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Emcees battle in competition

 (The Spokesman-Review)
JonesJones (The Spokesman-Review)

This is the war of art: Two emcees square off, using nothing but their tongues as swords to verbally tear each other to shreds in front a bloodthirsty audience.

Anyone who calls himself an emcee should be able to engage in battle, or at the least kick a decent freestyle off the top of the dome.

At least 18 local emcees will put their battle skills to the test at the Spokane Freestyle King competition tonight at 7 at Spokane Falls Community College SUB Building 17. Emcees will compete in elimination rounds until the last rapper is standing. The first place prize is $200; second place is $100.

Contestants will be judged on originality, style, use of time and crowd response.

Caution: Enter the competition with pre-written material and score poorly, or be disqualified. Spitting written rhymes merits an automatic “Boo!,” said judge Mike Bernard, who runs Realside Records hip-hop record shop inside Urban Fashions, 4601 N. Nevada.

“When you’re freestyling off the top of the head, you’re expected to stutter. If your flows are too perfect, it’s probably written,” Bernard said.

In its second year, the Spokane Freestyle King sees the return of last year’s champion, Chauncey Jones, aka C-Flow (for Constantly Flowing Lyrically Over the World).

Jones made a name for himself as a jaw-droppingly skilled freestyle emcee at house parties when he moved to Spokane from California 10 years ago. Since then, he’s been focusing more on performing and recording. His name is often on fliers for shows organized by Insyders Entertainment and Way 2 Real.

Getting back into battle-mode is a welcome chance for Jones to sharpen his sword on some worthy competition.

“It’s like a dunk contest. If you don’t think too much about it and just let your skills go, it whoas the crowd. That’s what I feed off of,” Jones said. “That’s how I got started, at the park someone would be beat-boxing and we’d go at it right there.”

Admission to the Freestyle King battle is free to SFCC students, $3 without student ID, $2 with ID from a different school.

Entry is $5 until showtime. Contact Realside Records, 484-3295, for more information.