The city’s top spit boxers enter the ring at Beauty Bar on December 28 for the King of the City 2014 Finals. Less of an insult-hurling battle and more a test of lyrical skills, the event pits eight winners from the Academy Beat League’s monthly rap competitions against one another to see who can deliver the best 16-bar verse, be it freestyle or written. Emcees will have to prove themselves both in a capella and over instrumentals. The rappers are putting their money where their mouth is, too. Each participant pays $25 to enter. The victor takes the $200 pot home. Or, at least, to the bar.
While the lineup wasn’t released by press time, organizer DJ Shakespeare, who also runs monthly beat battles Downtown, says to expect a show. Members of the AHAT Las Vegas battle league—yes, rap battle leagues are a thing—have participated in past events. If you’ve never witnessed a rap competition, it’s a true display of wit and lyrical gymnastics to see who’s got the best wordplay and delivery. Though some verbal jabs might get thrown, “It’s all respect,” DJ Shakespeare says.
If huddling around a bunch of dudes all night isn’t your idea of a good time, there are plenty of non-backpack options this week, too. Vegas’ own Barry Black, who gained national attention from his run on NBC’s The Voice last year, spreads the holiday cheer with a five-night gig at the House of Blues for A Soulful Christmas With Barry Black and Friends. From December 16-20, the Samoan-American crooner will belt out holiday classics and original songs, which draw from classic soul and 90s R&B. Joining him are former The Voice contestants Preston Pohl and Josh Logan.
Dizzy Wright might be a skinny dude, but his name is the heaviest in Vegas hip-hop. The hometown hero brings his blunted, positive vibes to Brooklyn Bowl on December 27. With the nation in so much turmoil, his September single “I Need Answers” has never been more poignant: Why do we always feel like a target? If I know it’s because my skin, what would you call it? As serious as that song might be, if you caught his set at Life Is Beautiful, then you know Dizzy can rock a party right. Let’s hope he has a live band with him again. Also on the bill are SoCal tagger-turned-rapper Phora and Vegas emcees Euroz and Sedrew Price.
Finally, start your NYE turn-up early with Canadian crooner PartyNextDoor at Hard Rock Live on December 30. Signed to Drake’s OVO Sound, the rising R&B star makes crude, melodic bangers about sex and drugs. Needless to say, of all the concerts ever mentioned in Sound Proof, this one will have the best male-to-female ratio of attendees. Plus, with Drake performing the following night at Marquee, maybe the Champagne Papi will make a guest appearance. Ladies, don’t forget to paint “OVO” on your toenails.