|ANYGMA (LEFT) MORALLY SUPPORTING PROTEGE DURING THE KING OF THE DOT IN TORONTO|
Vim Nadera: Would you consider the official birthday of Flip Top -- 6 February 2010?
Alaric Yuson: Yeah, for convenience sake, that is its birthday. It would be too tedious to explain to everyone if I said its birthday would be the exact date the company was registered.
VN: And it took place on that Grain Assault Event at Quantum Café in Makati?
AY: Uhm… the first five official battles of FlipTop. There were three English conference battles and two Filipino conference battles. Unfortunately, the memory card that contained the footage of the first three battles was corrupted and any other alternative documentation doesn’t come close to our normal videos. Our audience then was small compared to our usual crowd now. Still pretty big by local HipHop-gig standards actually; there were around 160 attendants. But just as important as the first five battles, within that relatively intimate audience were all kinds of Emcees who would join the succeeding events and gain degrees of recognition that none of us had previously thought possible. Pretty cool whenever I look back at it, and I hope everyone then thinks so too. And yeah, that slowly lead to everything that FlipTop is today.
VN: Why did you chose and match them up: Fuego vs. Protégé and Datu vs. Cameltoe?
AY: At that point, we were looking for any Emcee interested in trying out the new format. The matchups are made either by random, stylistic-wise, or requested specifically by the Emcees. Protégé vs Fuego was actually the last match to be confirmed. A friend just told me he knew someone who wanted to try it out, I was sitting next to Protégé during the phone call, I asked him if he wanted in and he accepted. I though Datu vs Cameltoe would be a nice contrast of styles and since I’ve know both for a while, I just asked them if they’d want to try it out too. For those that don’t know, the other battles that night were: NothingElse vs RBTO, Batas vs Abra, and Apoc vs JedLi. They’ve all been staple faces in the scene and were all interested in trying out the new format too.
VN: How long did you organize it? Was there an audition or something?
AY: I had around a month to organize the event itself but I was already fixing up the legal papers for the company before that. There was no audition then since I knew most of the participants anyway. Well, I didn’t know of Fuego then but that’s also what the battle is for, to find out which Emcees have it and who don’t. I did implement a tryouts portion though, a few events after that, to prevent dime-a-dozen Emcees from wasting our time and hard work.
VN: Did your famous father Alfred “Krip” Yuson help you in any way?
AY: Well, he helped shape me into the person capable of starting FlipTop. From time to time, I’d ask him for advice on handling the legal stuff and also how to handle certain situations.
VN: How is it being his son?
AY: I’m not really sure how to answer this…
VN: How influential was he to you? And your mom? And your sister Mirava who happens to be a “Promil Kid”?
AY: Generic as it sounds, my family and surroundings all had a hand in my becoming whatever I am today, be it Emcee, organizer, human being, whatever.
VN: How would you see yourself ten or twenty years from now?
AY: I honestly don’t know. I could be dead by then, haha. I try to take it by the day without losing track of whatever it is I think I should be doing.
VN: What about Flip Top? Will it still be around by then?
AY: Hopefully. I don’t count it out. With language evolving, who knows what kind of battles we’ll have by then. The scene will definitely be intact and hopefully there’ll be proper torchbearers for every succeeding generation.
VN: Can it stand on its own without you?
AY: It should be able to. We’re all human, ergo, anything I can do can be done by someone else and hopefully even better.
VN: Do you have plans of taking it to other parts of the Philippines like Baguio or Cebu or Davao?
AY: Yep, it has long been in the works. I won’t give any spoilers though. It’ll just happen. I don’t really share plans before completely enacting them so… yeah.
VN: You are praised for helping develop our national language. What is your reaction?
AY: Well, I probably just sparked a little more interest. It’s really the Filipino-rapping Emcees who help develop the language in that they inspire kids to play with the language in ways they might not have thought of before. That goes for the more mature kids though. I don’t appreciate kids on the street who merely repeat what they hear in the battles. And there are also those who pattern everything they say after the style of their ‘idol’. The point is not to mimic, much less all the profanity and crude lines, but to come up with your own style or collect your own thoughts and refine them over and over. It doesn’t even have to be HipHop oriented, if it inspires you for fiction writing then that’s great. I’m afraid that sometimes people use it as an excuse to monkey around more than they already do or even to say bad stuff to others. Alas.