Nothingelse battles Abra at FlipTop in Pasig City in May
I had the pleasure of attending the latest FlipTop battle in Quezon City at Freedom Bar. Aside from being oppressively crowded and hot, the event was incredibly successful, fueled by the eager energy from a mostly young male crowd. In other pieces I’ve written that Philippine hip hop is not popular and its fans are a small but loyal circle. The magnitude of the intimacy and passion for the culture among the hip hop heads at FlipTop demonstrates that Philippine hip hop is actually more thriving and self-sufficient than I initially gave it credit for.
And its energy is proving to be contagious. Like Grind Time, FlipTop garners an alternate audience in the cyberworld. “You can say it's one of the biggest youtube sensations of 2010 because it has gone viral with several of their videos hitting a million views in just a couple months,” notes FHM.
Hip hop in the Philippines takes on many faces: from the plush and exclusive clubs in Makati to the slums of Tondo, and everywhere in between. A crowd dotted with Pinoys rockin gear ranging from grillz to backpacks, FlipTop represents a space for the raw and grime of Philippine hip hop. There is no material gain at stake here. The winners take with them the pride in their skill (and maybe a t-shirt or a tattoo!). There are no flashy commercial sponsors. Just two emcees, the host, the judges, and the crowd. There isn’t even a mic (I think it’s for recorded audio purposes). This is on some guerilla-style shit, 4real.
All in all, FlipTop offers a space for emcees to build skills, build community, and define themselves. Furthermore, its a place from hip hop fans to geek out. Between battles, local emcees performed songs, many which the crowd knew. One group, Squatter House, commanded the crowd with very-familiar lyrics. FlipTop proves that Philippine hip hop heads are tight fans of one another and offer each other the respect and loyalty needed for a community to grow.
Click here for the FlipTop Facebook page. Become a fan!