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


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 68, 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:

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

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

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.