Taking Sides is a performance using a real-time speech visualization software system called TextEngine. Taking Sides is a collaboration between our research studio and a local hip-hop artist. Our primary goal was to create a strong conceptual link between the text visualization, the content of the artist’s lyrics, and his performance style. Additionally we wanted to test the flexibility of TextEngine in developing customized performance applications. Pursuing these goals led us through a three month development effort that cycled tightly between design, performance and programmatic iterations.