By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Word to your motha: TexasGigs.com has been hosting some very cool local music content lately; in particular, ever since we pleaded with site founder Cindy Chaffin to hook her portable recording rig directly into concert soundboards, her bootlegs are sounding dramatically better. (Yes, we're taking credit for it, even if we don't deserve it.) But on Monday, the site really took its multimedia content to the next level by hosting its first-ever TexasGigs Rap Battle.
Six local rappers were told to look at a photo of a celebrity and come up with a 90-second attack against that celebrity on the spot. The photo? Vanilla Ice. Talk about a perfect target! A few stupid singles, the Cool as Ice movie, his famous encounter with Suge Knight, his Carrollton connections...you'd think six dudes from Dallas would skewer Robbie Van Winkle with ease, right?
Unfortunately, TexasGigs' open call for talent didn't produce much in the way of battle power--all but one of the contestants choked, wasting time with self-referential raps that had very little to do with the big V. In the worst of the meltdowns, otherwise smooth Moon Criket failed to say a single thing--not even the phrase "Ice Ice Baby"--that referred to his contest opponent. Granted, great MCs often don't bother with battling, so the style isn't always a fair way to judge a rapper, but if you willingly sign up for the contest, you shouldn't act like a damn fool.
Who's Got the Juice?competitor Ekzile was the best, if only by default, rhyming phrases like "jumping hurdles" with "kick it with Ninja Turtles" and a few others. Really, the bar was set so low that we could've nabbed second place without much trouble. Here's our tardy submission:
Hey, Robbie Van Winkle/You should write to Kris Kringle/and ask for some rhyme skills that don't stink-le...OK, OK, we're done. These guys aren't, unfortunately, as the winners of an online vote will move on to a second-round battle which will be filmed this Monday. Log onto TexasGigs.com to watch the entries and cast your battle ballot.
And before you log off your computer, direct your browser to www.dallasobserver.com/blogs; there, you'll find our daily reports from SXSW along with our review of last weekend's Greenville Ave. St. Patrick's Day concert with the Toadies' reunion. Blood is shed, bottles are thrown, meatheads are...moshed. Check it out.