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Rap’s 3 R’s (readin’, ritein’ and riffmatic)

David Goodson | 9/5/2013, 12:31 p.m. | Updated on 9/5/2013, 12:31 p.m.
Smack

The day that parents have been diligently preparing for, for at least the past two weeks, is here. The day that has been dreaded by youth for a good two months is upon us. The young’uns have gone back to school!

While the traditional three R’s (readin’, ritein’ and riffmatic) provide the fundamentals to take you through life and set you on course for a profession, a fourth R (recess) is meant to provide social development. Thanks to the hip-hop generation, activities taking place during recess have led a few select pupils to the American Dream successes that high academia is believed to provide.

If you’re in a certain age bracket, you can vividly remember the one guy who was a “time keeper,” who provided a steady drum beat while banging on the lunch table; the cheerleaders, who provide the appropriate ooohhs, aaahhs, applause and boos; and the stars of the show, the orators. They provided the rhymes and honed their future skills in the spotlight. The rappers in the lunch rooms who provided the lasting memories of school days have progressively gone on to become highlights of the school year, especially when they were contentious. That natural, innate competitive nature has since grown into a subgenre and enterprising business of its own, known as “Battle Rap.” The leader of the current movement is a company called the Ultimate Rap League, and on Sunday, Sept. 8, the league will present what has after two years become the Super Bowl of rap with the event dubbed “Summer Madness.”

In the year since “Summer Madness 2,” heavyweight music industry executives, rappers and athletes have been seen in attendance. These names include Kevin Durant, Adrian Bronner, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Drake and Jadakiss, and they have been actively voicing their opinions and support. Mainstream media (MTV, Fuse) have provided features, and BET’s “106 and Park” entered into a partnership with the Ultimate Rap League for a tournament called “Ultimate Freestyle Friday.”

Despite all the good that is on the surface, a dark cloud surrounds “Summer Madness 3.” The league, known for bringing out the biggest names in battle rap culture, has chosen a different course for this year’s event. While the spectacle of the events was getting larger, some of the most respected and popular emcees were handing in way too many subpar performances. To address this, Ultimate Rap League founder Troy “Smack” Mitchell has taken to a new mantra of “Bars Over Names.” As he explains on a video blog, “It’s not about the big names no more, because a lot of the big names that actually perform on the stage ain’t delivering the quality battles and the quality performance that we’re looking for. We got dudes that choke in the first round. We got dudes that’s not coming to the battles with three complete rounds. They lookin’ at this like it’s just a pay day, and I’m not gonna allow that to happen. The fans, it’s unfair to y’all to allow that to happen. So, if we continue to let this happen, it’s gonna meet the same demise as the music industry as we know it today with the bubblegum rap that gets a million spins on the radio.”

Thats A bold move and statement to make at your premiere event, and come Sunday night, the music industry will take notice to see if the gamble paid off. Participating in “Summer Madness 3” are Harlemites Swave Sevah, T Rex, K Shine and Ms. Hustle, who take on the respective opponents Daylyt, Calicoe, Arsonal and Jaz the Rapper. Rounding out the card will be Math Hoffa versus Serius Jones, Big T versus O-Red, JC versus John John Da Don and Tay Roc versus “Ultimate Freestyle Friday” champion Ill Will. New York’s Stage 48 (605 W.48th St., between 11th and 12th avenues) will host the event. Doors open at 3 pm. Check ticketweb.com for ticket details.

Over and out. Holla next week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.