Review: End Of The Weak UK (@eodub) HEAT 3 featuring Apex Zero (ME) Live!

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This review’s gon­na be kinda mad…it’s kinda of my own event! 29th June 2017 marked the third heat of the End of the Weak UK 2017 emcee chal­lenge upstairs at The Ritzy cinema Brix­ton. I think we can call this round the vet­er­ans heat! Three of the emcees in the chal­lenge I’ve been watch­ing and cypher­ing with since I first came on the scene and the oth­er, if not as well known in Lon­don, has def­in­itely been hon­ing the craft for a while.

1 – 2xpli­cit

One of my first exper­i­ences of a real, under­ground, UK Hip Hop event was one of the early Speak­ers Corners – those legendary nights that would even­tu­ally become the plat­form for EOW UK. On that night, one of the standout lyr­i­cists on the open mic was a brother called 2xpli­cit. Pro­found con­tent delivered with­in tech­nic­al, care­fully con­struc­ted flows and word­play was what shone light on him that night and has for over 10 years. Also an accom­plished free­styler and deep thinker my money was on 2X to take the win, but it wasn’t ever gon­na be easy…

2 – Emerge MC

Another brother I’ve known for a long time, the Ginger Gen­er­al aka Emerge MC has a rich his­tory in our scene. One of the earli­est mem­bers of the People’s Army and hardest work­ing sol­diers, he has pro­duced a lot of con­tent of the years and is always unashamedly him­self. He has been bat­tling since the begin­ning of his jour­ney and has become more and more accom­plished in both his song­craft and clash­ing in recent times. He just became the Battle Scars 2017 cham­pi­on and he said before the event that he was look­ing to do the double by tak­ing the EOW title too.

3 – Deekay

Another reg­u­lar mem­ber of the EOW, Battle Scars and open mic scene of Lon­don for years, DeeKay is an emcee with a long rela­tion­ship with bat­tling and free­styl­ing. As Mas Law will nev­er stop telling you, she’s one of the best to ever do the grab bag round. Hav­ing killed the round on so many occa­sions, she uses her quick wit, insight and lack of shits to give to make the crowd react every time. Deekay has pro­duced a lot of good tracks over the years and has also been fea­tured in TV doc­u­ment­ar­ies.

4 – John Clarke

After being born and raised in dif­fer­ent parts of South Amer­ica for the early part of his life, John Clarke’s fam­ily even­tu­ally settled in the UK and he now lives in Brighton. He first dis­covered Hip Hop listen­ing to Run Dmc as a small child as he played and caught the vibe instantly. Since that day he’s known he wanted to write lyr­ics and he has been work­ing on his per­son­al ver­sion of Hip Hop and spoken word poetry ever since.

With this cal­ib­re of chal­lenger, you’d expect the stand­ard to be high and the emcees held up that expect­a­tion. There wasn’t much to choose between any of them in the writ­ten round. 2xpli­cit came with some soul­ful, insight­ful vibes (man even sang!), Deekay kicked a jokes verse about her neigh­bour who’s a crazy bitch, while John Clarke showed why he shouldn’t be under­es­tim­ated in this line up of vets. Emerge took the round though, with a deep track about bat­tling him­self and his inner demons, talk­ing about a side of him­self that he’s spent his adult life try­ing to con­trol.

The a cap­pel­la round was the best of the heat, show­ing just how good these emcees are. Each one was so dope I wouldn’t say there was a win­ner. Deekay star­ted it off spit­ting with her with her sig­na­ture wit and punch­lines, flip­ping up her into double time and back. The verse was straight bars but she touched on sub­jects, the most inter­est­ing being her dis­like for the term ‘fem­cee’. Emerge put the type of polit­ic­al com­ment­ary he’s known for as a People’s Army mem­ber, explain­ing his views out on the fuckry done by the sys­tem that’s oppress­ing us and cri­tiquing our own atti­tudes and action in try­ing to com­bat those issues. John Clarke took us on a deep, dark trip into his memor­ies and per­son­al his­tory – spit­ting in a folk-poet style to delve into his psyche and show it to the world. 2xpli­cit took the mic and opened with the expres­sion ‘you are love’ before describ­ing the inter­con­nec­ted­ness of human­ity and the uni­verse and what that means for indi­vidu­al­ism and col­lect­iv­ism. It was a ser­i­ous round and prop­erly showed that we had prop­er lyr­i­cists in this heat.

Black Santa Kissy K hit the stage for the grab bag round…and shit went down! John Clarke and 2xpli­cit did their thing, had no prob­lems and man­aged to hold the levels up, but Dee Kay showed why she is a mas­ter of this round. With every item she kicked a punch­line that kept the crowd laugh­ing – the best being about a car­rot and a dildo! She was only out­done by Emerge, who was in is ele­ment. The Ginger Gen­er­al in full geezer-rap­per mode used the items per­fectly, rip­ping into Kissy and him­self and had the whole crowd bus­sing up. The best part came with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass, with Emerge say­ing it’s what ladies need to see Kissy’s…manhood! Killed it.

The next 2 rounds kept the stand­ard high, Jazz T suc­cess­fully try­ing to trip up the chal­lengers in the DJ vs Emcee round. Jazz is the best/worst at this, but all the emcees handled it and nobody chocked or gave up. The cypher round was dope, with again no one really stand­ing out – just 4 dope emcees free­styl­ing off each other’s last word, with a lot got said about Deekay and Emerges ginger hair! The con­test was ser­i­ous and extremely close, and like heat 1, it showed just how good this con­test is when you have this level of par­ti­cip­at­ing emcees.

While the judges com­pared their score­cards, myself, Apex Zero, hit the stage to per­form tracks from my upcom­ing EP ‘All and Noth­ing’. Along­side me were my brother OMeza Omni­scient from First and Last and a brother who’d flown in from Beijing to be part of the show – NY nat­ive Jack­son Turn­er. Now I’m not the kinda dude to be writ­ing about how dope I am or how lit my show was…so I’m just gon­na say I was happy with how it went down. The ven­ue was full of fam­ily and sup­port­ers who got involved, which I love, and I received beau­ti­ful energy from the crowd – espe­cially dur­ing my new tracks ‘21st Cen­tury Enslave­ment’ and soon to be released ‘Fly­ing High’. My broth­ers both killed their parts, with OMeza per­form­ing on ‘Key to Our Sur­viv­al’ and Jack­son join­ing me on ‘Fly­ing High’ and our next col­lab­or­a­tion ‘Face the Morn­ing Sun’ that’ll fea­ture on his new pro­ject. Look out for videos from both those tracks com­ing soon on Glob­al Fac­tion, and the EP ‘All and Noth­ing’ that will be released soon on Design Chaos and DB Bros Records.

After our per­form­ance the res­ults were announced. Sim­il­arly to heat 1, where the level was equally high, the scores were ridicu­lously close. Each emcee had been con­sist­ent, which is the key to win­ning this chal­lenge, so with that point made, it was about who had stood out the most in each round. The win­ner was rightly Emerge MC. He’d taken more rounds than any­one else and had shown just how much he has matured as an emcee and an artist. He now fully owns his polit­ic­al-geezer per­sona and can move between ser­i­ous top­ics and com­edy like it’s noth­ing. He won a really dif­fi­cult heat here, and has put him­self in a great pos­i­tion to win EOW UK 2017 – what he describes as UK Hip Hop’s Cham­pi­ons League. He’s def­in­itely at that level and this per­form­ance proved it.

The next heat, which was actu­ally per­formed before this was pub­lished (due to time con­straints – I was tour­ing China fam…low me!), fea­tured an EP launch from Frshrs and another dope line up of emcees on July 27th. It’s too late to say make sure you reach, but def­in­itely check out the review and foot­age com­ing soon.

The fifth heat will be on August 31st back at the Ritzy and the 2017 EOW UK final – with the line up for the cli­max of the UK EOW Sea­son shap­ing up to be dope as fuck – will be on Septem­ber 15th at Hootanany, Brix­ton.

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent below.
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.