For Eurgh’s 24th birthday DF put on their biggest event yet; with 4 main events and 5 international battlers flown over the day was full of mouth-watering clashes. As none of the battles have been released online yet I won’t give too much away.
The line-up for the day was:
Mark Grist & Mixy vs. Scizzahz & Wizard.
IM vs. Joker Starr.
Bamalam & Cystic vs. Bowski & Big Sarters.
Sonny Bamboo vs Villun.
Cruger vs. Conceited.
Charlie Clips vs. Tony D.
DNA vs. Arsonal.
DNA & Charlie Clips vs. Unanymous & Chris Leese.
Like the vast majority of battle rap fans I have seen more battles online than live, and the naturally surreal nature of watching battles in the flesh as opposed to on a screen was only heightened by the calibre of the artists.
Conceited, aka ‘mr slow it down’ going up against DF co-founder Cruger was my highlight of the day. We were luckily right at the front and the atmosphere was unbelievable. It took a good few minutes to start the battle because of the crowd chanting ‘Cruuuugggeeerrr’ and shouting Conceited’s trademark ‘hhhhhah?, (hopefully you know the noise I’m referring to it’s quite hard to recreate using Microsoft Word). The clash of style was exactly as you would have imagined, Cruger breaking him down by trivialising his poser façade and Conceited coming strong with his intricate wordplay and creative gun-bars. It was very much a case of URL vs. DF.
DNA vs. Arsonal was the day’s most heated battle. I was spat on more during this battle than any other, but being so close was well worth the light spattering of…D.N.A (sorry). From the off they were in each other’s faces, their respective entourages goading the other and providing props for the battlers who both started by stating that they were going first. It was so heated. I can’t wait to watch it back when it’s uploaded despite slightly dreading the possibility that I have exposed myself in some way by being in the middle on the front row. The recent trend of YouTube trolls finding someone to pick on in the crowd for being too expressive or too young or looking like someone else may be my downfall.
Charlie Clips vs. Tony D was very interesting; Clips seemed to have no pressure on him whereas Tony D clearly had a point to prove in light of his recent battle with Real Deal on King of the Dot. This was the main sticking point of the battle, and a lot of Clips’ angles had Tony nodding in agreement, although he defended himself well; ‘I forgot what I wrote, not how to write’.
The final battle of the day was the international 2-on-2 clash. I don’t want to give too much away but it was a surprising difference of styles. The two URL rappers’ approach undercut Chris Leese and Unanymous’s style by disregarding their aggression; they just came off looking a bit cooler to be honest.
The other international battle was the up and coming Villun vs. the battling veteran Sonny Bamboo. This was one of the only battles judged on the day; most of the rest were either promo or video judged because of their importance. Some of the deepest bars of the day came out of this battle, I’ll say no more.
The whole event felt like a success, and the atmosphere was reassuringly friendly. It was cool to speak to the other fans and the battlers milling about; everyone wanted to discuss the days’ battles. One of the highlights of the day was talking to Ogmios about his 7-a-side football team and the lack of veggie-burgers at Ministry of Sound. The after party was free, and as relaxed if not more so than Checkpoint itself. I spoke to Youthoracle, Cracker and Bentlegs without feeling like a dweeby fan, also Don’t Gas and Psiklone and Skirmish of Rhyme Asylum did impromptu sets, as well as Phili and Dotz.