Survival of the illest

By Gus Bode

a href=””bDE Staff Reporter/b/abrspan class=”realsmall”bDaily Egyptian/b/span

Survival of the illest

Rappers contend for $75 and bragging rights


Factoid:”Survival of the Illest” begins at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday at Hangar 9. Applicants who have signed up must have checked in by 10 p.m. or their spot will be given to someone on the waitlist.

Anyone who has seen Eminem’s film, “8 Mile,” is familiar with the aspiring, young rapper trying to break into the heavily competitive world of battle rapping. But one doesn’t have to go all the way up to Michigan to either participate in or experience the phenomenon that is the rap battle.

DJ Echoz has offered to put $75 of his own money down on the table for the one person who can best 15 others in what Echoz considers “a positive outlet to clash with someone non-violently.” The battle is being called “Survival of the Illest,” which is a rather fitting title considering the number of rappers involved, and the idea that the remaining rapper really is the “illest,” or best, of them all.

The actual event begins at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday at Hangar 9. Echoz said the signup list for the event was filled almost immediately. The contestants include a wide range of people from various cultures and even rapping styles. Currently the event has the 16 people needed to have a full-on rap battle, but Echoz stresses that all battlers must be present by 10 p.m. Otherwise, their position will be given to one of people on the waitlist.

DJ Echoz is serving as the host with DJ Ear Wax serving as his backup. Ear Wax will play instrumentals during the rounds, but both will DJ for 15 to 30 minutes between sets.

DJ Echoz said that such past winners as Awesome Awes, Open Mic and Babble will face each other as well as well as a crop of new faces.

“This will be the event where they will finally face off,” Echoz said. “Other than them, there are a lot of cats whom I haven’t even met face to face. I’m expecting to hear a lot of different styles from different people.”


With the success of the “8 Mile” film and the continually growing interest and support of hip-hop as a whole, Echoz decided that the time was finally right to expose Carbondale to a full-on rap battle.

The battle itself is set up into a system of branches or tiers, not unlike the way college basketball tournaments and conferences are organized. In the beginning there are two sides, with each side containing eight people. Each person is randomly selected to face another. The winner goes on to the next round, and so on down the line until there are only two left. In the first round, each person gets one minute to rap. In the second and third rounds, each person gets two minutes. In the final battle, each rapper is given three minutes to best their opponent.

The winner of each individual battle is chosen by audience reaction. In the event of a split audience approval, five random members of the audience will be asked their preferred rapper. Originality is the key factor in this competition. According to Echoz, there is no acceptance of non-spontaneous raps.

“This is a freestyle rap contest,” Echoz said. “Anyone trying to pass a written rap across the audience will either be boo-ed or I will disqualify them.”

Echoz said that although the cash prize is currently set at $75, it may get up to as much as $100 if more people attend the battle than are currently expected. Past hip-hop showcases have seen overwhelming turnouts. Due to the sheer intensity and drama that accompanies most battles and showcases, Wednesday’s battle is likely to be no exception.

According to Echoz, this event is rather interesting because it provides a different perspective to rap and hip-hop.

“Battle rapping is usually the forgotten element in rapping, yet it’s almost the most entertaining,” Echoz said. “Trust me. It’s going to be very interesting.”