On a recent Wednesday in mid-December, a handful of hip-hop heads gathered onstage at Double Happiness, trading freestyle verses atop a looped beat created on-the-spot by violinist David Wong.

On a recent Wednesday in mid-December, a handful of hip-hop heads gathered onstage at Double Happiness, trading freestyle verses atop a looped beat created on-the-spot by violinist David Wong.

Though brief - the entire pass-the-mike session lasted less than 10 minutes - the exchange launched what organizers hope will grow into a flourishing, once-a-week event.

The weekly, dubbed the Breaks, is the brainchild of Eric Rollin (Evan Oberla Project, Mr. Anderson) and Josh Miller (one of the principles behind hip-hop monthly Knock Five), who envision a freeform platform where rappers can share the stage with a mix of DJs and live musicians.

"In my vision, I'd like to see it stay as a cipher (a freestyle session) so younger MCs can come up and get in a circle with more established MCs," Rollin said in a phone interview a few days after the inaugural event. "So if you wrote something you want to try out on the mike, or if you like to freestyle, this would give you the opportunity to do that."

This dynamic surfaced in subtle ways during the Break's kickoff event. A handful of the city's established vets were on site - Copywrite, a Double Happiness employee out on a work release, dropped inventive freestyle bars during an extended sound check ("Grocery store style/ All my lines check out!") while Blueprint passed through to hang fliers for his New Year's Eve concert at the venue - and the onstage freestyle featured MCs that ranged from rough-around-the-edges (one younger rapper rhymed in a staccato bark, like a gruff dog yapping at an intruder) to finely tuned.

At one point Rollin, who adopted a thoughtful, almost conversational tone, dropped freeform verses about being in love as the violin mimicked a fluttering heart. Jay Wallace proved equally impressive in his too-short burst, spinning inventive rhymes both serious ("I know worse than police") and sprightly. At one point, the MC pretended to trip on the beat, only to bounce back with "I fuck up sometimes/ And jump back on."

Despite some initial hiccups with attendance (understandable launching under the short notice), Rollin and Miller hope the Breaks rebounds in similar fashion when it returns Dec. 17 before taking root as a weekly Wednesday event on a trial basis in January.

"I hope everybody in the hip-hop scene is going to get behind it," Rollin said. "We need something like this in this city."