Culture / featured-column

‘We All Did Win’

JCrypitc performing “a black heart”
Photo by Marc Ella Roy

The competitors gave high fives and screamed “that was dope,” as they egged each other on. Cheers flooded the room and down the halls of the Thomas Hunter building during last week’s WHCS rap battle.  

The radio station’s competition featured seven artists from both inside and outside the Hunter community: Blanckisimo, Ecsentric, JCryptic, J La Sol, Lexrush, James and JayGold. The last two were the only Hunter students in the battle. JCryptic conquered the stage to get away with the win.

“Getting on the stage and sharing yourself and putting yourself out there is not easy. Shout out to all of us,” said Blanckisimo.

In the small classroom-sized theater, DJ Shahbreezy called Blanckisimo to the stage and the audience cheered. As he reached out for the mic the audience simmered down.Without hesitation he began to rap.

Blanckisimo, 26, real name Luis Trujillo, is the cousin of another competitor, JCryptic. 

As each artist left the stage James Lherrson, 18, who performs under his first name, yelled “You’re good” and “that was dope.” Unlike Blanckisimo, James’s did not reach out for the mic instead he stared into the crowd and waited for silence.

Without using the mic he burst into his lyrics yelling into the crowd. 

“Money tight, I can’t buy s*** even if I really want it. Living in a world of welfare check but n****’s flaunt it,” rapped James.

Lexrush, 28, decided to use audience participation. She asked for three words to incorporate them into her rap. They gave her Snickers, Kobe and SpongeBob.

J La Sol busting out a random freestyle after the cometition.
Photo by Marc Ella Roy

“Having the audience help is more entertaining and interactive,” said Lexrush “Using the words helps to affirm it’s a true freestyle.”

Lexrush, the only female performer, faced off against her band mate, J La Sol. Their band, The Train Walkers, are repeated performers at Hunter College. Having an original song was the only requirement for the competition.

Past winner’s Alexander Shaw and Kiki Devil judge the battle. Devil won the first competition in 2016 and Shaw dominated last year.

Shaw said that he liked Lexrush because of her energy and she gave something different to the competition. “I like the fact that she made her freestyle round harder. She incorporated words from the crowd,” said Shaw. 

Choosing the winner was difficult but the judges liked JCryptic consistency.   

JCryptic, 20, performed his original song Black Heart which was inspired from a past relationship. As he performed he asked the crowd to sing along and pointed the mic at the crowd while shouting, “She’s going to run it down down down down for me.”

Standing in the middle aisle, Ecsentric clapped and bobbed his head as he watched the performances on stage. Ecsentric, 18, who started taking rap seriously last September, plans on releasing an album in March.

“Honestly, everybody was in there hungry,” said Ecsentric. “Honestly, everybody did win today.”

 

 

 

 

 

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