, for an instant it felt like a scene from the seminal freestyle battle movie 8 mile. With sub-zero temperatures and the movement of big oversized jackets, you could feel the buzz in the air as heavy base pervaded throughout the street.
Thirty minutes later, citizens of London began to take the stage and transform into their magnanimous sobriquets. As the vox populi emanated around the stage, fellow guest judges, including Canadian rap artists Choclair and Drew James, adjudicated on the winners of each battle. Choclair had mentioned on the CHRW radio show, the Backpack Chronicles that he wanted emcees with “heartfelt rhymes to show why they should win.”
While there were some rocky battles that showed no significant ability, notable mentions go to Casper the Ghost and Lanez who were pitted against one another for the coveted 500 dollars prize. After a vigorous exchange of jabs that lasted several rounds, the choice could simply not be made. As promoter of the show, Bryon E. B. Raymond, felt it was his responsibility to split the winnings between both emcees. “Because of their undeniable talent, Casper and Lanez have freely been admitted into the next freestyle championship,” he says.
Aside from the freestyle battles, London artists NGA and Sum1 took to the stage and performed some cuts from their respective mixtapes. NGA rocked the house with his Canadian anthem If I were American and Drew James from the Ruffryders performed a quick but energetic set. Choclair also partook in an impromptu freestyle, explaining that he just escaped a fatal car crash earlier that day on his way to London.
Bryon had hoped for a dance competition but stated that “time constraints had made it impossible, but will definitely have a place in the next competition.”
With the success of this event, Bryon is in the process of managing similar competitions across Canada and is currently in talks with Sony representatives. As a fan and audience member, the Ontario freestyle championships were a great exposé of lyrical talent. Emcees contained their composure and even hugged and shook hands after each battle. It was exhilarating experience. However, I cannot say the same for whoever kept stepping on my shoes.