The 2019 Isabuhay Tournament Lineup

By Dante Romero

   Anygma announced the official 2019 Isabuhay lineup last Saturday at the Metro Manila leg of Grain Assault 10. As always, 16 battle rappers from different divisions will be competing for the 100k grand prize and the championship title. The 2018 tournament was one hell of a ride, and this year’s lineup definitely has the potential to top it. 

   There’s no word yet on the bracketing and the first round matches, so for now, let’s talk about each emcee who will be participating. You can start picking your favorites, but keep in mind that anything can happen here. That’s what makes this whole tournament exciting. 


   Apekz clearly has the advantage when it comes to experience. He’s been an active battler in FlipTop since the first Second Sight event, and his pen game continues to evolve through the years. Expect to see him mix technical lines and comedic punches with total aggression once again. As long as he stays consistent and comes up with more creative angles, he might take home the crown.  


   Asser took two major L’s in 2018, but he will finally have a chance to redeem himself in the tournament. His delivery and flow remain top-notch. He just needs to step his lyrical game up. When he comes to Isabuhay fully equipped, he’ll definitely be a major threat.  


   Despite a few uninspired performances and a terrible choke last year, majority of battle rap fans still predict that BLKD will win the championship. All he needs to do now is avoid stumbling in his rounds. As for his bars and delivery, we’re certain that he will once again bring his A game. He’s also the most experienced in the lineup, next to Apekz, which gives him another advantage. 


   Dosage is a possible dark horse in the tournament. His previous battles may not be that popular, but true battle rap fans will agree that he always brings something new to the table. The Davao-based emcee should come up with more direct angles without compromising his leftfield style. Keep an eye out for him.


   Even though G-Clown lost on the second round of the 2016 tournament against Loonie, viewers were still enthralled by his performance. His rapid fire flow automatically makes him a threat, and if his puchlines are harder-hitting this year, you might be looking at the next champ.  Expect some creative jokes from him as well.

Goriong Talas

   Goriong Talas is arguably the most underrated emcee in the lineup. People are still sleeping on his brutal lines and relentless aggression up to now. With just some tweaks in his delivery and angles, he’s certainly going to be a problem in the tournament. He might even bring something new to his style once battle season starts. 


   Hazky is not really considered a technical emcee, but he makes up for it with theatrics and his unique brand of humor. If his clowning style of battling remains intact, he has the potential to take the throne. There’s also a huge possibility that he will come up with more innovative tactics in his matches, so don’t sleep on him.


   J-Blaque continues to improve his writing and delivery, and if he goes all out in the tournament, we might see another potential dark horse. He simply needs to be more confident on stage and show more aggression when spitting his bars. Don’t be surprised if J-Blaque scores an upset victory or two.


   When it comes to stage presence and comedic lines, Jonas is without a doubt untouchable. If he’s as strong as he was in his Ahon 9 battle, we might see him reach the finals and take the 100k prize. Emcees who will be facing him in the tournament should also prepare for his highly creative angles. 


   If you’ve seen his Ahon 9 match, you will agree that Lanzeta is a force to be reckoned with in Isabuhay. Without abandoning his hard-hitting style, he started to incorporate jokes and direct-to-the-point references in his verses, all of which proved to be effective. His delivery is also much clearer now, so expect him to make waves this year.


   Apart from his creative humor, Lhipkram also stepped his technical pen game up. This is evident on his performance at Ahon 9, a battle where majority of fans still think he and Jonas should’ve won. If his versatile writing and confident stage presence stay whole, he can win it all with ease. 

Marshall Bonifacio

   Marshall Bonifacio wasn’t able to advance to the quarterfinals last year, but no one can deny that he still gave an outstanding performance. Will he finally be the top guy in 2019? If he raises the bar higher, then yes. His pen game is truly exceptional and the confidence and aggression are already there. The only thing he needs to avoid now is relying on long setups. 

Poison 13

   2018 was a great year for Poison 13. He may have lost on the first round of Isabuhay, but after that, he went on a killing spree. In 2019, the Mariveles-born emcee is once again joining the tournament, and he looks determined to sit on the throne. With his always-impressive multisyllabic rhymes and angles, he’s undeniably one of the biggest threats in the lineup.    


   Rudic went on a brief hiatus from battling, but came back better than ever last year. He did a tremendous job in his latest match, and if he maintains that level of performance at the 2019 Isabuhay, we might be looking at another dark horse candidate. Rudic must also be much more aggressive to make his punchlines hit harder.


   It’s Sayadd’s fourth attempt at Isabuhay, and based on his performance against Nikki at Pakusganay 4, he has a huge chance of winning it this year. Let’s just hope that he stays consistent all throughout the tournament. Sayadd always drops heavy bars with a highly energetic delivery. All he needs to do now is to be free of stumbles.

Sixth Threat

   A first round defeat at the 2017 Isabuhay didn’t stop Sixth Threat from being a credible battle emcee. After the aforementioned loss, he quickly came back and scored impressive wins over Lhipkram and Tatz Maven. This is his second time joining the tournament, and he looks 100% ready. His clever multis as well as his confident delivery are enough to make him one of the favorites to win it all.


   Will we see rematches? Will there be major upsets like the last time? Most importantly, who will go home with the crown? We’ll just have to wait and see. Always check out this website and the FlipTop Facebook page for updates. Enjoy the rest of the week!