Okanagan lyricists put to the test

Mad Melody Records hosts a topic battle rap in Penticton on Sunday.

Whatever stereotype you have against hip hop, Robb O’Day wants you to toss it to the side.

Talking about cash, cars and bling isn’t the end all and be all at Mad Melody Records. And, they are looking for more talent that can spit those other topics.

“Every time people hear the word hip hop they think it is just money and talking about that kind of stuff. Hip hop is a new art in a sense, especially underground hip hop which is completely different,” said O’Day, owner of Mad Melody Records, who goes by MCBodhi on stage.

It is part of the reason why Mad Melody is hosting a topic rap battle at Fibonacci Roastery and Cafe this Sunday  at 6:30 p.m. that is open to all ages.

O’Day said they are still looking for more hip hop artists, poets or slam poets who want to have their lyrics heard.

The battles are judged by a panel of artists and producers from the Okanagan area. Competitors are scored on a 30-point scale system.

Aspects of criteria include presence and showmanship, freestyle flow, attitude, creative word combinations, speed, voice and breathing control, overall set and crowd reaction. O’Day has even put out a 10 commandments for the battle league which include thou shall not promote racism and to keep the insults and swearing to a minimum.

“We are trying to create something for the youth in the community. When a person can make a song a banger without any low form of language it is pretty unique and it can be hard. Creativity marks for contenders will go down if you rely on that,” said O’Day. “Each winner gets pushed to the next battle, with four events happening overall. Then the four winners will be put up against the champion, JDK,” said O’Day.

If the judges think one of the contenders is better than JDK, they earn themselves a four-song deal with Mad Melody Records to be recorded and produced by them.

“JDK is from Kelowna and is one of the most talented freestylers and  producers that I have ever met. He has a fast syllable count and jaw dropping metaphors. With everything he brings to the table you have to step up your game,” said O’Day.

For O’Day, this is just the first step of creating a strong music and hip hop scene in the Okanagan to bring together artists. O’Day comes from a rock background, he was once part of the local band The Pasties, but it was his love for all music that drew him towards starting up his own record label with Harley Pyrozyk, who is Mad Melody Records business/artist manager.

“I have two solo albums that are rock albums, but I also do hip hop, electronic music, hand drums and world music. I just love what I do and it is my escape from reality,” said O’Day.

For info visit www.madmelodyrecords.com.

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