Review: End Of The Weak LDN (@eodub) Heat 2

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Heat 2 of the 2017 End of the Weak Lon­don Emcee Chal­lenge went down at the end of May at it’s cur­rent home upstairs at The Ritzy cinema in Brix­ton, as newest organ­iser Mas Law con­tin­ued the search for the new UK Champ. After the ser­i­ous levels set in heat 1 – won by Men­ace Men­d­oza – the pres­sure was on for the next line up of emcees.  Mas had secured a set of chal­lengers from around the country…and one from a little bit fur­ther.

1  Blackk Chron­ic­al

Blackk Chron­ic­al has been hon­ing his craft for years now and has done it under the watch of some of the UK’s best emcees. As the young­er brother of Phoenix Da Ice­Fire he has been able to watch and learn from and then col­lab­or­ate with Triple Dark­ness, and he’s used this oppor­tun­ity to help define his style – mix­ing it with Grime and oth­er influ­ences. He has sup­por­ted Dead Prez, Onyx, Big Daddy Kane and more over the years.

2  Lazy Eyes

Ori­gin­ally com­ing from Corn­wall, Lazy Eyes is a young emcee from the south-west of England who has a solid Boom-Bap style with a west coun­try twang. Now based in Bris­tol, he’s been work­ing the Hip Hop and live scenes, cre­at­ing a buzz and a name for him­self as a solo artist and as part of his crew ‘Pupils of the Clock’.

3 Gab­ri­el Black­smith

South Lon­don­er Gab­ri­el Black­smith star­ted as a Gar­age emcee, later slow­ing the tem­po down to express him­self more in his bars. A reg­u­lar on the open mic scene of Lon­don, espe­cially at the renowned Higher Learn­ing, he is a lyr­i­cist with a strong Chris­ti­an mes­sage, one that he has clearly researched bey­ond the King James ver­sion of the Bib­le and that he is ded­ic­ated to.

4 Dr Koul

Ori­gin­ally from Switzer­land, Dr Koul is an estab­lished part of his home scene. He has been asso­ci­ated with the Swiss EOW for years but is now based in Brighton. Hav­ing grown up in a Hip Hop cul­ture dom­in­ated by emcees spit­ting in French and Ger­man, he has taken the oppor­tun­ity that mov­ing to the UK has given him to enter EOW UK, being able to finally com­pete in his mother tongue of Eng­lish to an audi­ence who fully under­stands.

The emcee chal­lenge kicked off in the tra­di­tion­al way, with all the emcees per­form­ing writ­ten bars on their own beats. All the emcees estab­lished and rep­res­en­ted their own styles early on. Blackk Chron­ic­al came with some dark, raw, hype shit, Lazy Eyes with some laid back, witty Boom-Bap, Gab­ri­el Black­smith put in some intric­ately flowed spir­itu­al bars on a Gos­pel sound­ing beat and Dr Koul flowed over a soul­ful, jazzy vibe, inter­act­ing with the crowd, encour­aging their par­ti­cip­a­tion.

The levels looked pretty even going into the a capel­la round, the lyr­i­cists round, where the dif­fer­ence in the styles and philo­sophies of the emcees became a lot clear­er. Gab­ri­el Black­smith kept spread­ing his gos­pel, high­light­ing the con­nec­tion between the Bib­lic­al Israel­ites and the Afric­an dia­spora and offer­ing his ideas on how to live your life. Some of his strong views clearly rubbed up some people the wrong way, as Kissy Kay shouted loudly “there’s so much ten­sion in this room!”. Lazy Eyes star­ted kick­ing his writ­ten, with his sharp, smart lyr­ics, and when he tripped up, he kept the level up with a free­style that soun­ded writ­ten. Blackk Chron­ic­al came with some les­sons for those on road and some of the pit­falls of that life. Dr Koul really took this round though. Clear, dir­ect and insight­ful lyr­ics about things he’s learned and things we can do to improve the world around us. He also switched in to a double time flow that raised the vibe up; he went in.

Next was Kissy K’s cameo as Black Santa for the grab bag round. All the emcees held it up, kick­ing bars triggered by the items and kept con­sist­ent flows. Lazy Eyes stood out, it was effort­less for him and he kept the humour of his style in it.  So did Dr Koul, man­aging to still get in bits of his polit­ic­al mes­sage, he nar­rated all his actions and everything hap­pen­ing around him and used each item to play a part in it – plus he kept the flow funky, match­ing the vibe of the house band.

Jazz T was back on the wheels for the Emcee vs DJ round. As Mas said, the brother makes it HARD for the emcees. I’ve seen him throw beats in 34 or 6/8, or with no drums and ran­dom sounds on mans. He kept his repu­ta­tion in this heat, and he star­ted by giv­ing Blackk Chron­ic­al some crazy things to deal with. The brother kept his flow near enough con­stant, but he had a small break between 2 beats. Gab­ri­el Black­smith still kept his Chris­ti­an mes­sage run­ning through this round, mov­ing from what soun­ded like a writ­ten and then hav­ing to move to a free, but the trans­ition was smooth. The same tech­nique was used by Lazy Eyes and it had the same effect – his double time tem­po bars were dope and the man even matched his flow to the scratches that Jazz through in. He also had a little break to catch the flow of one beat and that may­be cost him the round, because again, Dr Koul came out strongest. He didn’t trip once – mov­ing from funk, to DnB tem­po shit eas­ily, with Jazz T mak­ing ran­dom drops, cuts and all sorts – he killed it foreal.

The cypher round was pretty equal. I feel like any­one who enters EOW should be able to do this com­fort­ably and all these man did. Just dope free­styles over the dope live band.

While the res­ults were cal­cu­lated, EOW fam­ily mem­ber Con­sensus per­formed his newest album Con­CERNed in full. Now, if you’ve got a good eye, the cent­ral theme of the album is in the title. Over 2 years, Con­sensus has stud­ied quan­tum phys­ics and used what he’s learned to write an album describ­ing the com­plex­it­ies of the sci­en­ti­fic explan­a­tion of the uni­verse in lan­guage that Hip Hop heads and kids from Lon­don can under­stand. Dur­ing the pro­cess, he was approached by CERN, the own­ers of the Large Had­ron Col­lider in Switzer­land – most fam­ous for dis­cov­er­ing the Higgs Boson particle a few years ago. CERN have helped to fund the pro­ject, Con­sensus has used it to teach kids sci­ence and he will be releas­ing a book along­side the album. It’s a ser­i­ous achieve­ment and his per­form­ance was fit­ting for the scale of his accom­plish­ment. Play­ing nearly every tune, spit­ting over all dif­fer­ent styles of Hip Hop’s branches – from Boom-Bap, to Trap, to Grime. He talks about God particles and black holes, and most not­able com­pares the col­li­sion of mat­ter and anti-mat­ter to rival gangs war­ring on road. Go check the album here – it’s ser­i­ous:

https://consensus1.bandcamp.com/album/concerned

After we’d been schooled about the fab­ric of the uni­verse, the band did their thing, open­ing up the mic for any artists and sing­ers in the build­ing. The stand out per­former this month was a young sis­ter with an incred­ible soul­ful voice. She goes by the name of Chinasa Vil-Brown – go find her and listen for your­self.

The judges had com­pared score sheets and the res­ults were added up, the win­ner was announced. The EOW Emcee Chal­lenge is all about con­sist­ency over the 5 rounds, and with that prin­ciple as the main factor Dr Koul came out the clear win­ner. He hadn’t made a mis­take in any part – he clearly enjoyed spit­ting to an audi­ence who could prop­erly  listen to him. He’d made a good decision to enter in the UK and now joins Men­ace Men­d­oza in the UK final.

The next heat is com­ing up this Thursday 29th June, still upstairs at The Ritzy in Brix­ton. I’ll be per­form­ing this month, show­cas­ing tracks of my new EP ‘All and Noth­ing’. Along­side me will be my brother Jack­son Turn­er, a dope emcee, act­iv­ist and sound engin­eer from New York City who has been based in Beijing for a while. Come down for some raw Hip Hop, we gon­na get the mosh pop­pin’.

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been express­ing his anti-polit­ic­al views and extend­ing his work towards defin­ing, inspir­ing and cre­at­ing last­ing change through Hip Hop for over a dec­ade. Apex has been work­ing with grass­roots and mil­it­ant organ­isa­tions, edu­cat­ing him­self and oth­ers, organ­ising and build­ing towards over­turn­ing the oppress­ive mech­an­ism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s under­ground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omni­scient. Years of earn­ing respect and enhan­cing their repu­ta­tion, which lead to col­lab­or­a­tions and work­ing rela­tion­ships with many of the scenes most prom­in­ent artists and organ­isa­tions, mani­fes­ted in the Octo­ber 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hard­core Hip Hop’ gathered inter­na­tion­al acclaim from both fans and crit­ics, fur­ther enhan­cing Apex’s repu­ta­tion as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-polit­ic­al, ‘revolu­tion­ary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been trav­el­ling out­side of the UK, seek­ing new per­spect­ives and aim­ing at enhan­cing his out­look, explor­ing dif­fer­ent soci­et­ies, con­nect­ing with Hip Hop heads, act­iv­ists and schol­ars world­wide. Like his music, his writ­ing is often an exten­sion of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whil­st enhan­cing and elev­at­ing both the cul­ture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been expressing his anti-political views and extending his work towards defining, inspiring and creating lasting change through Hip Hop for over a decade. Apex has been working with grassroots and militant organisations, educating himself and others, organising and building towards overturning the oppressive mechanism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s underground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omniscient. Years of earning respect and enhancing their reputation, which lead to collaborations and working relationships with many of the scenes most prominent artists and organisations, manifested in the October 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop’ gathered international acclaim from both fans and critics, further enhancing Apex’s reputation as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-political, ‘revolutionary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been travelling outside of the UK, seeking new perspectives and aiming at enhancing his outlook, exploring different societies, connecting with Hip Hop heads, activists and scholars worldwide. Like his music, his writing is often an extension of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whilst enhancing and elevating both the culture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.