The Real Emcees The New Vanguards in Filipino Hip-hop

The Philippines has its old tradition of having Balagtasan, a poetry in a form of debate. The two poets will argue about a topic but their delivery of their lines are in a poetry form, with rhymes and proper expression.

Over the time, it evolved and was a popular rap battle called FlipTop. Similar to Balagtasan, FlipTop is a debate in the form of rap. Two rappers are battling with a topic and should throw their rap lines that are usually funny, sarcastic, or sometimes offensive. It was founded in February 2010, influenced by rap battle leagues in America.

The FlipTop battle is consist of three rounds. It also has two rappers who will battle and a referee to set time and give the floor to the rapper. Speaking time of each rapper is limited to a minute to three.

The judges then pick the winner based on the criteria set by the organizers. The criteria includes usage of words, performance, audience impact which is a very essential part of the art, and delivery including rapping style.

FlipTop also promotes different languages in the Philippines. Aside from the famous Filipino rap battle, it can also use local languages, such as Bisaya, Pampango, Ilokano, and even English which is considered as the second language in the Philippines.

Rap Battle Masters
Because rap battle videos uploaded online reach millions of views, this also paved the way for some FlipTop artists to cross the mainstream media. Some of the famous FlipTop personality are Abra, Bassilyo, Dello, Loonie, Shehyee, Smugglaz, and Zaito.

They each released a single and some are used by major TV networks as an official soundtrack for their shows, including teleserye. Some FlipTop artists also joined showbiz and made some regular TV and movie apperances, including Abra, Loonie, Bassilyo, Dello, and Zaito.

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