2023 Year in Review

Let’s take a look back at the unforgettable moments of 2023 in FlipTop.

Anonymous Staff
January 19, 2024

2023 has come and gone and what a year it was! There are definitely plenty more to watch out for in 2024 but before we move forward, let’s talk about the highlights of what is arguably one of the best years for FlipTop. Firstly, we would like to thank the fans for their unending support and of course all the emcees for keeping the league as well as the hip-hop scene alive.

FlipTop started 2023 by celebrating its 13th anniversary with emcees, staff, and close friends. Like in 2022, the private party took place at a club somewhere in Ortigas. Fast forward to the 18th of March, we had our very first battle event of the year: Second Sight 11. The three Isabuhay battles were slugfests, making way for an unpredictable tournament. The undercard matches also tore the house down, two of which featured promising new blood in FlipTop. Second Sight 11 also had a special set from two-time Isabuhay Champion Batas. He performed tracks from his 2021 solo album “Ginoong Rodriguez”. Anygma then announced that Batas is temporarily (fingers crossed) retiring from battling because he and his family are moving to Canada. Once again, we wish Batas nothing but the best and we’ll always be grateful for his contribution to the culture.

In April, the league went back to Cebu for the 11th edition of Gubat. As expected, we saw back-and-forth Isabuhay brawls and exciting non-tournament battles. What made the Cebu trip even more special is that after almost four years, we finally saw the return of Won Minutes. 18 of the best up-and-comers in Visayas showcased their lyrical skills, assuring us that the future of Philippine battle rap is in very good hands.

FlipTop took a well-deserved break in May but before the month ended, they surprised everyone by announcing their much-awaited return to Davao in June. They held two events there, namely Won Minutes and Pakusganay 7. Six battles took place in Won Minutes and just like in Visayas, we saw a few names that could potentially be top-tier players very soon. Pakuganay 7 happened the night after, and fans were treated to potential battle-of-the-year candidates and epic style clashes. Hopefully, we’ll see more Mindanao Division events in 2024.

One month later, the league went back to Metro Manila for Zoning 16. The isabuhay quarterfinal matches (Poison13 vs Plaridhel, Sak Maestro vs Hazky, Zaito vs JDee, and Invictus vs Illtimate) delivered quality content and proved that anything can happen in the tournament. Zoning 16 also gave us the highly entertaining clash between Zaki and K-Ram, the comedy masterpiece of CNine vs Manda Baliw, the intense Onaks vs Karisma showdown, and the ruthless verbal war between Ruffian and Class G. 
Cebu had their version of Ahon in September with a two-day Gubat 12 affair. Day 1 was held at Mariner’s Court while day 2 happened at the Mandaue Sports Complex. The first Isabuhay Semifinal match (Invictus vs JDee) occurred here and it’s now considered by fans as one of the best battles of 2023. Apart from that, we saw brutal clashes, memorable comedic battles, and Won Minutes emcees stepping up. We’ll see if we can do it again this year.

The next Metro Manila event was Bwelta Balentong 10, and it took place on the 7th of October, one week after Gubat 12. Many felt the lineup wasn’t up to par with the previous instalments but once the battles started, they were all proven wrong. The Isabuhay Semifinal bout between Hazky and Plaridhel was another solid style clash and the non-tournament matchups showcased the versatility of each emcee. Bwelta Balentong 10 has the potential to be called event of the year.

For the following weeks, FlipTop focused on the music side of things. November 17th saw the return of Mindfields in Metro Manila. It featured performances from Pistolero, M Zhayt, Mhot, K-Ram, Apoc, KJah, Supreme Fist, Kensa, and 1109. The night ended with a huge cypher where veteran and up-and-coming rappers stepped on stage and dropped fire verses on modern and old school beats. It was followed by an event called Pregame, which served as a warm-up for Ahon 14. Pregame had a house party vibe, with Arbie Won, Supreme Fist, and Weelluminati providing the music. 

Of course, the league ended 2023 with a bang! Ahon 14 took place on December 15 and 16 and gave the fans a buffet of battle rap styles. Congratulations to Invictus for winning the championship after a dominating run. Let us give props to Hazky and the rest of the competitors as well for giving it their all and providing us with plenty of unforgettable moments in the tournament. The remarkable subtitle match between Smugglaz and Charron and the awe-inspiring lyrical exchange between Mhot and Sayadd is also making waves on YouTube now. For those who weren’t able to attend, there are plenty more matches to be uploaded, all of which are worth checking out. For those who were present, thank you for joining us! 

We have a lot in store for you in 2024, so get ready! Yes, there will be an Isabuhay Tournament and a Won Minutes Luzon event. Those are our only announcements for now. Stay tuned here and on our official Facebook page for details regarding upcoming events and plans. We promise you the wait will be worth it. FlipTop, make some noise!