The second of 2019’s End of the Weak Eng­land heats took place at a legendary Bris­tol ven­ue, the Star and Garter. In the heart of St Paul’s and the city’s Carib­bean com­munity, the walls are plastered with the names of loc­al and inter­na­tion­al legends who have graced the stage over the dec­ades. Adding to its already myth­ic­al folk­lore, this cul­tur­al hub was recently saved from clos­ure by a con­sor­ti­um of Bris­tol music lead­ers and lov­ers, with a cel­eb­ra­tion event boast­ing a line up includ­ing Dami­en Mar­ley, Dave Chapelle and Roni Size. Where bet­ter to try find the best Hip Hop emcees Bris­tol has to offer to send a rep­res­ent­at­ive to the 2019 EOW Eng­land Final.


The night opened with Kissy K play­ing a full UK Hip Hop set, fol­lowed by per­form­ances by Mas Law and myself, before DJ Snuff took over to run the MC chal­lenge. Step­ping up to com­pete for the Bris­tol title were:


A smart, witty lyr­i­cist rep­pin’ the Burns Man­or Records crew, Riski has a dope flow, energy and pres­ence on the mic, used to deliv­er his bars to the audi­ence with com­mit­ment and skill.


Anoth­er rep­res­ent­at­ive of BMR, the man has more ali­as’ than a Wu killer bee, with a good bal­ance of cock­i­ness and con­fid­ence, backed up by his lyr­ic­al ability.


Mak­ing it a BMR crew hat-trick of com­pet­it­ors, Daysa brings smart punch­lines and multis in with a flow that really catches the ear.


Hav­ing entered the wild­card cypher last year, 13E came back pre­pared to com­pete, armed with his clear ded­ic­a­tion to Hip Hop and pas­sion for rap.


DnB pro­du­cer and a psy­cho­logy stu­dent Inde­pth was a last minute replace­ment for anoth­er emcee who dropped out, but you wouldn’t have known it, with his free­style game being par­tic­u­larly on point

After the writ­ten round, you could really tell that Riski, Redi and Daysa were part of the same team. They each came with a clas­sic, dark UK boom bap style, clearly influ­enced by the likes of Taskforce and High Focus. Each emcee came with their own touch though – Redi on some hor­ror­core, Riski on a Hip Hop drunk­ies tip and Days with intel­li­gent punches – mak­ing it clear how well they would com­ple­ment each oth­er on a track. 13E came with some hard bars say­ing that he ‘…feels like Zeus’, while Inde­pth decided to free­style his whole first round, pulling it off, but it wasn’t clear if it was delib­er­at­ing or because he’d slipped up on remem­ber­ing his rhymes.

The standout moment of the night came in the acapella round, and it came from Redi. He went into a story about an abused girl try­ing to deal with her tor­ment, tor­ment­or fath­er and her inab­il­ity to cope, then fight­ing back, killing her dad then tak­ing her own life. It was intric­ately detailed but con­cise, power­ful enough to have the whole crowd listen­ing to every word before erupt­ing into shouts and applause at the end; a mas­ter­fully craf­ted piece.

With the pre­pared bars done, the free­style rounds begun. Black Santa Kissy K drew for his grab bag and tested these emcees. All the con­test­ants did well, no one slip­ping up or stand­ing out, but the same can’t be said for the DJ vs MC round. DJ Snuff dipped into his deepcrates and pulled out multi-genre bangers. 13E and Daysa got through solidly, keep­ing their flows con­sist­ent with only short gaps, while Riski and Inde­pth struggled to catch the var­ied rid­dims, show­ing just how tough this round is. Again though, it was Redi who stepped up. Even though he wasn’t com­pletely com­fort­able spit­ting out of his zone, he kept flow­ing, with one gap, where he caught his breath then went in double time, drop­ping lines that got the crowd react­ing. Going into the cypher round there was a clear win­ner, and after the emcees fin­ished going bar for bar, enjoy­ing it as they should, noth­ing happened to change the result.

With the con­test done, Redi got the win and the right to travel to Lon­don for the EOW Eng­land final on Octo­ber 17that the Lock Tav­ern in Cam­den. He’ll join heat #1 win­ner Emerge MC and the win­ner of the next two heats to com­pete to rep­res­ent Eng­land in the EOW World Final in Brus­sels on Novem­ber 4th. With heat #3 already com­plete, look out for the review on IAHH and get down to heat #4 at cHip sHop Brix­ton on Octo­ber 13thto see who’ll be in the final along­side Emerge and Redi.





Photo cred­it : Nadia Otshudi

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Apex Zero

An emcee, beat­maker, film­maker and writer from Lon­don with Gren­adian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learn­ing and liv­ing Hip Hop cul­ture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and reg­u­larly tour­ing the globe, Apex is well trav­elled, and uses the les­sons this provides to inform his art and out­look. He is a mem­ber of the Glob­al­Fac­tion digit­al pro­duc­tion house and the inter­na­tion­al Hip Hop col­lect­ive End of the Weak.

About Apex Zero

An emcee, beatmaker, filmmaker and writer from London with Grenadian roots, Apex Zero has spent his life learning and living Hip Hop culture, using it to inspire and affect change. Based in Beijing for a few years and regularly touring the globe, Apex is well travelled, and uses the lessons this provides to inform his art and outlook. He is a member of the GlobalFaction digital production house and the international Hip Hop collective End of the Weak.