Last weekend, Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis TN, put together a one of a kind “Master of the Microphones” event where 16 contestants battle rapped each other till there was only one left standing. There were two initial rounds where each contestant had to freestyle rap to 30 seconds of rap beats and then they had to freestyle to a live rock band. This made the competition reach a whole new level… Some could hang and some fell off! There were “American Idol” style judges set up to give criticism and ultimately pick the winner. A few of the judges included, Johnnie Walker and Kurt “KC” Clayton with the Memphis Music Commission, “Street” with Streetmasters Magazine, M-Town with Memphisrap.com, and Michael Norwood with Band House Studios. The entire competition was full of excitement, each contestant had their own style and swagg, some of who you wouldn’t think even belong to the rap genre. It goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover!
After three full rounds and the battle was over, Ole Miss college student Patrick Worthy aka “Poncho Piffy” walked away with the realest trophy ever and some recording time at Band House Studios. This energetic, on-point artist blew the judges away and had a large fan-base to help cheer him on. It was a great recipe for success.
Here is a short interview with Poncho Piffy and I do believe we will be seeing this Master of the Microphone again soon!
Who is Poncho Piffy?
Poncho Piffy is the rhyming alter ego I artistically vent all my frustrations through. Without him I’m just Patrick Worthy, your everyday dude that’s just trying to get by on this planet like everybody else. Both have a fondness for Orange soda, White Chocolate Reeses cups and being completely inappropriate 75% of the time. I’m pretty basic so my raps are always larger than life to compensate. Keeping it real is overrated.
How did you get the name?
Poncho came from myself when me and some friends were joking around, giving myself a Wu-Tang-esque a.k.a. like them cats do. It was Jimmy Poncho but I dropped the Jimmy because it sounded garbage after awhile. Piffy came from when I moved to the Memphis area and some of my friends here never heard the word “Piff” before so they associated me with the term. About a year back I opened up for my friend Brock’s band Zoogma and when they called me up to the stage they said Poncho Piffy. I liked the sound of it together and have kept it since. To me it signifies my ties here and back in Virginia.
Who are some of your influences in music?
Too many to list all of them but I’ll try to cover my overall range. Rappers in no particular order are: Jay-Z, Andree 300,Lupe Fiasco, Elzhi of Slum Village, 8-Ball, Diverse, Joe Budden and Ludacris. All these cats have a real breezy flow and they just ride the beat real comfortable like without missing a beat. Hip-Hop production wise you have to give it up to RZA and Kanye West but two dudes people may or may not know about are J Dilla and Black Milk — They have that soul/Motown bump I really love. People need to check out these two dudes because what they’re doing on the boards is astounding.
As far as non Hip-Hop acts go, I love Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead for their ability to experiment and express themselves in ways people never heard before but still come out with that ear chronic most of the time. Jimi was ahead of his time on Electric Ladyland and Radiohead are super out of the box on OK Computer and Kid A.
How did you get started rapping?
Like everything else in my life, and many other dudes, it all began with impressing a female. Back when I was 18 my friends had a cipher going and a crowd gathering around. I was watching on the sidelines when this real bangin’ girl pulls up to see what’s going on. Without knowing what the hell I was doing, I hopped in and started rhyming. The crowd booed me harsh but my friend Brian saw potential and took me under his wing. I’ve gotten nicer since then but needless to say I didn’t get the girl’s number that night.
Have you done a lot of “Rap Battles” before or was this your first?
This was my third. I did one back in Virginia a long time ago and one at the University of Memphis.
How do you get mentally prepared for a “Rap Battle?
I like to watch anything with some vicious fight scenes in it. 300, Fight Club, even some of them old martial arts movies where they’re flying on wires and s--t like that. It gets my mind on this middle ground where I’m pumped but calm at the same time. This helps me organize my thoughts so my words flow easier from the brain to the mouth. If not that then I’ll listen to some of my favorite tracks of all time on my iPod.
I noticed you had a large crowd of fans and supporters with you, that’s great! Were you shocked to win?
Completely. My closest friends have been the only fans I’ve known so far. The last battle I participated at in Memphis the crowd wasn’t really feeling me. One of the dudes that battled afterwards came up to me and said I can’t be in Memphis sounding all northern and having a whole bunch of lyrics because people here just want to get crunk and it ain’t about what you’re saying. I felt it was some b------t and he was really kind of insulting the people of Memphis like their dumb. I took notice to part of what he was saying and developed a way to make myself more accessible without compromising my style since then. To me taking the trophy home was a sign that I tapped into something golden. It shows I’ve come a long way in developing as an MC and that people other my friends feel me when I’m on stage.
What’s the next big move for Poncho Piffy?
I’m in the works of creating a music page on myspace so people can hear me. After I get that not so big move out of the way I’ll just be on the grind of putting music out there for people to hear. I want to work with more underdogs in the Memphis community and get more unity about.
All in all I hope to add some balance to the hip hop scene in Memphis and anywhere else where people might hear me. I feel like hip hop as a whole is mostly only showing one perspective of the game. People are missing out on the different angles so I’m here to cure that. I’m not here on some soapbox preaching to the people what they need to be doing. I’m just an MC, plain and simple. Word.
And then after the show…….Friends caught Poncho Piffy dreaming big:)