October 2, 2007
Better Than: Getting lost in Liberty City on your way to the beach.
The first time I went to South Beach, I got attacked by a beautifull cross-dresser. So, I never know what to expect when I’m in the area. On Tuesday night, Rodderick Deal, a local up and coming photographer/artist was having a gallery opening at Buck 15 to premiere five of his pieces. If you haven’t heard, Buck 15 is a counter-culturally inspired south beach lounge, located above the Miss Yip Chinese Cafe. Unexpectedly enough, I was unaware that I would be stumbling upon an underground dimension of hip-hop, in which all of the bodies from the crevices of Miami would congregate to support smart-mouthed talent.
Around 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, I was ready to ditch, turn around and sprawl out on my bed. All of a sudden, from out of a corner, approached this tall guy who turned out to be Von Jeff, the director of A&R to MTV2’s Monday Night Fight Klub, and he informed me that there was going to be a blow-out Fight Klub event at the very same spot where I was headed. Now, I have poor-people’s-cable and have therefore never seen the show. Yet, in speaking to International P, the show’s host, I learned that Fight Klub has been rated #1 for it’s time slot and happened to showcase Sam Scarfo, who became the first rapper signed onto Def Jam by Jay-Z, after Scarfo appeared on the show.
If you’ve never seen Fight Klub, it is based on the ancient art of freestyle battle rap, in which two people are pitted against each other to see who displays the greatest magnitude of lyrical wit in their disses. For example, “This write up is about fight Klub on MTV, but to get it, your dumb ass gotta learn how to read.” Ha! I should be on the show.
The night began with DJ Crash and DJ Keen-One. Keen-One had actually thrown the party as his recurring set every Tuesday night entitled Take-Out Tuesday’s. Tracks from the, “Pharcyde” and other urban sounds were resonating off the walls of the lounge, while Rodderick Deal’s pictures of Bob Marley, LL Cool J, Jimmie Hendrix, Malcolm X, and Jam Master Jay’s chain, set the ambience of the room. The portraits were actually made up of tiny photographs that Deal had previously taken, which were put in place of the larger images’ pixels. The picture of Malcolm X, for example, was made up of separate smaller pictures. His artwork will be displayed at Buck 15 until the end of October.
As 12 o’clock passed, one particular group of B-boys, The Raw Meat Crew, began to entertain with their windmills and rhythmical toprock steps. Moments later, as it neared 1 a.m., the small lounge became increasingly tighter. Swarms of Fight Klub supporters including, Jacki-O, DJ Entice, and 99 Jams’ K. Foxx, began to fill up the remaining millimeters of space. In fact, the aforementioned Miami natives were judges in the freestyle battle competition.
Unfortunately, I only witnessed the first series of fights between Blaze and three other guys. The first MC that Blaze went up against had the audacity of saying, “No cheers cuz you brought your fans from Little Haiti,” and I thought he was going to get shot. In judging this first round battle, Kay Fox said that Blaze had been, “Kickin it written.” Ultimately however, Blaze got lucky that the other guys’ abilities were achingly weak. He then became the winner of the overall event when he beat Freddy P, of MTV’s making the band. -- Lucy Orozco
Personal Bias: I was expecting a deeper display of poetics from all the MC’s, but then realized that it takes a lot of skill and confidence to even stand up and flow continuous semi-improvised rhymes, without getting overwhelmed by audience distractions. Therefore, even though they didn’t spit masterpieces, they still took the first step towards industry grandeur.
Random Detail: I must have heard at least 50 references to coke that night. Why do Hip-Hop artists stemming from Miami have to constantly reference cocaine in their rhymes, in ways that both directly and indirectly promote its usage? Do they know that their music is largely heard and admired by the younger more vulnerable generation? Isn’t Trick supposed to love the kids?