As Ill Sykes continues to orate an arid depiction of a vividly dystopian and all too hopeless backdrop he finds himself surrounded by, the London born rapper, poet, singer and instrumentalist acts as a cold and cracked mirror in which we get to see, hear and feel life’s dark and eerie shades of grey shrouded hue, often softened and glistened, and so delicately covered up by the glitter of mainstream media. Ill Sykes shows us through that cracked and tainted looking-glass, and into the world that he sees. It’s evil, often terrifying and laden with more satanic verses than the words of Salman Rushdie. A world where death, darkness and decay aren’t merely literary brush strokes from a rap artists palette, they are the only dark colours we ever get to see in our minds eye whenever Ill Sykes does his thing.
In December 2023, Killa Tapes ran its second annual rap contest; the Killa Bars competition. An open-to-all competition for emcees of any kind to spit a verse to the beats provided by beat makers and producers; Manage from Lab79, Doc T, VHS Tapes, BeatMasterBoyce and DJ Pandamonium. Participants would then record a video to submit for entry to the competition, and we had over 50 entries. This year, and after much deliberation, Ill Sykes was named the winner for 2023 based on his performance in the video he submitted and the decision of our three judges, UKHH legend Farma G, last year’s winner, Habitat 617, and Hip Hop doctor, Configa.
Describing imaginary worlds and galaxies that are simultaneously created and destroyed in his mind, Ill Sykes compares them to plasticine in his winning Killa Bars competition verse, stating that they are easily moulded in his hands, a layered way of saying he is a god-like force of his craft. And based on that verse, the judges and everyone tuning in were inclined to agree. It seemed unanimous, as a trove of DM’s hit the Killa Tapes instagram from fans and listeners demanding that Ill Sykes be announced the winner, and that was before the competition had even ended.
Now, that isn’t to say that competition wasn’t steep, and that this was a walk in the park for Ill Sykes, in fact there were two notable contenders, Hazbeen and Pique Roscoe, whom at separate parts of the competition seemed as though they could each easily have won and taken home the Killa Bars golden tape. Hazbeen, with an evil flare of his own, came with a twisted and totally demented rap performance, akin to some kind of verbal mental breakdown, stating that he was “back once again just to piss people off”, screaming about his friend ‘Henry Weston’, referring to the famous cider drink.
Pique Roscoe’s full scale, one take, one shot music video, from what looks like a home based studio / laboratory / think tank head office, at an undisclosed location in the great city of Manchester, was one of the dopest things to have come from 2023. Power Bars with a big bunch of funk and swagger, amidst that awesome and iconic Manchester accent, the entry from Pique Roscoe was an obvious contender for the top spot from the second it dropped.
Alongside the two aforementioned emcees, at least ten other participants in the Killa Bars competition were good enough to write home about. In fact, Farma G made a full length breakdown of the competition and who he thought should win, and which were his top ten most notable entrants. Click here to watch the video on Instagram. As winner, and newly crowned over-lord of all rap in the world of Killa Tapes, for the next year at least, Ill Sykes has won the prestigious Killa Bars golden tape award worth £100,000 (in Monopoly money), as well as a double spread feature in our next printed publication, the Killa Tapes Magazine, and also a music video to accompany a new song release. More details on that will follow in a later article, but for now please join us in congratulating Ill Sykes on his Killa Bars competition win, and be sure to grab a copy of the next magazine for a full read-up on his new music projects, what’s in store this year and much more.
Salute Ill Sykes; Killa Bars Competition Winner 2023. Click here to watch his winning video.