Inside FlipTop

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In 2014, Red Bull commissioned me to take a portrait of Fliptop Founder Alaric Yuson aka Anygma on a rainy day at his home in Pasig. It was also discussed that I had to shoot the upcoming Rap Battle at the end of the month. The protocols in place were very strict. Fliptop was always in complete control of their content. I was told that I had to be invisible, and well, I had to use a quieter camera.

This led to Anygma asking me to shoot future rap battles and some shows in the hiphop community, but the timing was always wrong.

It took two years, an international production who hired me to shoot the Mark Grist battle with Loonie last November for Anygma and I to cross paths again and tell me I should shoot the biggest show, Ahon 7 this month.

I guess it wasn’t just about the timing, I was simply looking for a really compelling reason to do it.

First, I needed courage to dive into a new project. You don’t go working on something this important without being emotionally prepared for it. And you don’t go taking pictures thinking that one event can summarize everything your subject has ever created.

Second, I have very little knowledge on this scene, which makes me nervous about being inside it, yet as an outsider it is fitting for me to follow it, like I have in other subjects the past few years. You have to leave room to invest yourself in learning through observing.

Lastly, the timing was perfect, I needed to take a step back and learn a thing or two from the Fliptop crowd on how much they listen, because that’s how you open your mind and get the message.

Photography is necessary to create awareness, but more often than not, the purpose gets lost in the midst of other photos and the message gets muffled in the sea of sameness.

With a scene driven by more than 700 million views on Youtube, you’ll learn a thing or two about getting people to stop, look and listen.

I am so grateful to be allowed to capture still moments of such an intense show.

You see more when you listen.

RELATED: TBT: Fliptop 2014

I have tried my best to narrow down the number of photographs in this post, but I’m still too excited to hyper edit myself. Maybe some of you who haven’t seen or heard of this, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS SCENE IF YOU HAVEN’T YET.

If you’re looking for other photos, I am told that Fliptop will upload it on their facebook, or follow my account at facebook.com/nsandejas and Instagram.com/rosarioko for the occasional posts.

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