Oct 20, 2014
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One of the West Coast’s most influential battle rap stages has returned following a two-year hiatus, and naturally artists from “Rich City” represented.

Da Jungle, the battle rap competition that made a significant mark on the scene between 2009 and 2012, launching multiple careers, returned Sept. 20 to Anderson Park in Stockton.

Competitors and fans gathered to watch countless battles pitting rappers from all over the state, including two up-and-coming artists from Richmond: MadFlex and Keef Brown.

One of Da Jungle’s organizers, Brian Peeples aka Okwerdz, said rappers from Richmond impress no matter how big the stage.

“MadFlex is a real dope upcoming beast who has a great potential and a bright future ahead of him in the sport,” said Okwerdz, 31, who has been credited with helping battle rap launch careers in the digital age.

WARNING: Adults should be aware that this video contains profanity.

Okwerdz said organizers will be pushing to throw MadFlex in more high-profile matches.

“I believe a few other leagues have already been doing the same,” he said.

Another newcomer to Stockton was Keef Brown, a Richmond rapper who Okwerdz had never heard of before.

“He pleasantly surprised us with one of the better performances of the tryouts,” Okwerdz said.

Da Jungle accepts battle rappers from anywhere as long as they can hold their own, but Okwerdz says Richmond’s strong hip hop past makes it a bastion for strong talent.

“From Master P starting No Limit Records there to even Locksmith and many others Richmond has definitely been repped well in hip hop,” he said.

Da Jungle, founded by J Fox was mainly put together to showcase Stockton battle rappers, but grew exponentially and became a major influence in battle rap, with MCs nationwide competing at events, including Conceited from Brooklyn, NY.

“He started with us when nobody knew who he was, now he’s a regular on MTV’s Wild n Out and he just did a BET Cypher last week,” Okwerdz said.

In 2010, Okwerdz was featured in a Stockton Record profile that highlighted how he used the influential battle rap videos to promote his own music online and tap a global fan base.

For more information on Da Jungle, including dates, times and location of upcoming competitions,  visit facebook.com/DaJungle209 and @DaJungle209 on Twitter.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.