Rap battle to keep Student Center bumping: Students take part in lyrical showdown

By Blair Johnson

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A rap battle in the Student Center on Thursday will pit students against each other in a contest of wits and rhymes.

The Cats Den rap battle, an event to celebrate Black History Month, starts at 8 p.m.

“A rap battle is when two people square off against each other in lyrical combat … trying to beat each other in flow and lyrics, taking turns rapping a few bars freestyle,” management and marketing junior Jared Rondinelli said.

Many events are planned to celebrate Black History month, such as trivia nights and dinners. Rondinelli, the Cats Den event coordinator, said the rap battle is one of the most unique activities in February.

“This is an event that we have done before, but this time we decided to partner with the MLK Center, considering the deep roots that rap and hip-hop have in African-American culture,” Rondinelli said.

Sign-ups will begin shortly before the event, Rondinelli said.

“The rap battle is an event we do each semester as one of our many open mic nights,” said Dustin Adams, the assistant director of the Student Center. “This allows repeat participants, who, in turn, bring their peers for support. This leads to a fun, high-energy event (that) students enjoy.”

The winners can be chosen in a variety of ways, Rondinelli said.

“Sometimes contestants keep going until one person runs out of, or can’t think of, anything else good to say,” Rondinelli said. “Other times a contestant can deliver a verse so earth-shattering the other contestant believes there is no way they can match it and bows out.”

The audience and their reactions can also work as a sort of judge.

“Rapping is something that is hard to judge with scorecards and points — you have to use feelings and emotions,” Rondinelli said.

The rap battle is open to “seasoned veterans,” as well as brand-new participants, Rondinelli said.

“Anyone that wants to be involved (can be),” Rondinelli said. “Hip-hop and rap (are) for everyone and can represent anyone from all walks of life. Rap tells a story, and everyone has a story.”