Raw and Underground event organizer AV The Great isn't the least bit shy about proclaiming his freestyle battle and beat competition being the "best representation of the Dallas hip-hop scene."
In fact, in the spirit of rap battles and DJ swagger, he's not the least bit shy about anything.
"This is the first event in DFW history to host a freestyle battle and beat battle on the same night," AV says. The goal is that everyone "from blog sites to magazines, artists and producers can come and network, and drink their asses off."
Saturday's competition at Rubber Gloves in Denton is the eighth installment of the b-boy and beat battle, which earns each victor a cool $200. Denton's own T-Lit will defend his crown in the beat battle competition against a roster of local producers with credits including Wiz Khalifa, Young Money and Kendrick Lamar. Local MC Bobby Fisha returns to put his championship crown to the test in the freestyle portion.
AV first jumped into the scene in 2011, when he gained local press off of his LP, Live From The Struggle. The following year he landed a job at K.104 FM. A week after getting his radio gig, AV wanted to put on a hip-hop competition that combined the best in freestyle and production.
"Glen Farris at Spune.com believed in my vision to create a concert series that could represent not only the Denton hip-hop scene, but the whole DFW," he says. "There's nothing mainstream about Raw and Underground. People come for the love of hip-hop, break-dancing, scratching and the rhymes. And there's never any fights. I brought Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth together."
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The event has been going for the past 11 months and features performances from the best in local talent. This month's edition showcases Brain Gang's Cashmir and JT, plus DJ sets from DJ Imperial D and DJ Dawodu.
AV is a dreamer, and those dreams are almost unfathomably big: He sees the event taking on a life of its own as it catches up with his wild ambition and busy schedule.
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"It revolves around how often I get booked by other promoters, radio, video and recording sessions," he says. "But as long as there's a Denton, Texas, it's not going anywhere. Raw and Underground will turn into a festival, TV show, and website eventually. I'm just having fun with it."
Raw and Underground 8 starts at 9 p.m. at Rubber Gloves in Denton; cover is $5.