Boyz From the Hyde

A rap battle in Ryley between a “Boy from the Hyde” and Menelik Washington ’09 was broken up by faculty, so they took the battle outside amidst cheers and ooohs from a throng of students. Dillon McDonald and Brian Thompson from Hyde School in Bath, Maine performed in Ryley Room on Friday night. Their act was met with an extraordinarily enthusiastic response from the crowd. “Dill” McDonald and “Bthompson” finished school early, so as their Senior project they decided to perform at Phillips Academy. McDonald performed the first act. McDonald is part of a rock band based in Nashville, Tennessee called “Dillon McDonald and the Avians.” He started playing guitar seriously and writing music at age 16 and his band will be recording their first album this summer. However, they couldn’t come with him, so McDonald could only play acoustic guitar solos to entertain the crowd. The audience received his slow, soothing lyrics and melodies with hearty applause. McDonald played nine acoustic guitar solos in a row. For his first four songs, he played in the dark because the stage lights weren’t working, but he kept on playing. He later said that since his rock band couldn’t come, he felt “totally naked up here trying to play solo acoustic.” The final act was Thompson, who really got the crowd heated. His rap group “Hustle Rap” couldn’t make it either, so Thompson was forced to improvise to keep the audience entertained. Thompson is originally from Andover and proudly said, “I love Andover.” At Hyde, he joined up with his rap group “Hustle Rap,” and began recording. They just came out with a new CD which Thompson sold after the performance. First, he played some beats on the guitar and rapped to them, and then switched to rapping to beats from his laptop. He rapped songs such as “Wounded Soldier,” which he wrote in English class. Soon he was out of material so he was forced to begin freestyling. Unfortunately, the speaker system didn’t work, and the microphone was constantly malfunctioning, but Thompson wasn’t fazed, and just went with the flow. Brian Walsh from Andover, a friend of Thompson’s, went onstage as an accompaniment and danced to Thompson’s lyrics. His style of dance was hilarious, rolling his hips and ripping his pants off on stage. Thompson’s lyrics were entertaining and received “ooohs” and cheers from the crowd, but he wanted it to be more fun. He wanted it to be a rap battle. Evan Hawk ’08 seemed up for the challenge and he jumped onstage and battled it out with Walsh. The ensuing battle had students falling out of their chairs in laughter. Finally, Washington had the courage to go onstage. He rapped at Thompson, but then just walked back offstage. Thompson wasn’t about to take that, though, and yelled after Washington, “Are you serious? That’s like running onstage, slapping me and running away! Come on, man!” As Washington climbed back onstage, Thompson continued their battle, but the faculty soon brok up the two. To add some excitement, Thompson said, “Let’s finish this outside,” and motioned to the crowd to join them. After a throng of students gathered outside the entrance to Commons, the two rappers resumed their battle. However, their battle was once again broken up by a faculty member, but, by general consensus, Thompson won that round. I think we can all agree that, as Gustavo Tavares ’09 said, “That’s one of the craziest things I’ve seen in a long time.”