I just did the call, now getting the response

Last week I hosted a freestyle rap battle (which is already a huge thrill), and it was politically-based (which is gratifying), and it was in the European Parliament – which was exciting because it felt like a big deal. And it was packed – the place was jammed full of people. It was one of the strangest and most exciting events I’ve ever performed at.

It was a weird situation, for sure. But also, it was brilliant. So much respect is due to EU Unplugged, who made this highly improbably come off like gangbusters.

The attendees really weren’t sure what to expect. The last music event on this scale that was held in this place within the European Parliament was Pavarotti. So a different style for sure.

Some people came to cross their arms and be skeptical (those doubters were in for a surprise), some people came for the free beer, but most people came fit exactly into the demographic we were looking for – curious young people, perhaps uninspired by electoral politics.

So they came, and we threw down. The rounds were tight, with good back and forthing, and some really tight rhymes and wordplay, which confounded the crowd, who were appreciative, but not as vocal as you might expect.

Or perhaps exactly as vocal as you would expect a crowd of young Brussels eurocrats would be when confronted with freestyle battle raps on topics such as immigration and innovation.

On a personal note, I worked really hard, getting the crowd as live as I could. My only regret is that I didn’t rhyme myself, restricting my involvement to keeping the proceedings moving and attempting some call and responses.

But I would’ve liked to freestyle in front of the crowd. Just to see how my mind and mouth would’ve matched up on the beat.

So that’s still something to do. But I did get to drop the mic at the end of the night, which I did in the most gentle and Canadian of ways. So that’s checked off my to-do list (see it at 1:38:25 on the video below).

Round One: Dekay vs Mos Prob

I also got to hang out and rock beats and rhymes with some very cool people who I have a lot of respect for, before, during and after the show. I also got to meet a whole bunch of MEPs and host a rap battle on MTV Voices. Which got covered by the BBC. So all in all, a real high. And, as my friend Dave said, “one for the portfolio.”

If you want to watch the whole thing (or parts of it)  click on the video below. Enjoy.

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