A battle of rhyme and wit: Rider Rhymes set to return

By Giavanna Troilo

The “highly anticipated” and promising fierce competition, Rider Rhymes, Rider’s own student-run hip-hop and rap competition, will make a comeback to the Cavalla Room on February 12.

The electrifying event debuted in 2018, following alumnus Chris Patrick’s 2016 victory in Rider’s vocal competition, R-Factor. Patrick wowed the crowd with his performance of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights,” which he rapped along with added original verses.

Patrick was just one of many student rappers who have taken the Rider stage to share their passion for hip-hop, whether through R-Factor or its predecessor, Rider’s Got Talent. It was clear that a hip-hop based competition would be the next best addition to the campus community.

Rider Rhymes turned out to be a massive hit among the student body, cementing itself as an asset to Rider’s annual Student Entertainment Council (SEC) events calendar.

Brittany Cook, junior health science major and SEC member, will lead this year’s Rider Rhymes, and is confident in the event as a means to put a wider variety of student abilities on display.

“It showcases a talent that we normally don’t get to see,” Cook said. “We have R-Factor, which is always a great event, but it doesn’t let people who like to rap showcase their talents.” Cook will be behind the scenes ensuring that each aspect of the show runs as planned.

The competition will consist of three rounds: the first round, featuring the contestants’ own original songs, the second “cypher” round, in which all contestants perform over the same beat, and the third and final round, challenging performers to free-style over a random hip-hop track from pop culture.

The winner will be determined by audience votes.

“This year we have amazing talent coming, old and new,” said Cook. “We are going to have people who have participated in previous years and new talent that we expect a lot from.”

Cymere Nobles, junior musical theatre major and winner of last year’s Rider Rhymes, will be one of the performers featured in the event this year.

“Being a part of it last year and actually winning was an amazing experience,” said Nobles of his 2019 victory. “Going back into it, I just want to have fun, and have a competition with myself from last year instead of focusing on the other ‘competitors.’”

Nobles, along with Cook, believes in shining a light on the dynamic artistry that Rider students have to offer. He appreciates being able to express himself through rap, especially while sharing his talents with his fellow students.

“I think it should be held every year because it showcases the wittiness, bar-heavy rhymes, and competitive nature of hip-hop,” says Nobles.

Above all, Rider Rhymes asks us to recognize the growing influence and storytelling power of hip-hop as a genre.

“Hip-hop is such an essential and influential piece of our everyday lives,” says Nobles. “It has grown to be the largest genre in music today and its culture has reached an enormous number of people worldwide.”

Rider Rhymes will be held in the Cavalla Room of the Bart Luedeke Center on February 12 at 10 p.m.

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