Review: End Of The Weak UK (@eodub) | Heat 5

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The final heat of End of the Weak 2017 emcee chal­lenge went down on the 31st August, as Mas Law and DJ Snuff’s search for a UK cham­pi­on moved closer to its end. The last oppor­tun­ity to com­plete in the UK Final to rep the UK in the World Finals in Prague in Octo­ber up for grabs, the com­pet­i­tion was fierce. With a last minute drop out, we had three dope emcees ready to take that spot…

A Princz

Rep­res­ent­ing the Hen Daddy Whirl crew, the NW LDN emcee is a stu­dent of the art form. After hav­ing been inspired to touch mic by pir­ate radio and raves of the Gar­age scene, A Princz went back and stud­ied his pre­de­cessors and hails Rakim “the father of lyr­i­cism”, Big L, Big Pun, Big­gie, Nas and Jay Z among his influ­ences, he sets his stand­ards high. He’s also inspired by post-apo­ca­lyptic sci-fi and in his own words likes to talk about “how the world is going to shit”.

Aynz­li Jones

An inter­na­tion­ally estab­lished artist, Aynz­li Jones’ own work and his col­lab­or­a­tions with some of the biggest names in music are far reach­ing, and once you meet him you see why. This brother came through with more energy than any­one I’ve ever inter­viewed, rhym­ing his way through the con­ver­sa­tion. He trans­fers that energy onto the stage and through the mic when he per­forms with his Hip Hop/Ragga tech­nique that’s been cul­tiv­ated between King­ston, LA and Lon­don and taken him around the world.

Watusi88

 A solid, proven fig­ure of the UK Hip Hop scene and bey­ond, RU1 Fam’s Watusi88 is a true lyr­i­cist that mani­fests his bars into his life­style. A com­munity act­iv­ist and a self-described “seed of Hip Hop”, he truly loves the cul­ture and art form and rep­res­ents the com­bin­a­tion of Reg­gae, Jazz and the Roots of the cul­ture. Watusi88 has per­formed along­side and as part of some legendary musi­cians and col­lect­ives through­out the years and brings all that real­ity to the stage.

The first round kicked off with some dope double time bars over a soul­ful grime beat from Watusi88. In line with his style, but at a faster tem­po to what I know him for, the brother kicked intel­li­gent, refined rhymes with an effort­less sound­ing flow and a real catchy hook, show­ing the flex­ab­il­ity of the word ‘wag­wan’. A Princz came in over Q-Tip’s clas­sic ‘Breath and Stop’ with some crazy word­play and flow, deliv­er­ing a subtle mes­sage with­in some dope bars. Aynz­li Jones came with some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, rhym­ing to warn people about men and women who ain’t good for them. His flow rolled off his tongue with swag­ger, wit and soul and got the crowd respond­ing to the energy. The round was close as always.

The a cap­pel­la round took the level up. A Princz came in hard with a power­ful mes­sage about food and the sys­tem, and how it’s used to keep the poor unhealthy and main­tain its imbal­ance. Again, his word­play was dope and got his mes­sage across power­fully. Watusi88 did what he does! Con­scious punch­lines about change, the uni­verse, Hip Hop art, self-respect and tak­ing con­trol of our future. He makes some incred­ibly deep bars sound so easy to say. Aynz­li Jones put down some philo­soph­ic­al, intro­spect­ive bars about the road, know­ledge, hope and hope­less­ness and try­ing to keep on the path. He gave him­self a reload, kick­ing the bar of again for max­im­um impact. After the first 2 rounds, like in most of the heats this sea­son, it was too close to call – the free­style rounds would decide the win­ner.

Aynz­li Jones star­ted off the grab bag round. He rolled up with a glass of rum in his hand. Black Santa Kissy K rolled up with his grab bag told him that he needs a spear hand to grab out the bag…so Aynz­li star­ted his round rhym­ing about his glass! He kept going and killed it, using a pot, a cheese grater, a hoover and a tam­bour­ine to rhyme about grow­ing gan­ja and mov­ing up girls! The shit was dope! A Prinz did his thing too, flow­ing about incense, pas­ta, a hard drive and the high­light — a can of red stripe, that he cracked and backed! Watusi88 got back on the stage and man­aged to even use the grab bag round to drop sense. He pulled out the clas­sic kung fu film The Killer and rhymed it with ‘Man like me not a n..… you know what I was gon­na say, but man like don’t like to portay”. He took out a plug (spat about get­ting plugged out the mat­rix) and a sieve. Levels were upheld.

The next round was a change to the nor­mal sched­ule. Instead of the DJ verse emcee, ridicu­lous fin­ger drum­mer and live MPC pro­du­cer Y-ETizm came through to chal­lenge the emcees to ride over whatever he felt like play­ing. Yeti was not play­ing and fully put the emcees through their paces, speed­ing up and slow­ing down whenev­er he felt like it, chan­ging grooves and styles at will. A Princz came with rap­id flows and almost dic­tated the pace him­self, double time flows and all that. But Watusi killed it. He matched the beats Yeti threw at him with ease, nev­er really brak­ing his flow, at most may­be a split-second pause then back in and kept going a cap­pel­la for a few seconds. Expertly done. Aynz­li Jones got back on the stage and stared down the Yeti say­ing ‘damn, this is a real fight!’, but he was ready. He star­ted say­ing ‘I aint scared no beat’ and proved he wasn’t, he matched the beats, some brief pauses, but he went in, he def­in­itely held it up.

Mov­ing into the last round, the house band reas­sembled and brought some future funk sound­ing beat for the emcees to go in on. The vibe was a bit dif­fer­ent and might have thrown the man off a bit, but it wasn’t always 4 bars. Still, each man brought some­thing dif­fer­ent to the stage and the flows and lyr­ics were dope. A Princz and Aynz­li both came singing at times and there was a slight under­tone of a battle brew­ing, but it all stayed pos­it­ive and the con­test was done. It was another close heat.

While the judges added their scores, we got treat to a stripped back per­form­ance from the phe­nomen­on that is Mrisi. The emcee, sing­er and keys play­er from Brighton graced the stage and most of his per­form­ance with a just his voice and his key­board and through down incred­ibly deep lyr­ics, melod­ies, chords and tones that left every­one in the ven­ue fully locked in. The hon­esty and sin­cer­ity in his music, the blend of influ­ences and the incor­por­a­tion of his envir­on­ment into his words — espe­cially in ‘Walk’, ‘Black Lives Mat­ter’ and ‘Bite My Tongue’ — reminded me of a young Natty but with Hip Hop the dom­in­ant influ­ence instead of reg­gae. Mrisi got the crowd so into his per­form­ance that the drum­mer from the house band jumped up on stage and helped to take one of the keys only tracks into a full per­form­ance, and Mrisi insisted that if that was hap­pen­ing, there had to be a cypher. He pulled a load of emcees and sing­ers from the crowd and onto the stage and took the whole vibe to another level. It was a prop­erly impress­ive per­form­ance from a young musi­cian with a bright future.

After Mrisi had shut the place down, the judges came back with their decision and again, due largely to con­sist­ency through­out the rounds, the heat 5 win­ner and last entrant into the 2017 EOW UK Final was Watusi88. He will now go on to com­pete for the chance to rep­res­ent the UK in the 2017 World Final in Prague on Octo­ber 28th. To do that he’ll need to over­come the win­ners of the pre­vi­ous heats Men­ace Men­d­oza, Dr Koul, Emerge MC and Huski87 at the Brix­ton Hootananny on Septem­ber 15th. It’s gon­na be WILD, so make sure you reach.

 

 

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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.