ACPB to present first hip-hop competition

Jeremy Porter

Want to show your lyrical finesse at this year’s FlashFest? You or a group of MCs have that chance in this year’s first annual Battle of the Beats.

This year will be the first that Battle of the Beats will be its own event. Last year, the All Campus Programming Board held a hip-hop night at its annual Battle of the Bands competition. Local rapper Blitz was the winner that night and went on to win the entire Battle of the Bands competition.

That event, along with Blitz’s victory, has allowed for the Battle of the Beats to become its own genre.

Marcus Woods, a Kent State alumnus who produces and engineers music for Blowin’ Up Entertainment, created the idea for Battle of the Beats. The competition will be held April 19 and applications, which require a demo, are due tomorrow.

In a recent interview, Woods, DJ Amaze, the tentative DJ for Battle of the Beats, and rapper E-Luv, who is probably going to perform at this event, discussed their involvement with the competition.

Woods started his label in 2000 and discovered some of the key artists in Kent’s hip-hop scene. He’s worked on five albums and has been working with hip-hop since the age of 17. He’s now 27.

“Local hip-hop deserves more credit,” said Woods. “Ohio hip-hop is non-existent, except for Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony. The image of true hip-hop is missing. We (Blowin’ Up Entertainment) are trying to change it to a more positive image.”

With many negative images in hip-hop, Woods and his label are going back to the genre’s roots.

“A lot of cats are doing gangsta rap and that came from recent artists copying the image of past artists (like NWA and early East Coast rappers),” he said. “Past artists were doing it differently then and now it’s too negative.”

Woods went on to say there is truth in these negative images in hip-hop, like talking about guns and drugs.

“If that’s really you, do you … but it comes back and bites you in your ass. “Promotion has been a problem,” Woods added about Battle of the Beats. “This show needs support like a vampire needs blood.”

E-Luv then put in his two cents.

“The ACPB is showing more support than the city of Kent,” he said.

Marcus Woods assured the event would be a success, saying he was “anticipating smoothness.”

Susan Heidinger, special events coordinator of ACPB, was also hoping for a good turnout.

“I’m hoping that most people are waiting till the last minute, as is what happened with Battle of the Bands,” Heidinger stated. “I’m excited, because it’s the start of a new tradition at Kent State with hip-hop. The winner of the entire Battle of the Bands (last year) was the winner of the hip-hop night, Blitz. So, I was hoping to start a new tradition and program a ‘Battle of the Beats’ night.”

The requirements to enter the Battle of the Beats are to fill out an application, which can be found in the ACPB office, and to turn in a demo by tomorrow. Each performer will receive up to 15 minutes on stage and there are no censorship rules. Each performer or group has to have at least one Kent State student. The winner will receive 15 hours of studio time from Blowin’ Up Entertainment and the opportunity to perform at Flash Fest.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Jeremy Porter at [email protected].