hip hop music

October 26, 2006

Philly's Underground Emcee Battle Scene

Complex has an excellent piece from Ben Detrick on Philadelphia's hot mess of a street-DVD/battle-rap scene, made famous by that Joey Jihad youtube sucker punch:

It's always sunny in Philadelphia

“I’m gonna kill you,” hisses an anonymous voice through the phone. Calls like this, from restricted numbers, come almost hourly at the home of Philadelphia rapper Darren “Chic Raw” Martin. He usually ignores them, but sometimes, out of frustration, Chic can’t help but answer.

Such threats are the price of fame in Philadelphia. Based on a few mixtapes, a little radio play, and a number of DVD appearances that feature his snarled raps, the 22-year-old MC has become a big name in the city’s underground hip-hop scene. So who’s making the threats? Chic’s best guess is that the callers are rap rivals of his Top Shottas crew, hoping to make him squirm. But he doesn’t doubt that the threats are real.

On this sunny July afternoon, the curtains are drawn in the sparse North Philly apartment Chic shares with his girlfriend. They’ve lived here two months, and it shows; the walls are bare and there is no couch, only chairs. Chic still doesn’t feel safe in the downtrodden neighborhood. Between bites of instant noodles, he gestures toward the locations of numerous shootings that have occurred nearby. Tall and lanky, Chic has thin, brown scars on his forehead and oval eyes that widen into saucers when he becomes animated. His forearms are adorned with tattoos of his rap alias, his crew, a bar code, and a pair of theatrical masks around which “Laugh Now, Cry Later” is inked.

But Chic isn’t laughing...

Posted by jsmooth995 at October 26, 2006 3:49 PM

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