Toronto-based Pinoy hip-hop group hosts epic rap battle, promoting local talent

by Christine Santos, ABS-CBN News

TORONTO — It was a night of pure energy, as the Pinoy hip-hop community showed support for its first battle rap finals, called Digmaan Talastasan.

The event was hosted by a Toronto-based Pinoy hip-hop group, Southeast Cartel, whose goal is to represent the Pinoy hip-hop community and promote local talent.

“Back then, all the artists and the groups were a little bit scattered.. trying to find a place where we can feel like we belong and that’s where Digmaan Talastasan was born,” said Ian De Vera.

Firing up the crowd are performances by various hip-hop groups, and this freestyle rap showdown called “The Bunutan freestyle!”

Contestants have to come up with a 30-second rap incorporating words that were randomly drawn.

Upon winning 2 rounds, this freestyle rapper takes home a trophy — and finally, the much-awaited battle rap showdown.

After beating several contenders in a year-round tournament, these 2 finalists vie for the ultimate title.

It’s a chilly night here in Manilatown, but the heat was definitely turned up high inside this club where the rap battle took place.

“The reason we do this is to encourage other people, to make it a fun hobby, or to some a lifestyle and just to have people come out and have a good time whenever they’re out here,” said one finalist.

“If it wasn’t for my mom telling me…you’ve got something to say, you should write it, I wouldn’t have started writing. Same as my grandmother; she would write notes for everything. If it wasn’t for them showing that writing is another voice without actually using yours, I wouldn’t have been able to get here.”

Despite the verbal sparring, supporters of battle rap appreciate it as an art form, and share a common goal to lift the voice of the FilCan hip hop community in Toronto and the rest of Canada.

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