SUNY, Empire State College brings hip-hop to UNYP

In just four decades, hip-hop, formerly the creative expression of black and brown youth from the five boroughs of New York City, has become a global commodity, a universal language and a multi-billion industry. There is not a single place in this world where you can’t find somebody practicing fresh breakdance moves, writing a new piece on a wall, DJing a local party or spitting dope rhymes. Wanna bet?

On October 25, SUNY Empire State College will host a discussion at UNYP, followed by a freestyle show with international hip-hop artists as part of the supporting program to the World Finals of the End of the Weak rap competition.

End of the Weak is one of the longest running open-mic events in New York City. It was established in 2000 as an anti-battle competition ran by hip-hop artists and enthusiasts. Europe joined the movement in 2003, with End of the Weak branches being organized in countries such as France, Switzerland, Sweden, the UK and Germany. In this competition, the rappers must prove their skills in the art of rap in five rounds: they must present one of their written texts, show they can rap without a beat (acapella), improvise (freestyle) and flow over whatever beat is given to them (beat juggling round). In the final round, the rappers come together in a cypher, a circle if you will, where they take turns rapping, while showing that they can listen to each other and be inspired by the rhymes of the fellow rappers. The judges are instructed to evaluate the lyrical content of the performance, its creativity and delivery, as well as stage presence and crowd interaction.

Every year, the local branches organize the End of the Weak national championships, and then the national champions meet to compete for the World Champion title. Winning the title is just the icing on the cake; the championship is a great opportunity for hip-hop artists from different corners of the world to get to know each other, share their culture and experiences and work together on joint projects.

This year the World Finals are taking place in Prague, Czech Republic. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, SUNY Empire State College will sponsor a panel discussion, “Lessons from Hip-Hop”, with the representatives of USA, Quebec, UK, France, Belgium and Czech Republic.

What can we learn from hip-hop culture? How can rappers survive as independent artists? How does music influence politics? Can hip-hop be a vehicle for social change?

Join us on Wednesday, October 25th from 6 PM in the Auditorium, as we discuss these topics with Osyris Antham (USA), Gee Bag (UK), Basics (Quebec, Canada), Low G (Belgium) and Res Turner (France). After the discussion, you can test the improvisation skills of these contemporary poets, so you might think of some challenging words for them.

In the meantime, check out the freestyle of the US champion, Osyris Antham!

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