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The UK’s leading battle rap events company Don’t Flop (recently featured on Channel 4 News) is set to host a new monthly open mic and battle event in Manchester as a follow-up to its successful To The Test series.

The inaugural event of BLAM! will take place on March 20 between 8pm and 2am at the Drylive Arena on Oldham Street and will showcase not just battles but also wider aspects of hip-hop culture from various stalwarts within the Manchester independent artistic community. This will include eye-catching graffiti displays from the likes of Oh Aye Crew and The Rag & Bone Collective, masterful DJing and turntablism from the likes of Konny Kon and Taste The Difference, and an array of retro, vintage and customised hip-hop apparel from various local independent vendors on sale at the Don’t Flop Mini-Market.

An added feature of the event will be the new Don’t Hog open mic sessions which anyone with rap skills is welcome to enter and spit bars, while on the musical stage, leftfield Manchester super-group Mothership Connection will entertain the DF crowd with its unique funk-filled boom-bap sound.

Coordinated by Don’t Flop North head honcho ChroniKill, BLAM! promises to be a fresh, exciting spectacle and a clear sign the Don’t Flop brand is diversifying and ever-expanding its scope.

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Battle Predictions:

Unanymous vs Pedro
Both these emcees wear their hearts on their sleeve and show passion in abundance, so this contest promises to be heated; however I just feel Unanymous has the slight edge in terms of lyricism and will prevail over Pedro’s relentless syllabic onslaught. Unanymous.

Frisko vs Elz
This is going to be a funny one. Frisko has the sharper wit, while Elz’s blithe, dramatic pauses and incomparable swagger are sure to elicit a frenzy of hysterics from the Don’t Flop crowd. Based on Frisko’s strength for personals, I think he’ll take this, but it’ll be close. Frisko.

Bowski vs Eek
Eek delivered one of the most seamless performances I’ve ever seen in a tryout battle and thoroughly deserved to take the W in London with his well-structured verses and impactful delivery. Bowski has been consistently entertaining as a battler since joining the league, but I just feel Eek will outdo the Lancastrian both technically and performance-wise. Eek.

Micky Worthless/Jefferson Price vs Evila/Hydef
This promises to be a hotly contested two-on-two, with each side sure to go hard and prove their worth. While Micky and JP will probably be tipped as favourites, but their Warrington counterparts will be no pushovers. 17-year-old Hydef showed real potential in his tryout battle in Leeds last year, while Evila is an accomplished rhymer with clever wordplay and great structure in his verses. This could go either way, but based on stronger team dynamic I actually think the Lancashire lads will just edge this. Evila/Hydef.

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By The Ruby Kid

Any attempt to deal with the relationship between spoken-word poetry and rap must at some point collapse into semantics. What distinguishes a rap verse, delivered acappella, from a spoken-word poem? Is it “rap” when it’s on the beat, and spoken-word when not? Is “rap” distinguished by the requirement to match the cadence of the lyrics to the rhythm of the beat, and the requirement to rhyme? Where then do rappers who experiment in disjuncture between lyrics and beat, and play with assonance, consonance, and half-rhyme, fit in?

I don’t have the answers to these questions – and if I did, I don’t think I could communicate them in a single blog post. I’m just raising them to show that the distinctions between spoken-word and rap as lyrical/poetic/verse-based (there’s the semantics; take your pick) artforms are, to say the least, blurred. I think rappers should engage with the spoken-word scene, and I think poets should engage with hip-hop.

What I can try and do in this blog post is provide an extremely cursory introduction to some exciting stuff that’s going on, and speak about some areas where I think the hip-hop scene could learn from its spoken-word scene cousin.

Despite the great work that initiatives like Brighton’s “Poets vs MCs” clash have done to bring the poetry and hip-hop scenes into active, face-to-face engagement with each other, and despite Mark Grist’s admirable work in the battle scene right now, there’s still a lot of prejudice. I think a lot of hip-hop heads’ image of spoken-word still looks a lot like this, and in the poetry scene there’s still a lot of tired, hackneyed misconceptions about hip-hop being all about “guns, bitches and bling.”

Although poetry is hardly a mass cultural pursuit, spoken-word scenes are burgeoning in the UK and there’s almost certainly something exciting going on right in your back yard. London is the hub for a lot of what’s going on right now. Again, that’s not a value judgement, just a recognition of where things are at. There’s plenty of dope stuff going on outside the capital – Bournemouth’s Freeway Poets, Nottingham’s Mouthy Poets and Sheffield’s Word Life are just three off the top of my head. Hammer & Tongue and Apples & Snakes also run events across the country. But London’s where I’m at right now so I’ll write on what I know.

Regular nights like Chill Pill, Bang Said The Gun, Wordamouth, Kid, I Wrote Back, Tongue Fu, Come Rhyme With Me and many more showcase an incredibly diverse range of poetic talent. Importantly, most have an open mic attached. As someone with a foot in both camps, so to speak, this is an area in which I think the hip-hop scene could learn from the poetry scene. Although London does play host to some great regular hip-hop open mics (Fat Gold Chain, Lyricists Lounge and Don’t Flop’s new “Don’t Hog” event, for instance), the atmosphere there is highly competitive. That’s not a bad thing; that’s always been an aspect of hip-hop and the same culture exists in poetry too in the form of slams. But the spoken-word scene is also home to open mic events where aspiring writers can test out new material, hone their stage skills and get some constructive feedback in a supportive environment. If an equivalent exists in the rap scene, I haven’t encountered it yet.

Spoken-word artist Raymond Antrobus.

Something else I think the spoken-word scene does incredibly well that hip-hop could learn from is stylistic diversity. At a spoken-word night in London you might encounter Rachel Rose Reid (a poet, singer and storyteller whose performance subtly weaves different folkloric traditions together) performing alongside Anthony Anaxagorou, an intense writer and performer who writes about, among other things, the history of modern racism. You can catch Raymond Antrobus, whose back-catalogue includes heartfelt poems about his grandmother as well as Dali-esque image-scapes about surreal dreamworlds, holding it down alongside Bridget Minamore, speaking on Palestinian rights, Häagen-Dazs ice-cream and hiding from boys at house parties (sometimes in the same poem). You’ll find artists like the Musa Okwonga/Giles Hayter collaboration The King’s Will and Joshua Idehen (of Benin City) conducting experiments in poetry and sound. You’ll find Simon Mole and Polarbear writing one-man spoken-word shows and selling out theatres.

There’s a kind of official, sanctioned diversity in the hip-hop scene which often feels incredibly sterile. You can rap how you like, as long as you fit into one of a series of pre-determined boxes – “conscious” rapper, “street” rapper, “comedy” rapper, “horrocore” rapper…

The poetry scene has its formulae and dogma too but it’s incredibly rare to hear anyone claim that they write “real” poetry, whereas everyone else doesn’t. Flip that up and think about how many times you’ve heard a rapper claim that they make “real” hip-hop, and everyone else is “fake”. If you’re a rapper who finds that kind of artistic dogmatism and conservatism tiresome and cosseting, you should think about venturing the way of your nearest poetry open mic.

Something else I think the poetry scene has up on the hip-hop scene is its political culture around gender and sexuality. Put bluntly, there are more women and LGBT people involved in the poetry scene – both as artists and in other capacities – than there are in the hip-hop scene. I think that’s a good thing. If you think the hegemony of straight men over the rap scene is something to be maintained, then we need to have a different discussion. But if you think it’d be good if that hegemony was challenged, then a closer engagement between the hip-hop scene and the spoken-word scene is at least a potential way to begin doing that.

The kind of crossover and engagement that I’m talking about already happens in an incidental way. I’ve played a hip-hop set at Chill Pill, and Mystro’s playing there in March. Poets like Simon Mole, Polarbear and John “Berko” Berkavitch can rock a track as well as a page. Scroobius Pip is signed to Sage Francis’s record label, Kate Tempest is selling out tours with her band, Taskforce vet Chester P is gigging with a spoken-word set now and Akala is equally at home smashing an SB.TV F64 as he is schooling people about Shakespeare (his “Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company” show has a nice bit in it where he reads out various snippets of verse and asks the audience to guess whether they come from Shakespeare or a rap lyric. The answers are always surprising).

This article has been written for hip-hop heads. I didn’t quite intend this when I started writing it but it’s ended up being a mild polemic for why rappers should engage with the spoken-word scene (I added the title retrospectively). Certainly, I could write an equivalent article that shoots in the other direction; there are still an awful lot of hang-ups and prejudices, some of them latently racist and a lot of them classist, in the poetry world about hip-hop, grime and other lyrical artforms. They need challenging too.

Personally I’m pretty libertarian in my attitudes to art; ultimately I think people should make the art they want to make and we shouldn’t put restrictions on it by insisting on dividing everything up by “genre”, “scene” or even form. But while such divisions exist, I think we can help create a better, more liberating artistic culture by trying to erode them by dynamic engagements between artforms and artistic communities that, to return to the point that opened this article, already have a great deal in common.

The engagement won’t be seamless. Of course there’ll be tensions, clashes and contradictions; that’s fine. In fact, a lot of the time, that’s where the best art gets made.

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The Ruby Kid is a hip-hop artist and poet based in London, but originally from Nottingham (via Sheffield, and with roots in New York’s Jewish community). On Monday 19 March he will host, and perform at, Out-Spoken at Proud Galleries, Camden. “Out-Spoken” is a showcase of some of London’s best spoken-word and hip-hop talent, featuring Anthony Anaxogorou (with Godfly), Raymond Antrobus, Nia Barge, Brotherman, Nate, and The King’s Will.

Flyer Art by Sam Ridgeway (Twitter @samgrafix)

Having produced a slew of consistently slick, well-organised events, Don’t Flop North really stands out as being the most prolific of all the Don’t Flop regional divisions. Quite deservedly, the division is ending the successful year it’s had on a high with the final installment of its popular To The Test series.

To The Test 9 falls on 5th November and, fittingly for bonfire night, it promises to go over with a bang, with some intriguing and quite unexpected match-ups going down.

To acknowledge all the hard work that Chronicle, Eurgh and Cruger have each put in to provide us all with this superb free hip-hop entertainment, here is my own small contribution to the league in the form of battle predictions. So, here goes nothing…

JACK FLASH vs DEPTHS

With his charismatic stage presence and sharp-witted delivery, I’ve always reckoned Jack Flash to be a potentially great battle emcee — and lo and behold he’s finally decided to step up to the plate to battle Glaswegian emcee Depths. A really interesting mix of styles will be at play here, with Depths known for his aloof, nonchalant swagger but intricate and clever wordplay, while Jack Flash will presumably favour a more direct, personal approach. Despite having no prior experience in the Don’t Flop arena, I’m taking an unlikely punt on the West Yorkshireman, simply based on his better-suited and more battle-orientated emceeing attributes. Jack Flash.

SHOTTY HORROH vs DISCIPLE

This one certainly promises to be THE battle of the day. Featuring two up-and-coming battlers and undisputed heavyweights of the Northern hip-hop scene, it will see these two emcees collide in a veritable frenzy of punchline lyricism. Even if you aren’t overly enamoured of Shotty’s egotism, you can’t deny the guy will probably beat ten shades out of most emcees these days when it comes to sheer rapping ability. While he’s yet to prove himself as a worthy top-tier opponent in the battle arena, he is showing the unbridled ambition to eventually become one. Likewise Disciple, who is an established Don’t Flop competitor, is surely now gunning for a top spot in the league and will want to seize on this superb opportunity to beat someone of Horroh’s stature. The outcome of this battle will be largely dependent on who wants the victory more, and I have a definite hunch the NSR founder will prove the hungrier of the two emcees. Disciple.

MATTER vs GASP

Matter has really put his city on the map of late, especially by helping in the organisation of a long overdue Don’t Flop event in Leeds, which brought with it a whole host of new emcees and upcoming battling talent. His performances have also been consistently brilliant since he made his Don’t Flop debut at the tryouts earlier in the year, right the way through to his last performance at the aforementioned Leeds event against Pamflit – a performance which was easily the high point of his battling career so far. It will be interesting to see how Being MC and Glaswegian rhymer Gasp will fare as a solo emcee against a formidable top-tier competitor like Matter, and I think this could definitely be an intense and hotly contested encounter. That said, I’ll err on the side of caution, and play it safe on the prediction. Matter.

FRISKO vs PAMFLIT

Arguably the more charismatic half of his drum and bass/ battle rap comedy duo with Eddie P, Manchester-based Frisko should be an interesting prospect as a solo battler. A comedy match-up with the in-form Pamflit is very befitting and will provide some light relief in an otherwise intense set of fixtures, with both emcees sure to elicit plentiful and frenzied laughter. Based on his experience in the league, as well as his better-honed technical skill, I’m opting for the burly man girl that is Pamflit.

BRIGGZY vs PSEUDONYM

In my opinion, Prison Planet representative Pseudonym is woefully underrated in Don’t Flop — his gritty, hard-nosed approach to battling combined with his knack for degrading opponents by accentuating their inadequacies is truly refreshing, especially in a scene where many battlers are so wrapped up in their own egos that they’ve lost the true proving-ground mentality of an emcee battle. In Briggzy, Pseudonym has a credible and skillful opponent who will no doubt challenge him to the hilt; however, so long as he doesn’t have any slip ups like he did in his last battle with Amos, I see no reason why the Darwen emcee can’t prevail. Pseudonym.

EVILA Vs TOKEN

This one should be a very evenly matched affair — and with both emcees looking to improve their respective statuses in the league, it also promises to be hotly contested. This battle’s outcome will ultimately be decided on who really brings their A-game, but if I’d have to pick a winner, I’d settle on the more forceful Warrington rhymer. Evila.

DILLIGENT FINGERS Vs KAYCE ONE

Although we haven’t seen him since To The Test Part 4, Millenium Jazz affiliate and all-round nice bloke Dilligent Fingers is an enduring and firm favourite with the Don’t Flop crowd. With endless charisma, his competitor, Scotland’s Kayce One – who by the way, is a very solid emcee and a competent battler -will still have to go some distance to beat him, especially in his hometown of Manchester. Diligent Fingers.

J TOKER Vs NITY GRITZ

After getting verbally mauled by Loki earlier this year, Edinburgh-based Nity Gritz will really have to step his game up if he’s to stand up to NSR’s J Toker. Unless radical changes are made to his style and approach, I can’t genuinely see him making his Blackpool opponent take an L on this occasion. J Toker.

*2 on 2*

CHRONICLE/ELZ Vs MISTA BEE/TEKNIQUE

Another England v Scotland clash, this time in the form of a 2-on-2 pitting Manchester representatives Chronicle and Elz against Mista Bee and Teknique (a name you’ll probably only have come across if you’ve kept tabs on the Scottish battle scene during the past year). Mista Bee by contrast has actually performed in a couple of Don’t Flop battles in his native Scotland and has, for the most part, held his own despite perhaps lacking potency in his overall delivery. With the home-field advantage being an obvious factor, and in addition to having more experience as battlers, the rather offbeat Mancunian pairing are certainly better poised to outdo their Scottish opposition. Chronicle/Elz.

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*D.J’s*

Konny Kon // Bottomless Crates

* Live performance by CHRIS LEESE (“Everybody Hates Chris” album set)

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+ Barbeque

Hats & kicks: Snapback stall

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Date: Saturday 5th November

Time: 1PM – 7PM

Venue: Saki Bar, 2 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M1 5TP

Entry: £5 (All ages)

Don’t Flop continues to represent the Northern region to the fullest with the eighth installment of the To The Test series, coupled with the semi-final of the Times Change competition in Manchester. Additionally, they’ve laid on an unprecedented retail space at the event for independent traders to promote their brand and wares and to attract new customers. As ever, props to all the Don’t Flop staff responsible for putting on these events which continue to garner new fans as well impress those loyal to the cause of UK battle rap. As my own small contribution to the event, here are my predictions for the day’s battles:

*TIMES CHANGE NORTHERN SEMI- FINAL*

Chris Leese vs Suus

With his Battlescars accolade and a wealth of battle rap experience behind him, it would seem, on paper at least, that Chris Leese really ought to take the W on this occasion. That said, Geordie wunderkind Suus is a force to be reckoned with and comes with consistently clever bars that display a maturity well beyond his tender years. For this prediction, I’m going against the grain by rooting for the underdog – after all isn’t this competition all about proving your mettle? Suus.

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*MAIN EVENTS*

Unanymous vs Joker Starr

Joker Starr’s performance back in May at Don’t Flop’s North vs South event in Nottingham really showed a beastly side to his battle rap persona and subsequently he went up in many people’s estimations. This will be a clash of styles, with Unanymous boasting a forceful, in-your-face approach versus Joker Starr’s kookier, off kilter swagger. Personally however, I just feel Unanymous’ killer instinct will prevail in this particular clash. Unanymous.

Soul vs Matter

Verbal Contact’s Matter is one of Don’t Flop’s cleverest emcees, mixing intricate references, comedy and worplay into one of the most compelling packages. Soul thrusts a lot of information at the audience and rivals Stowaway as Don’t Flop’s thinking-man’s emcee. This in my opinion, could be one of the most contested and intense battles of the day, provided of course, that Soul really brings his A-game because I really felt he lacked venom in his recent two-on-two with Unanymous in Brighton. On that basis, and for the fact he has more stylistic variety in his verses, I’m opting for the West Yorkshireman. Matter.

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Elz vs Pedro

With boundless enthusiasm and limitless energy levels, Pedro will provide a marked stylistic polarity with Elz, who favours a more blithe and laid-back funnyman approach. Though I’m certain both emcees will bring their A-game, this one will, I think, ultimately come down to preference. Not taking anything away from Elz because he’s truly hilarious, but in my opinion Pedro’s relentless delivery and lyricism are genuinely deserving of more merit. Pedro.

Jefferson Price vs Token

Although he lacked overall consistency, Token showed real promise in his battle with Tony D and will look to bolster his reputation by providing a stellar challenge to Brown Bag AllStar, Jefferson Price. This one could be very close indeed, but, for the sake of this prediction, I’m playing it safe by opting for the more confident DF newcomer from Scarborough. Digga.

Evileyz vs Micky Worthless

N.S.R’s Evileyz is, in my opinion, one of Don’t Flop’s best comedians — and so indeed is Micky Worthless. Both emcees are sure to elicit a frenzy of laughter from the Manchester crowd, but simply based on his number of recent appearances, I’m going to Micky Worthless is better poised to take the W. Micky.

Bowski vs Ben Karlow

Larger-than-life Bowski favours a surprisingly effective and unelaborate comedic style which has thus far entertained us Don’t Flop fans to the hilt. Fellow Lancastrian Ben Karlow arguably displays better technical variety and structure in his verses, but I’m almost certain that the endless charisma of the big man will fill in any gaps in his style and cede the spotlight. Bowski.

DPF vs J1

Despite the fact he lost, Norwich veteran rhymer DPF had an excellent battle with Don’t Flop’s emerging star, Lunar C, so it’s great to see him battling again. Sheffield emcee J1 delivers an hilarious array of rapid-fire one-liners but for me at least, he lacks the technical edge that DPF displays. Given this is an emcee battle, and not just merely comedy stand-off, I’m going for the old-schooler. DPF.

Appeal vs Fame

Perhaps not the most earth-shattering contest of the day, I’d imagine both emcees will feel they will have a point to prove and hopefully they’ll provide a gritty and dogged contest in which to engross the audience. Fame out of Manchester has been steadily improving, while Appeal is reasserting his status in Don’t Flop after a relatively long hiatus. I’m unsure which way this will go, so based on home-field advantage, I’m tentatively settling on Fame.

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+ LIVE GRAFFITI:

Walter Ego & Synapz “Oh Aye Crew”

(All Graffers welcome, just bring your own paints)

BARBEQUE

LIVE P.A’s:

D’Lyfa Reilly 

Nity Gritz & Silvertongue

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DJ’s:

Konny Kon (Broke ‘n’ £nglish)

Toni Smoke (Shadow People)

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STALLS:

The Little Lemon Cakery

Standby Mcr

The Hip Hop Chip Shop

Candy Scent

Shotta TV

Leigh Harris

Hats and Kicks – American Sportswear

Official event sponsors:

ESM Clothing, You Naughty Monsters, Water gwaan.

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Time: SATURDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER,1-7PM

Venue: Saki Bar, 2 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M14 5TP.

Entry: £5

To The Test, Don’t Flop North’s premier battle event returns for its 7th installment this weekend. Featuring an array of emcees eager to seize the opportunity to prove their worth in the league, TTT#7 is set to be an action-packed competitive fixture despite an absence of top-tier competitors.

A special shout out goes to Chronicle for setting up this event and for his continued commitment to the Don’t Flop movement.

PREDICTIONS

TIMES CHANGE: NORTH QUARTER FINALS

CHRIS LEESE VS RO JISTA

Maxonian funnyman Chris Leese never ceases to amaze, and occasionally even bewilder us with his sheer flamboyancy and presence, and his defeat of Matter will no doubt stand him in great stead to take the W from this one. However, Ro Jista has equally proven himself as a firm fan favourite, and ably straddles that fine gap between being both entertaining and technical. This should be an extremely close battle, but I’m going to be bold and take a punt on the honorary Scouser. RO JISTA.

SUUS VS JEFFERSON PRICE

This promises to be a very even contest. Newcastle-based Suus has held his own against some stern competition in recent battles, and has duly proven to have ability and maturity beyond his tender years. The ascent of Brown Bag AllStars affiliate Jefferson Price in the battle scene has been just as impressive, and I think both stand on a pretty equal footing in terms of DF ranking. That said, I still feel Jefferson’s charisma and wry comedic sensibilities will ultimately give him the edge on Saturday. JP.

TTT#7 BATTLES

FRISKO/EDDIE P VS MATTER/LUNAR C

Despite being a recent addition to the Don’t Flop family, having hitherto only competed in two battles, YouTube commenters are already calling for Bradford-based Sinoptic member Lunar C to face off against some of the league’s most established vets. Testament to his skills, he’s now pairing up with one of Don’t Flop’s other up-and-comers out of the Leeds/Bradford conurbation, Matter. The pairing is a tantalizing one, and undeniably they’ll each deliver on wordplay, lyricism and humour and combine to potentially lethal effect. Manchester drum and bass emcee duo Frisko and Eddie P deliver on character and comedy, but they have their work cut out if they’re to stand a chance against these two. MATTER/LUNAR C.

ELZ VS MICKY WORTHLESS

I predict this one to be the fan favourite of the day. Traveling with a bummy swagger, but infinitely charming with it, Micky Worthless is an excellent showman in his battles, despite occasionally lacking poise and consistency. Similarly, Elz elicits frenzied crowd reactions with his dramatic pauses and farcical imagery, but on the day, I think it could really go either way. Seen as his pedigree has been somewhat boosted by his recent participation in JumpOff’s recent 2-on-2 battle competition, which saw him team up with LNC and beat WRC veterans Arkaic and Eurgh, I’m playing it safe and opting for Elz.

BLIZZARD VS H-BOMB

Having been working tirelessly to forge a potentially huge career in the music industry, whilst recently appearing on several high-profile freestyle videos (most notably for Word on Road TV), and simultaneously receiving daps from some of the grime scene’s biggest stars, it’s remarkable how Mancunian emcee/producer Blizzard manages to squeeze in the odd Don’t Flop battle to his busy schedule; but lo and behold, he’s diving head first into the arena, this time to square off against one of Don’t Flop’s two resident female emcees, H-Bomb. Despite a shaky start to his battling career, in addition to enduring a vile and crass hate campaign on YouTube, Blizzard still managed to keep a level head and was vindicated in his last performance against Decoy earlier this year. That said, I still think Aussie emcee H-Bomb will ultimately prevail simply based on her previous performances and her stronger presence overall .H-Bomb.

PAMFLIT VS PHIZZLE

Though it’s technically a male vs female match-up, this one’s perhaps less a battle of the sexes, and more a battle of effeminacy. But don’t be fooled by these two; they are more than certain to combine with such lyrical fury to leave any robust alpha male whimpering in a corner. Indeed, Pamflit has been prolific in Don’t Flop and has built substantial momentum with a string of W’s to his name, and despite being out-classed by Deffinition at the recent North vs South event, I still think he’ll be able to show to us just why he has enjoyed such a flying start to his battling career. Pamflit.

K-SNATCH VS FAME

Cork emcee K-Snatch debuted at To The Test’s first event in Manchester earlier this year where he battled the aforementioned Pamflit, and put in a credible performance despite taking the L. He’ll return to the UK with a renewed sense of confidence and purpose, having been pro-active in DFI and having ascended its ranks with his superb flows and delivery earning him multiple wins in recent battles. Fame’s debut at TTT5 was disappointing in terms of crowd engagement, though not without promise, but he’ll have to improve upon his delivery and style to prevail in this. K-Snatch.

THE CALCIUM KID VS EVILA

Although Evila’s latest performance at Nottingham’s North vs South event was a little below par by his own avowed high standards, the Warrington rhymer still took the W – testament to his persistence and raw talent. He’ll no doubt be eager to redeem himself by winning this one, and I can’t see The Calcium Kid really standing in his way either. EVILA (easily).

J TOKER VS ANALYST

The last time Manchester-based emcee and Tactical Thinking member Analyst appeared in a Don’t Flop battle was back when Oshea was deriding Lego for wearing red shoes. Having both worked with Manchester producer/beatmaker extraordinaire Pro P, both Analyst and his opponent, NSR’s J Toker, will have some interesting words to exchange with one another. However the latter has far the greater experience under his belt in Don’t Flop, and for that reason I can’t see him losing this one with impunity. J Toker.

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+ FREESTYLE BATTLES 

TTT RAFFLE GIVEAWAY: 

Win drinks vouchers, clothing and more.!!

DJ’S:

KONNY KON

QUANTIZE

ROB FURY

BENNY E

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TIME & DATE

Saturday 13th August
Doors open: 1-7pm
Battles start: 1:30 pm

VENUE

Saki Bar
2 Wilmslow Rd
Rusholme
Manchester
M14 5TP

PRICE

£5 entry

OFFICIAL EVENT SPONSORS

ESM CLOTHING

HIP HOP KINGS

HATS AND KICKS

YOU NAUGHTY MONSTERS

On the 25th June, the UK’s premier rap battle league Don’t Flop heads to the Steel City for the first time in almost two years. This time it’s hosting part 6 of the To The Test series as well as the first round of the Times Change Tournament. Featuring a jam-packed line-up full of guaranteed classics, this promises to be one of Don’t Flop’s most exciting events to date. But which battlers will come out  on top? Here are my predictions:

PRINCE KONG VS SENSA

After a brief hiatus from battling, Don’t Flop heavyweight Sensa returns to the arena, this time against Rum Committee’s Prince Kong, who’s been steadily advancing his status after a win against JollyJay and, more recently, a very close battle with UK hip-hop mainstay Verb T. With a certain grudge element to this one, it’s sure to be a heated affair with two aggressive and uncompromising styles colliding with lyrical fury. While Prince Kong is certainly the underdog, he does have more battles under his belt in recent months and will no doubt be keen to grasp a prime opportunity to prove his worth against one of Don’t Flop’s elite. However, I’m going to play it safe for this prediction and say Sensa will take the W. SENSA.

PSYCHOSIS HOLOCHAUST VS H-BOMB

Prison Planet founder Psychosis Holochaust has been making waves with his musical endeavours of late, and it’s great to see him batting again. Off the back of a her W against fellow female spitter Sigourney Phizzle, H-Bomb certainly has the momentum, but I just feel Sheffield representative Psychosis’ combination of experience and raw aggression will see him triumph. PH.

FLEX DIGITS VS GIZMO

Another Don’t Flop mainstay who hasn’t battled in a while, Flex Digits’ return will be a welcome one for those who enjoy his ruthless, punchline-heavy approach. The Prison Planet frontman’s consistently stellar performances — including when he lost to Oshea — have perhaps been overlooked for a while, so I think it’s high-time he reasserts himself as one of Don’t Flop’s deserved top tier. I predict this to be quite an even encounter, with Gizmo ascending the Don’t Flop ranks after some good performances. The North vs South dimension to this is sure add to the battle’s intensity, but I think the North will just edge this. FLEX DIGITS.

RIDZ VS ELZ

After a shaky start to his Don’t Flop career, Manchester emcee Elz has been really finding his feet of late and consistently entertains the crowd with his suspenseful pauses and farcical humour. Ridz will have to up his game if he is to stand a chance against the clear favourite. ELZ.

FRISKO VS NATE

Despite coming from different musical backgrounds, there are obvious stylistic similarities between these two emcees when it comes to battling. Both are consistent crowd-pleasers with their chirpy brands of humour and comic delivery, and this promises to be one of the most even encounters of the day. That said, I think Nate’s pedigree will stand him in better stead in this one. NATE.

THE CALCIUM KID VS APPEAL

This battle marks the return of Appeal — one of the earliest additions to the Don’t Flop North movement. While The Calcium Kid can definitely match him for humour, Appeal’s more relentless, personal style is sure to engage the crowd more. APPEAL.

J1 VS SKETCH

Norwich emcee Sketch brings a humorous everyman aesthetic and swagger to his battles, and J1 produces consistently hilarious bars. This should be a funny one, but based on previous performances, I think the Steel City representative’s composure should carry him through. J1.

LUNAR C VS DPF

After an impressive debut at To The Test #5’s only tryout battle, Don’t Flop’s Bradford representative Lunar C will be looking to capitalise on his initial success. Son Records affiliate and UK vet DPF also showed real promise in his first two battles and adopts a similarly witty approach to that of his opponent. However, with more punchlines-per-capita punnery, I think Lunar C will take this one. LUNAR C.

Times Change Tournament (Round 1)

MATTER VS CHRIS LEESE

Verbal Contact emcee Matter is a real Don’t Flop up-and-comer with his clever lyrical style, so it should be great to see him go up against an established battler like Chris Leese. This one could easily go either way, but if I were to tentatively pick a winner I’d say Chris Leese – his presence and energetic style might just edge this. CHRIS LEESE.

SOUL VS RO JISTA

Don’t Flop Scotland’s only representative at TTT #6, Soul is a consistent and clever lyricist who’ll provide some stubborn competition to Liverpool representative (but London-raised) Ro Jista. Ro travels with the more confident swagger and the bigger personality, plus I think his lyricism is just as sharp. RO JISTA.

JEFFERSON PRICE VS BOWSKI

Fresh out of their battles at North vs South in Nottingham, both of these emcees have burst onto the scene in recent months and are rapidly building their reputations. Bowski has the rapidfire comedic style, while Brown Bag AllStars member Jefferson Price has the complex schemes and lyrical dexterity. But who’s style will prevail? Personally, I’ve an inkling Bowski will pip Digga to the post. BOWSKI (just).

SUUS VS CLICK

This should be an interesting one; two Geordies squaring off on neutral ground. After receiving a baptism of fire when he faced ex-WRC ’07 partner MA at Blood in the Water 4 a few months back, Click will no doubt be eager to grasp at a chance to redeem himself. That said, Suus won’t give him an easy time and I can’t honestly envisage the young emcee losing. SUUS.

TIME AND DATE:

1-7PM, Saturday 25th June

VENUE:

Sawa Bar (next door to the O2 arena)
25-29 Arundle Gate
SHEFFIELD
S1 2PN

PRICE

£5 entry

OFFICIAL SPONSORS

You Naughty Monsters 

Dark Vibe Streetwear

Shuriken Media

Prison Planet Records

Deva One Photography