By: Anika Nahar – Copy Editor
WPUNJ is kicking off its yearly Spring Jam festivities with the 4th Annual Freestyle Rap Battle, an event which showcases students and their rapping abilities. Hosted by the SAPB and MEO organization, the event will give aspiring students the opportunity to show off their talents in front of a live audience on April 24 from 8-10 p.m. in the ballrooms.
A prominent part of hip hop culture, the art of freestyling began in the east coast in the 1970s. In a freestyle battle, the freestyler’s aim is to “diss” their rival through clever lines and witty wordplay. Freestyling emphasizes on the rapper’s improvisational abilities and quick thinking to attack their opponents.
The idea of rap battles began from the poetic genres of Haiku and flyting. As the hip-hip evolution began in the 1980s, rappers such as Jay Z and Nas grew their fanbases from freestyle battles. Freestyling has evolved from informal places such as street corners, schools, and underground battling events to become an integral part of hip hop culture.
A live audience is crucial in the freestyling world. Twinner of the battle is often determined by the crowd’s reaction to the verses. For William Paterson’s rap battle, judges will select the winners but the audience may have a say in who is the victor.
Those interested in performing in the event were asked to send videos of themselves freestyling by April 12. From there, contestants will be chosen to perform, with guest judges deciding the top three finalists. Prizes will be given out to the winners. The event is open to the public and students are encouraged to participate and bring friends and family.