The origins of hip-hop date back to the 1970s. The genre was created by both African-American and Latin people in New York and those same communities are keeping the culture alive today.
While it's a pass time to listen to some of our favorite songs, there is another facet to rap music that often floats under the radar 一 battle rapping.
In rap battles, two rappers typically improvise lyrics to insult their opponent. Although this style of rapping isn't as popular and the traditional, more poetic style, it has created a massive underground landscape for the genre.
With the help of Red Bull Batalla, the culture of battle rapping is being brought to an international stage. The competition highlights Spanish emcees from across the globe, and Houston's own G.I.O was selected to represent H-Town in Austin on August 12.
"Representing Houston is not an easy task, I feel pressure because many emcees from here look at me as their representative in music in a general term," G.I.O tells Houstonia. "I’m doing music and we have a movement here producing events and parties in different clubs."
Originally from Venezuela, G.I.O. moved to the United States to begin his musical career and uses each battle to sharpen his skills. Of the competitors selected for the competition, G.I.O. is the only emcee representing Houston, and one of six contestants representing the Lone Star State.
"I have long time doing this since Venezuela but not with the passion I’m having in the USA," G.I.O. says.
G.I.O. says getting selected for the Red Bull Batalla competition was exciting, and felt like a commitment to fulfill a good role.
Each MC will be judged on their individual talent, and the top MCs will be selected to compete in the USA National Final. According to their website, the 36 USA Qualifier MCs will have their one-on-one battle clips reviewed by a special judges panel of former Batalla competitors Tito Yang, Kim MC, and El B.
The competition's USA National Final will be held on September 18 in Los Angeles, where the top 16 emcees will compete. Only one MC will be crowned USA National Champion, advancing to the Red Bull Batalla World Final.
For more information, on Red Bull Batalla, visit Red Bull's website.