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Battle rappers from the Philippines premiere in Taiwan

2018/02/19 17:15:23

FlipTop Isabuhay 2013 grand champion Aklas (front left) battles Brown 101 rapper Jigsaw (right) at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday.

Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) Joy, laughter and a welcome taste of battle rap from the Philippines was brought to overseas Filipinos in Taiwan over the weekend as their favorite rappers took the stage here for the first time.

Hundreds of people showed up at the Laklakan 1 rap battle, held at Super Club YYG Taichung on Saturday and Focus Disco Taipei on Sunday, to enjoy the performance of four Filipino battle rappers who have done well in the FlipTop Battle League in the Philippines.

The two-day Lakakan 1 rap battle attracted 400 people in Taichung and 200 in Taipei.

The rappers were Aklas, FlipTop Isabuhay 2013 grand champion; Mhot, FlipTop Isabuhay 2017 grand champion; Romano, FlipTop Isabuhay 2015 finalist and Dos Por Dos 2017 semi finalist; and J-King, FlipTop Dos Por Dos 2017 semi finalist.

FlipTop Isabuhay 2017 grand champion Mhot raps into the microphone at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday

The FlipTop Battle League, founded in 2010, is the largest rap battle conference in the Southeast Asian country and has gained a large following, with their videos drawing millions of views on YouTube.

The event was opened each of the two days by Brown 101, a large Filipino hip hop group composed of emcees, rappers and disc-jockeys based in Taiwan, and other Filipino singers in Taiwan.

Brown 101 also sent two of its members, Zedrick and Jigsaw, to battle rap with the four rappers from the Philippines.

Before the start of Sunday's event, the Philippine rappers spoke of their battle in Taichung.

"The battle was so easy. That's it," said Aklas who was up against Brown 101's Jigsaw.

FlipTop Isabuhay 2013 grand champion Aklas battles Brown 101 rapper Jigsaw at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday

Asked if his opponent was able to put up rebuttals against him, Aklas said, "my style is different. I can freestyle all night and all day."

"When I first saw him in his eyes, I thought I could kill him on stage."

Mhot said the rappers were happy to see their fans in Taiwan, describing them as "so very supportive, so very hype, very solid."

FlipTop Isabuhay 2017 grand champion Mhot raps into the microphone at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday

The formats of the battles -- the same for both Saturday and Sunday's events -- were three rounds of battles between Brown 101 rapper Zedrick and J-King, followed by Brown 101 rapper Jigsaw versus Aklas, and finally a battle between Mhot and Romano.

Though there were no official winners, the audience cheered for their favorite rappers as they delivered witty and creative punchlines and rebuttals against their opponents, providing a glimpse of what battle rap events are like in the Philippines.

FlipTop Dos Por Dos 2017 semi finalist J-King (right) battles Brown 101 rapper Zedrick at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday

"The hip hop culture in Taiwan is very supportive," said Rhean Sahagun, the manager of Outright Production, one of the organizations that worked to bring the rappers to Taiwan.

This was his first time in Taiwan after taking rappers to perform in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the past, and he said Taichung had "one of the best crowds" he has encountered so far.

FlipTop Isabuhay 2015 finalist and Dos Por Dos 2017 semi finalist Romano (right) raps with his partner in rhyme FlipTop Dos Por Dos 2017 semi finalist J-King at Laklakan 1 in Taipei on Sunday

The Laklakan 1 rap battle was organized by Alpha Martial Eagles Production, a six-member troupe headed by Allan Viray, which works to bring entertainment options to Filipinos working in Taiwan.

(By William Yen)
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