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Sunday, February 16, 2020

A short while at The FlipTop Festival

02/11/2020 01:02:25 AM

It was on 20 March 2015 when I first step foot inside a FlipTop event.  The rap battle league staged its annual iteration of  Second Sight at the once-famous B-Side at The Collective in Makati City, where over hundreds of people — including yours truly — stood witnesses for hours to a plethora of singles rap battle matches. 

Almost five years later, FlipTop Battle League staged its biggest event ever as a celebration of its ten years of existence, raising the game of rap battle, rap music, and the entire hip-hop culture to the new heights.  It was the second visit for yours truly — this time, in a different role. Nope, this is way beyond the culmination of my journey as a fan that started in 2010 and online.

For two nights, the FlipTop Festival showcased the best of the country's hip-hop music has to offer. A lot of hip-hop musicians performed in three stages and with the massive crowd inside Aseana City Open Grounds in Paranaque City watching. The spectacle also saw low-riding bicycles, live graffiti painting, and of course, four rap battles — plus a series of surprise appearances.

Certainly, rainy weather and the alarming health scare didn't succeed in disrupting this extravaganza. Hey, I enjoyed staying at the fest even for a short while by watching some of the best hip-hop acts, such as Zaito, Dello, Mike Kosa, Mike Swift, Apoc, and the Fil-Am based Rocky Rivera. 

Hell, I even have one ultimate fanboy moment here. When the intro of Minsan Parang Tanga Lang blared on the speakers, and Dello hit the mic, I screamed “HOLY SHIT” and immediately ran alongside a wave of raging fans back to the main stage. Well, simply because why not?!  Aside from the rapping showcase, I enjoyed the live turntablist sessions.  

Several highlights took place during my stay in the early part of Day 1. Shehyee opened his act with collaboration from Keiko Necesario and a live band for "Bituin." Meanwhile, Flict-G brought back some of his best songs back to life in a throwback set with Bei Wenceslao.  Kartel delivered one of the most raging performances I have ever seen.  And lastly, Dave Dela Cruz introduced me to Cebuano (and Visayan, in general) hip-hop. Yes, you should go check them out on your listening platforms.

I think one low point for the festival was the lack of adequate tents since not everyone likes to get soaked in the rain. Another thing: not all tents have lights to illuminate their spaces during night time. But maybe, Saturday's showcase has improved for the enjoyment of its festival-goers. 

Other big names who performed during the FlipTop Festival were Mastaplann, Bambu, Gloc-9, Al James, Shanti Dope, D-Coy, Illustrado, Abra, Shadow Moses, Death Threat, Owfuck, BLKD, and a whole lot more. The big news, however, was the surprise appearance of Loonie. After a controversial buy-bust operation last year, the Hari ng Tugma was released from prison after posting a bail of 2 million pesos last month. It was rumored whether the Stick Figgas frontman will suit up for this festivity.

All in all, FlipTop provided all the fun and best they could in their biggest event to date. The finest of Filipino hip-hop was clearly showcased at this spectacle. 

Never I actually imagine myself having a damn good time despite being around for just a measly five hours. 

Indeed, for ten years and counting, FlipTop has tremendously grown from being just a league to an icon in pop culture.  They were first perceived as a viral item of entertainment on YouTube in 2010. Of course, it was never an easy task for Anygma and company to debunk misconceptions surrounding the nature of rap battle and hip-hop culture, in general.

Sans English conference battles in recent years, the league expanded further through its regional clusters. New talents flourished year after year, thanks to Mindfields. The art and game have been kept on evolving, one event after the other. Battle MCs become household names and even legends for some. And most importantly, while FlipTop events have been sold-out for almost every single time, the crowd support has gone solid mature.

What a decade. Cheers!

Author: slickmaster | © 2020 The SlickMaster's Files

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