Black Thought Rips James Brown Beats, Real Deal Wins MC Battle – 16 Bars LIVE Event Recap [PHOTOS]
The Boombox crew and our 16 Bars sponsor Honda made history at Le Poisson Rouge in New York with the 16 Bars Live event on Thursday night (July 31). MTV's Rob Markman and "Battle Rap Ambassador" Poison Pen were the hosts of the event which featured a some of the top battle rappers in the game.
Rap battle veterans like Immortal Technique, Mickey Factz and Jin were in attendance to not only see The Roots' Black Thought rock the mic with his DJ J. Period, but also to witness three lyrical duels between four hard-hitting battle rappers. The stakes were high as the winner of the tournament would get his own "16 Bars" episode.
After Hot 97's DJ E-Stylez's opening set of modern hip-hop classics and the introduction of the four battle contestants by Markman and Pen, the audience saw the first match up: New Jersey's own Lotta Zay versus Los Angeles native Danny Myers.
Zay wasn't even scheduled to be on the bill but was added after contestant Rosenberg Raw pulled out two days before the show. Zay lost the coin toss and thus went first. The rapper came roaring out of the gate with floods of complex rhyme schemes, but while those impressed some onlookers, it was his comedy that won the room over. KRS-One, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith references sent cackles through the venue, and though Danny Myers got tenacious by the end, he was no match for Zay's wit.
Then it was time for the Team Homi vet Swave Sevah to face off against Pittsburgh's own Real Deal. After Swave won the toss and deferred to his opponent, Real Deal got the crowd on his side by cracking on Swave for still rocking braids in 2014. Sevah shot back by exposing Real's day job -- a gym teacher.
Then in the second round, Swave pretended Real was a plainclothes cop, eliciting more laughter from the crowd, but Real had him right where he wanted him. In the final round, Swave choked and couldn't seem to come up with the rest of his verse. That was the crowd's excuse to give it up for Real Deal, and a final showdown against Lotta Zay was in place.
The final battle was a thriller. Zay was all charisma, throwing clever punchlines left and right, but once more, Real was prepared to out-perform his opponent. In the final round, the Pittsburgh rapper started running around the stage, asking the crowd to yell out words he would then riff off of.
One person threw out "New Jersey" and another attendee yelled "orange." Real fielded them all as Zay watched on in amazement, and even though the final vote was so close that Poison Pen had to call up hosts Rob Markman and Boombox editor Timmhotep to deliberate.
The whole room knew that Real Deal had stolen the show. The white gym teacher wearing
Gap FUBU jeans prevailed. You'll see his '16 Bars' segment soon.
Afterward, the audience was treated to J. Period scratching on the 1's and 2's and a rap performance from Black Thought of the legendary Roots crew.
Thought proceeded to shred the mic for almost an hour over nothing but vintage hip-hop breaks. No band, no late night host, no comedy -- just an MC, a DJ, and the sounds of Clyde Stubblefield's funky drumming. The Philly rapper was impeccable on the mic, even asking J. Period to cut the beat so he could go a capella once or twice.
By the end, Thought was dropping punchlines about getting force-fed like his boy Mos Def. The crowd ate up every word, and when Thought left the stage it felt like we'd just been transported back in time to the days of Latin Quarters. Fans swarmed Thought for pictures and he sweetly obliged before disappearing backstage.
Video of the '16 Bars' festivities is coming soon but in the meantime check out exclusive photos from the below event.