Chalked Out is a new spoken word battle league where battlers are given time to research and write about their opponent and then invited to deliver the ‘writtens’ in front of an audience – and all without a beat. The rappers can then use this as a way of climbing up the leagues to battle bigger names both in the UK and across the world.   

Local performance poet and Hastings Slam Dunk organiser, Lucas Howard, travelled up to The Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden to join in the fun. One of eight battles on the night, his was against a 17 year-old rapper called Hughie Boom (Mark Beattie) from Dublin. With both performers battling for the first time, this was a try-out – a chance for the promoters to see what each can do.

Lucas told HIP “I combine poetry with rap to achieve an individual style. I am interested in inflated displays of masculinity in a way that can help people tackle issues of aggression, shame and social embarrassment. As someone who was badly bullied at school I see battling as a way of taking my power back.”

Feedback on the night suggested Lucas had come out on top but the idea behind these events is that every performer is a winner and can take their work forward to higher popularity and bigger audiences. The performances go out on YouTube and a worldwide audience can decide how far these rap poets travel up the league.

Lucas looks forward to his next battle, adding “The thing that strikes me about this scene is that, like the UK hip-hop scene it’s very inclusive and friendly. The aggression and hyper-masculinity is all tongue in cheek and sends itself up. At its centre lies shared culture and a real love of words. Some of the wordplay is astounding.”

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