I’ve been watching and involved with the End of the Weak MC Challenge for 10 years now and witnessed some incredible moments; Stig of the Dump and Jack Flash winning world titles against some of the best emcees in the world, heats including the likes of M9, Cyrus Malachi, Kate Tempest, Da Flyy Hooligan, King Pin, DubbleEdge, Tenchoo, Emcee Killa and more. I was even blessed to be involved in what people have called one of the best heats we’ve ever had, competing against the beast Mas Law and an emcee and beatboxer who used to go by the name Marv-ill. That man now goes by Marv Radio and can say that he has competed in another of the best – heat #3 of EOW England 2019, that went down at cHip sHop Brixton on September 8th. The line-up will start to explain just why it was so deep.
A multiple EOW England finalist and genuine lyrical monster, Menace is a member of Dark Side of the Moon and has shared stages with, battled and collaborated with some of the best Hip Hop artists in this country and beyond.
An underground legend in Birmingham, Justice is a lyricist, singer and actor, who has featured in the award-winning Hip Hop musical feature film ‘One Day’ and helped to build the Birmingham and wider UK Hip Hop scene. This sister is dangerous on the mic.
The intelligent, reflective wordsmith that is Benny Diction has been a mainstay of the UK Hip Hop scene for years, producing quality material, collaborating with important heads and reppin’ for Boom Bap Professionals
Beatboxer, beatmaker, emcee, actor – there’s not a lot this brother doesn’t do. Fresh off a run of his deeply personal one man musical theatre piece as well as co-creating the Hip Hop Palace circus event at the Underbelly festival, Marv Radio came into EOW ready to keep his momentum going.
This man needs little introduction, his achievements speak for themselves; three consecutive EOW England titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the current number two in the world after finishing only behind two-time EOW World Champion Osyris Antham last year in Paris. Gee Bag is now a genuine EOW legend as well as an established artist in his own right.
In addition to this crazy line-up, we were blessed with 3 incredible judges – Amy True, Sus Bully and DJ Shorty, who each put down their skills on the mic and decks in the judges showcase, and man like Itch FM’s DJ Maintain back in London from Uganda to run the challenge. The levels were a madness! Whoever was going to win this heat would have to fully earn their place in the 2019 EOW England Final.
The first round was no disappointment. Everyone killed it, in their own style – Menace with pure dark Boom Bap, Gee Bag with his effortless flow and charisma, Benny with deep introspection, and Marv with a lyrical journey though his view of psychedelics, dropping one of my favourite lines of the night “No rehab, I re-up, no Jihad, I’m G’d up’. BARS!! But…then came Justice. This 5 ft. woman rolled up, humble as can be imagined, singing in low, throaty tones, then when the beat dropped and she unleashed all the power of an African queen into double time bars on a grime/trap style riddim and cHip sHop went insane. Everyone fully understanding what had just happened; Justice had won the round with the bar set as high as it has been this year. It was game on.
Justice returned for round 2 with a dope acapella dedicated to her global sistrin. Lyrics were fyah, but having only decided to enter the day before, she slipped up mid-way and had to restart her bars. It wasn’t a big slip, but with competition this close, it felt like it might cost her later on. Again, the mandem all kinda did what they do – solid, lyrical performances, with maybe Gee Bag and Marv standing out for different reasons. Gee showed his experience with pure showmanship, sitting in a chair with his legs crossed, like he was talking to his grandkids, dropping wisdom about tribulations in life and music. Marv just sprayed pure fire, with relentless barrage of lyrics, changing subject and flow at will.
There was no clear leader as the field evened out as the freestyle rounds began, and again these rounds were close. Kissy K pulled out his grab bag, and everyone held it up, nobody really pulling further ahead or falling behind, except Marv Radio. The man turned the grab bag round into a party! He managed to use his items masterfully and got the crowd participating with call and response about each one, something I’ve never really seen someone do.
The DJ vs MC round was dope. Anyone who’s been to a DJ Maintain event knows this guy’s selection is A‑class. He’s a certified party DJ, and he turned the performances into a shoobs. Most of the emcees just took it like that, and had a good time flowing over Boom Bap classics, Garage, Jungle and Afrobeats. Gee Bag come different though! Having battled against DJs from all over the world, as well as our own Snuff and Jazz T, who aim to kill, he came for beef! He stuck it on Maintain, calling for the hardest beats he had and boasting it was too easy. Maintain just laughed and kept the flava coming, but Gee Bag showed again how he’d won this competition so many times.
Going into the cypher round, there was never gonna be any mistakes with a field of this calibre, and coming out the competition was close, but in my view, a clear top 2 – Gee Bag and Marv Radio. Was Gee Bag going to get back to the final and get closer to reclaiming his title, or was Marv going to steal it meaning we’d see a new champ after 3 years of Gee Bag domination? After Sus Bully shut down his set as expected and a typical EOW fire open mic, the judges handed in their scores and the winner was…Marv Radio. Everyone in the room knew it was a fair decision and paid respect to both the winner and the former champ.
Marv Radio had overcome one of the strongest rosters we’ve ever had and the current number 2 in the world. It has to make him one of the favourites going into the 2019 EOW England Final, being held on Thursday October 17that The Lock Tavern, Camden. We have the current heat winners Emerge MC and Redi in training right now, aiming to take their shot at the title and win the chance to represent in Brussels on November 2ndat the EOW World Finals, as well a crazy line-up of live acts and judges. Keep an eye on the EOW England Instagram for updates, including the line-up for our 4thand final heat at cHip shop, Brixton on Sunday October 13th.
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