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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Judgin Ain’t Easy
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The title of “Celebrity Judge” is a great honor and last Thursday I had that honor bestowed on me by one of Connecticut’s hardest working MCs, Prolifik, for his monthly show, The King of the Underground, in New Haven. The show was held at Café Nine, a spot I’d never been to before, and featured my good friends Nervous System as one of the main performers. I showed up not knowing what to expect other than a lot of MCs probably wanting to network with me once Prolifik announced me as a judge. What I also didn’t realize was that one of my good friends was going to be in the competition.

The night started at around 9pm. Once I made way to Café Nine and met the other judges, DJ Vezzy and DJ Laz, I was ready to get things started. The first battle was fairly uneventful with two MCs who could rhyme but not necessarily battle. Battling is an art form and one thing I’ve noticed is a lot of people have been attempting to battle by talking about themselves. That’s not battling, that’s bragging, and while it may work in a song it makes no sense in a battle. I don’t care where you’re coming from, I don’t care how hard you are, I don’t care how great you are. In a battle you need to tear the other person a new one in such a way as to elicit that much sought after “oooh” from the crowd and very few artists are adept at doing this anymore.

Two artists at The King of the Underground did know how get that crowd reaction, Eclipse from Nervous System and Mic Ripz. Both Eclipse and Ripz ran through their first round opponents with ease and wound up facing each other for the right to face last month’s winner, Napalm (who was making the bartender a very rich man throughout the show). Round one of the battle was close, but knowing Eclipse as long as I have I knew he was capable of doing better, and I told him this when I voted against him. I hated the feeling I got when I did it but I pride myself on being fair. Eclipse seemed to take it well and came out with an incredible array of insults and barbs in round two. Unfortunately Ripz spit second in that round and finished with a line about Eclipse’s moustache looking like a Dirty Sanchez that had the other two judges sold on him. My vote for Eclipse in round two didn’t matter and my heart sunk a bit. Thankfully he understood I was just doing my job, which makes him both a good artist and a good friend.

Ripz easily destroyed Napalm in the final battle and was crowned the new champ. When Napalm went over his time limit in round one and spit one last line Ripz looked at him and said “you’re gonna pay for that,” a threat I was looking forward to him backing up. He instantly won the competition with his first line, noting how Napalm’s last line was good, but he really loved it the first time he heard it when Supernat said it. The other judges and I just looked at each other and smiled because our job was just made a heck of a lot easier. It was nice to see Ripz in a traditional battle like this because every other time I’d seen him had been in freestyle games and he hadn’t faired very well in them. When it comes to one on one battling, however, he can definitely hold his own.

While the final round may have been a breeze I can now officially say judging ain’t easy. Thankfully I saved my mistakes in judgment for the next night on my radio show. On Friday last week’s Artist of the Week, Dirty Elegance, was my guest. We made two very funny mistakes during the show. First, we thought the outside speaker that broadcasts the show to the student center (WVOF is on the Fairfield U campus) was off since they were having an event going on. Seeing what looked to be a midget doing all the work there, and figuring the speaker was off, the question of “what qualifies a person as a midget?” was asked on air. I felt kind of bad when we found out the speaker was on, but there’s still a chance she didn’t hear us. Our other “D’oh” moment occurred when Dirty Elegance joked “I’ll give fifty bucks to the next caller.” Yeah, phone lines lit up. Apparently I have listeners.

So whether it’s judging a battle, or judging whether or not a speaker is on, I can say, unequivocally, judgin ain’t easy.
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:56 AM  
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