On Friday evening, aspiring MCs battled their way to the top in Harvard’s first and well-attended freestyle competition held at Massive Records, a hip hop music shop on Mass. Ave.
The contest, co-hosted by Harvard Radio WHRB and Massive Records, featured seven student competitors, some with names like Cheddar Ted and Killer Cali. But it was Hang Liu ’09, competing without an alias, who came out on top.
The contestants went head to head in three rounds of competition. The final round featured two 45-second battles between Mikal N. Floyd-Pruitt ’06 and Liu, with Liu wowing the three-member judging panel.
WHRB’s hip-hop department, “The Darker Side,” led by Samuel D.G. Jacoby ’08 and Darius P. Felton ’08, judged the show.
Liu won a $50 gift certificate to Massive Records and air-time on WHRB, where he already has his own show featuring old-school and underground hip-hop, which airs from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturdays.
Liu said he has been rapping for three to four years now and has won some smaller competitions in his hometown of New York City.
“I’m not really a battle rapper. I enjoy writing with more content and the battle ones can be taunting and embarrassing,” said Liu. “Hip-hop has a steep tradition in competition and I appreciate that aspect, but it’s not what I do best.”
Liu’s performance left both Jacoby and President of WHRB, Jonathan A. Stona ’07, impressed.
“The final grouping was intense, and I hope that at the next battle, everyone will be back to challenge Hang’s throne. He’s a great a freestyler, and has a fantastic flow and intricate rhymes,” Jacoby said.
“Hang is a very dedicated and creative MC who is clearly passionate about what he does—I’m looking forward to seeing him flourish within the next few years,” said Stona.
Stona said that the freestyle competition was an effort by WHRB to reach out to Harvard students.
“WHRB’s The Darker Side is committed to the advancement of hip-hop on Harvard’s campus. There are lots of talented musicians and MCs, as well as much student interest,” said Stona.
“For me, the favorite part of the competition was just seeing the student support. The place was packed. Everyone had a good time,” Stona added.