The Dirty South’s hottest city for Hip-Hop hosted eight of the nation’s top aspiring battle rappers, as they fought for the champion title of the Red Bull EmSee National Finals. The final battle, held at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia, was hosted by Little Brother’s Phonte, and judged by David Banner, Def Jam breakout artist, Big K.R.I.T., and Hip-Hop legend, DJ Premier.
The explosive competition featured top freestyle rappers who won regional qualifiers, including Dirtbag Dan (Los Angeles), Bishop I (Seattle), Mic Stew (Philadelphia), Phranchyze (Houston), Pat G (Boston), D’Meitz (Washington D.C.), Hostyle (Detroit), and Jonny Storm (Miami), all fighting to earn the respect of the judges and crowd and ultimately, the coveted title of Red Bull EmSee National Champion. Along with bragging rights, the winner is awarded a $10,000 prize purse and the opportunity to collaborate with a producer of his choice at Red Bull Studio Los Angeles.
“When I was coming up in the battle rap game, there weren’t opportunities like this,” said David Banner. “This is a serious for these guys – to get this type of prize and support. If they want to win they need to bring the creativity, showmanship, flows and be original.”
The highly-anticipated final round pitted Philly’s Mic Stew against Detroit’s Hostyle, and made for one of the most intense battles in Red Bull EmSee history. They faced off in a traditional head-to-head freestyle battle format rapping over beats and acappella. But, the judges had a difficult time picking the winner and called for a tiebreaker battle to end it all. The gloves came off as both MCs inched closer and closer to capturing the title, the cash prize, and the studio session with a producer of their choice.
In battle rapping, nothing is off limits, but Phonte may have said it best: “You can rap about peoples’ mamas, but not if they are in the room.” In the deciding battle, it was Mic Stew who reigned victorious over Hostyle. The judges agreed that the battles were tight all the way to the end, but it was really the last line that Mic Stew dropped that sealed the win. “…and f%#! you for dissin’ my beautiful mom.” Mic Stew’s actual mom (Momma Stew) was standing in the front of the audience watching as the finalists spat vicious lines at each other –giving it everything they had.
After being named Red Bull EmSee National Champion, Mic Stew admits, “That last line really shut the house down! ”I feel amazing, I feel relieved, I’ve been nervous for 24 hours. And I just came to win and I buckled down. I am pumped to go into the Red Bull studio and make a great record.”
Check out video below of Mic Stew, the winner of this year’s Red Bull EmSee battle series: