Midwest hip-hop was once again on display this weekend as Hot 104.1 personality Finsta hosted the St. Louis preliminaries for the thirteenth-annual Scribble Jam competition at the Atomic Cowboy on Saturday night. Scribble Jam is a yearly festival held in Cinncinati, Ohio, which features performances by indie and national artists (KRS-One and Atmosphere head up the bill for this year’s event) as well as competitions for emcees, DJs, producers, graffiti artists, B-Boys and beat-boxers alike. Alumni of the emcee battle include talent such as Mac Lethal, Rhymefest, and Eminem. This year’s festival will be held from October 23 to 26.
The competition kicked off around 6 p.m. with the production battle. Beats by producers such as Jonathan Toth from Hoth and Kenautis Smith had the audience nodding their heads, but it came as no surprise to see Ben Bounce and Stoney Rock (a.k.a. Black Spade) in the finals. Ben Bounce had won several beat battles at Integrity (last year’s ill-fated hip-hop night at Blueberry Hill), and if you don’t know who Black Spade is, well, Google him. In the end, Ben Bounce was chosen to advance.
Overall, the competition wasn’t as tight for the emcee battle, but those who weren’t ready were quickly eliminated by those who were. Things got interesting when St. Louis’ Ill Will called out Steddy P. in the crowd, ultimately setting the stage for the final round. Kansas City rapper (by way of Columbia, Missouri) Steddy P. came out on top and will compete in Cincinnati.
In addition to the battles, entertainment included DJ Spec and Trackstar the DJ spinning records on the outdoor patio, with indoor performances by some of the area’s best underground artists. Nato Caliph, Spark1duh, and Black Spade, among others, performed thirty-minute sets up until about 1 a.m. The night was capped off with DJ Uptown and DJ Mahf on the turntables. Big ups to DJ Who? for putting the event together. He also hosts a hip-hop night every Thursday at Atomic Cowboy, so check it out if you haven’t already.
-- Calvin Cox