Lincoln Hip Hop, Rap Forum Keeps Morale High

Story Number: NNS080517-02Release Date: 5/17/2008 9:47:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sean Gallagher, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- As the Sailors on board USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) hit the one-third completion mark of their scheduled seven-month deployment May 17, morale remains high.

Contributing to this elevated spirit is a dancing and rapping competition at the carrier's very own night club, Club 72, located on the mess decks once a month on Saturday nights.

Hosted by Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Alvin Lewis, or "DJ Groovy Lou," as he is commonly called, the club boasts a variety of hip hop and rap music, as well as a complete dance floor.

Lewis said he thought dance competitions as well as rap battles could boost morale, showcase the beats, and encourage Lincoln Sailors to share their talent for improvisation. With a high audience turnout, Sailors of many different departments battle hard to earn the appreciation of the audience and judges.

The competitions consist of rap-offs in which artists let flow their best freestyle lyrics in an attempt to win the judges' admiration. Also, dance-offs showcase some seemingly reserved Sailors who have unexpected talent to share.

One of the rap competitors, Aviation Hull Technician 3rd Class Steven Burrows, is an avid fan of the rap scene and even plans to release his own CD in the future.

"It was nothing like battles I have entered and won before, this time I was going up against a local favorite, Thurman Norton (Thermal)," Burrows said. "I have not given up on winning the crowd and next time I will make sure that my competition 'freestyles' are about the surroundings and brings something a little more original."

Lewis encourages Sailors to come out to upcoming events and contend. He challenges anyone who thinks they have the skills to come out of hiding and prove it.

"Practice; that'll be a big thing. Practice; if you've got skills, come out and showcase them," Lewis said. "Most importantly, practice and be original, but make sure you come prepared."

Lewis plans to continue coordinating and hosting future events to do what he can to help keep morale alive and high. Lewis said he was approached by many Sailors asking for the opportunity to show off their talents.

"What really inspired me was I thought this could help boost morale on the ship," the senior chief said. "I said to myself, 'you know what, let's make this happen.'"

All Lincoln Sailors are encouraged to get brave and step into the spotlight, Lewis said.

"I enjoy helping to keep the morale up on the ship, and that's my main goal," Lewis said. "We're all out here together until we get back, and as long as we keep it safe and in good context, we'll keep it going and continue having fun."

USS Abraham Lincoln is deployed to the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet area of responsibility to support Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help develop security in the maritime environment, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

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