Saturday, September 30, 2023

‘Spit your bars’: Poets and emcees battle to see who takes the crown


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Photo courtesy of Flickr

Story by Kashima Allen / Contributing Writer

Five poets and five emcees used words as their weapons Saturday night in an all-out battle to see who’s better. The event was hosted by Team Poetry captain and comedian, Queen Sheba, and poet Dichotomy at Venue 109 in Madison, Tennessee.

“Here’s how it works: When you come up here to spit your bars, you must hug first,” Queen Sheba said as she explained the friendly competition. “We started doing this show to bridge cultural background. We actually had people who had beef and the show helped them.”

Morgan Bosman kicked off the evening with a performance of a song that she also sang at the Women’s March entitled “Rise.” She ended her opening number with Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”

In a pre-round, Queen Sheba gave everyone a taste of what would later come in the show as she recited a poem about love, which included the line, “been divorced twice, you can call me off the chain. Holla at me when you can pay my student loan with one pay stub.”

Team Hip-Hop Captain, S-Wrap, responded with his own bars. The competition was hot.

The five poets on Team Poetry included Shavey, Debria Love, Ba the Lewe, M-dot the Poet and Row, while the five emcees on Team Hip-Hop included Racq Music, Trez, Black Wizzle, Calvin Rose and Malcolm Dwayne.

Although the participants tour every year, there are many who have never seen or heard of the competition.

Martin Lawrence, a 24-year-old from La Vergne, said the reason he came out to see the show was because he’s always been a fan of poetry.

“I’ve never seen where events like this were but this popped up on my Facebook, so I had to come check it out,” Lawrence said. “I’m excited to see what’s to come and who’s gonna win.”

In a crowded room comprised of an approximate 200 people, DJ Knodat kept the good vibes coming all night long by spinning tracks for the artists and in between sets.

Team Poetry won round one thanks to poet Shavey, whose lyrics completely captivated the audience.

Emcee Racq Music, who competed against poet Shavey in round one, said she participated just for fun but to also try to gain a bigger audience with her music.

“I just started recently taking my music seriously,” Music said. “I saw this on eventbrite when I was searching for rapping battles or something to that effect and, well, here we are. I knew it would be great exposure for my music and to try to get my fan base up.”

Team Poetry won round two while Team Hip-Hop won rounds three and four. In the fifth and final round, both teams went neck and neck as both delivered lyrics on controversial issues before Team Poetry took the overall competition. With success comes prizes, at least for this competition. Winners received a swag bag that included money, a notebook, a pen and a t-shirt.

Overall, both teams brought something different to the table and gave the audience an experience they’ll never forget, which arguably makes the audience the real winners of the night.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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