In early November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, killing thousands of people and leaving many others displaced or even homeless. In order to raise money for the victims of the typhoon, Philippine-born emcee, LorenZo put together Battle of the Voices, a hip hop showcase with the main event being a sixteen-man freestyle emcee tournament. The event took place at the Cockburn Youth Centre and also included live performances from beatboxers and b-boys.
All of the battles were intense, as emcees launched harsh rhymes at their opponents in an attempt to win the chain made for the prize. Each battle went for two rounds and a panel of expert judges decided who won. The final battle came down to Carmer of Disorderly Conduct and The Psych Ward’s Intelekt. While the crowd clearly favoured Carmer, given his strong performances in his previous battles, Intelekt managed to overpower him in the final round, claiming the title of Perth’s Master of the Beat.
Aside from the freestyle competition, there were live performances from Disorderly Conduct, Indepth and Boom. Disorderly Conduct was impressive for such a young group, with the heartfelt lyrics demonstrating maturity beyond their years. The same can be said for Indepth, who had a harsh, world-weary style that he managed to pull off despite appearing to be quite young.
Boom performed alongside Drama, Donkey, Dash and LorenZo. Their song ‘Hand in Hand’ was made especially for the event and reminded people what they were raising money for. Female vocalist, Ergy, held the crowd’s attention with her enchanting voice, while LorenZo rapped in his native tongue, which drew a huge reaction from the Filipino members of the audience.
A highlight came when DaVinci Crew took to the stage and showed off their break dancing skills. The whole crowd was mesmerised by their skill, clapping along as they demonstrated a crucial element of hip hop.
The night opened with a beatbox showcase from Bidder and Jake, who started off competing against one another in a beatbox battle, but eventually joined forces to create some intricate beats.
Richo Kidd acted as the host for the evening, announcing the battles and DJing all of the sets.
While the event could have been arranged better, with some sets needing to be cancelled and a number of emcees not showing up, everyone seemed to have a great time, and given that the goal was to raise money for those in need, it can be said Battle of the Voices was a complete success.
By Ciaran Johns