Freestyle frenzy in KSU ballroom

Kate Bigam

Katie Wallace, aka Katie Catastrophy, takes the crown at the King of the Mic freestyle rap battle last night. She lyrically composed her way to the top. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. hosted the event and gave away a $100 prize. JAMESON CAMPBELL | DAILY KE

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The event was called “King of the Mic,” but that didn’t stop Katie Wallace, aka “Katie Catastrophy,” from becoming the reigning queen of the night.

Last night’s freestyle rap battle, coordinated by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., drew a crowd of more than 100 people in the Kent State ballroom. Hosted by DJ Lo-Key and co-sponsored by Hotcards.com, the competition featured eight local rappers and “Showtime-at-the-Apollo”-style elimination rounds.

Although Wallace, senior theater major, said she didn’t perform as well as she’d expected, she battled rapper “Johnny Blaze” in the final round of the event and pocketed a $100 cash prize. She was determined the winner based on the crowd’s response to the final round.

Each 30-second freestyle round pitted two competitors against one another. Most segments included insulting the competition’s clothing, talent and even his or her friends, as demonstrated by Wallace, who rapped that one of his competitors would not have made it so far in the competition had his friends not been cheering loudly for him.

Sporting a plaid skirt, bright red sneakers and a short, spiky haircut, Wallace said she learned how to rap while growing up in Cleveland.

“One night some people were spittin’ around the fire,” Wallace said of the night she discovered her talent for rapping. “They decided to rip on me, and I decided to rip back. I’ve been doing it ever since.

“I’m good at flipping around what people say about me, because I’m a girl, and I’m white, and I’m punk rock.”

Wallace, who won last year’s “Kent St8 Mile” competition at the Robin Hood Inn, said she has only ever competed against one other female rapper. She cited MC Chris, Bluebird and fellow Kent State student Matt Greenfield, aka “MC Homeless,” as her influences.

Greenfield, junior applied conflict management major who also competed last night, peppered his lyrics with pop-culture references and quirky rhymes.

“Check it out,” Greenfield rapped in the first round. “My name is Homeless, and I own this. I’m the king, and this is my ring.”

Although he was ousted by “Johnny Blaze” in the second round, Greenfield garnered a lot of audience approval before his dismissal.

Justin Priest, president of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., said he and his fraternity brothers coordinated the event in honor of Black History Month, and said they wanted to bring something different to the table.

“A lot of organizations do parties and different social events,” said Priest, senior political science major. “Very few organizations have different cultural events. What’s more cultural than rap?”

Contact Greek life reporter Kate Bigam at [email protected]