Let's Take It Back: Grain Assault 1
By Dante Romero
February 6, 2010: the date of the very first FlipTop event. There were only about 100 in attendance, and no one had a clue on how impactful it would be. Quantum, the venue, was also just starting out. Before it became a huge events place, it was only a small café that catered mostly to the art crowd. Anygma was still a student, so with regards to funds, he had to borrow a few bucks from a friend.
People started coming in at around 9 in the evening. The crowd consisted of emcees’ homies and Hip-hop heads who just want to see good old rap battles. Without a doubt, Quantum was filled mostly with familiar faces. The night officially began with some emcee and DJ performances. Everyone was bobbing their heads to the dope beats and rhymes.
After the musical sets, Anygma grabbed the mic and further enlightened the crowd about the modern format of battle rap that FlipTop will be using. The written and acapella style of battling was still relatively unknown to the Philippine Hip-hop scene, so almost everyone in the audience became even more curious upon hearing it.
Five battles took place that night, all of which were able to hype up the crowd. Batas vs. Abra started out as a slugfest, but unfortunately, Abra choked on the third round. Batas was consistent all throughout, and he formally introduced us to his ruthless and technical style. Datu vs. Cameltoe was an instant classic. Datu impressed the audience with his combination of freestyles and writtens while Cameltoe made everyone laugh with his unique brand of humor. They may be inactive now, but there’s no denying that they influenced a lot of battle rappers today.
The emcees of the English Conference also gave a very good show. Who could forget the back-and-forth match between Protégé and Fuego? This was the night where Protégé solidified himself as one of the biggest threats in the league. Fuego may have stumbled a bit, but he still got the respect of the crowd with his intricate rhymes. Apoc vs. JedLi was a solid bar fest, which would’ve been much better if it wasn’t for Apoc’s choke. Nevertheless, the Uprising emcee was able to give us a preview of his hard-hitting approach in battling. JedLi surprised everyone when he went hardcore on his opponent. He spat his most brutal lines while incorporating various figures of speech.
The most heated match of the night was arguably NothingElse vs. RBTO. It was the first time everyone heard straight up personals delivered with aggression. Thankfully, the battle didn’t just revolve there. Both emcees also displayed their amazing pen game. From their multisyllabic rhymes to their unpredictable flow, they gave us all a lesson in Rapping 101.
If there’s one bad thing about the event, it was the stolen memory card. The device contained the Apoc vs. JedLi, Fuego vs. Protégé, and NothingElse vs. RBTO battles. Up to today, the thief’s identity remains a mystery. Anygma was able to obtain footages of Apoc vs. JedLi and Batas vs. Abra, but they were only captured through a phone, which explains the poor quality. This was the time where the league was still lenient with audience members filming the battles. Of course, it’s a very different story now, especially with the spread of piracy. The NothingElse and RBTO clash was the only one that sadly faded into obscurity. Since then, FlipTop made sure that this type of incident won’t happen again, and it didn’t.
When the battles were finally uploaded, the rest is history. FlipTop helped elevate Philippine Hip-hop, and its ascent continued from there. The next event will be held on the 9th of February 2019 at the TIU Theater in Makati. It’s the tenth edition of Grain Assault, so expect it to be an epic night. Stay tuned for the official poster and other announcements. If you’re free on that date, come celebrate nine years of FlipTop with us!