By Liz Wimberg
Step teams and individual artists from both the College and Rider University took the stage Tuesday, April 9 for the “Hip-Hop Showcase,” hosted by the College Union Board and Men of Distinction.
The show also featured upcoming rappers Casey Veggies and Skizzy Mars. The stage was constructed on one end of room 202 in the Brower Student Center, complete with bright lights and wires.
The majority of the audience remained congregated outside the door until show time, but even the scarce clusters within made the air buzz.
Before long, the overhead lighting receded, and we seemed to have left campus instantly. Freshmen Wachan Harris and Dianna Ruberto, both members of the step team, were among the first to secure spots near the front.
“We’re here to support the team,” Harris said.
As the College’s Black Out took the stage, it was clear that Harris and Ruberto were not alone in their endeavors. The group presented an impressive amalgam of dialogue and percussive choreography, and the crowd loved it.
Step requires a degree of artistic embodiment, and the result is indubitably potent.
Black Out performers, along with the members of Rider’s Front Row, owned the music, the stage and the attention of the audience
According to the audience’s applause, Black Out won the competition.
The end of the step performance brought us to a series of rap battles, settled by a similar measure.
Performers took the stage under the pseudonyms “Dalmatian,” “Splash,” “E.S.” and “Blaze.” Some were seasoned competitors and others battled for the first time, but each put on quite a show.
In the background and between sets we heard an eclectic mix of music: everything from Justin Bieber and One Direction to Drake and Rihanna. After intermission, Skizzy Mars took the mic. He performed several pieces from his latest album, “Phases,” which just dropped last month.
The album includes songs like “Sideways” and “Sirens,” which both feel a little bit like Childish Gambino’s Cudlesac or Kid Cudi on Man on the Moon.
Skizzy samples indie music and features other artists like Conner Youngblood, G-easy and Sterling Fox on Phases. The album is available for free download on Skizzy’s website and Facebook page.