Takeover Freestyle Battle returns Feb. 19
Even as hip-hop settles into its fifth decade, the concept of the battle—for respect, for the mic, for recognition above all comers—has remained central in the culture. Here in Milwaukee, battles have played a pivotal role in boosting the scene, most notably the Miltown Beatdown, which has pitted dozens of the city’s best DJs against one another and pushed them to greater creative heights for the past several years.
For the Takeover Freestyle Battle, a series of competitions taking place this spring that continues Feb. 19 at Stonefly, organizer DJ Bizzon is looking to incorporate the whole spectrum of hip-hop culture, with breakers and taggers performing alongside MCs and DJs.
“I see so many events such as CD releases, and of course DJs are spinning every night, but I feel for so long the artists and B-boys and B-girls have been forgotten,” Bizzon told The A.V. Club. “My ending goal is to make seeing a breaker or tagger perform at a hip-hop show be just as normal as seeing an MC or DJ.” As for the actual competition, the Feb. 19 battle will be a single-elimination tournament with eight MCs vying for $100 in cash and prizes. Milwaukee rappers Raze, The Hollowz, and KingHellBastard are performing live and will also act as judges for the contest, grading the MCs on their extemporaneous punch lines and lyricism.
Bizzon plans two more MC battles in the coming months, with a championship round scheduled for the summer.