What is Battle Rap?
Battle rap is a performance art focusing on lyricism, wordplay and delivery. Rhymes are delivered acapella in high pressure situations in an attempt to break down their opponent through personal shots, freestyled rebuttals, lyrical schemes and stage presence. Put simply, it's entertaining watching rappers berate and break down their opponents using creative rhymes in a competitive atmosphere where reputation is on the line. And because it's a dog-eat-dog scene, there's a constant pressure to survive or you face the end of your career.Leagues
Pretty new to battle rap culture myself. I've followed it casually for a long time, pretty much since the early days of YouTube, but started following it actively recently post Summer Madness 2. I thought maybe a thread to talk about it would be apt considering I've seen interest around GAF. Being it's competitive and all, I think it'd make for pretty good discussion for who beat who, etc. as well.
Several leagues exist across North America and the world that play host to different local and foreign rappers taking the stage to square off. Some big ones:Recommended battles for people new to battle rap to check out:
- Ultimate Rap League - New York's biggest league, and possibly the most prestigious in all of battle rap as the spiritual successor to the Smack DVD movement.
- GrindTimeNow - The largest West Coast battle league.
- King of the Dot - Canada's largest battle championship, centring in Toronto but featuring branches across the country.
- Dont Flop - UK's largest battle league.
- UW Battle League - Arsonal's own battle league
- Cassidy vs. Freeway - Classic battle between high profile rappers, the result of which had a definite impact on the rest of both of their careers.
- Jin Freestyle Friday Compilation - A competent freestyler, and many people's first exposure to battle rap on 106 & Park.
- Hollow Da Don vs. Big T - Two juggernauts collide and Hollow especially provides probably 3 of the most amusing, freestyled rounds ever. My favourite battle, for Hollow's rounds.
- Loaded Lux vs. Calicoe - An example of a seasoned vet taking a different approach when it comes to exposing their opponent.
- Hollohan vs. Pat Stay - Two ex-best friends square off and hold back nothing when it comes to exposing each other's dirty pasts.
- Hitman Holla vs. John John Da Don - A good study in stage control and presence, and contrasting styles at work.
- T-Rex vs. Yung Ill - T-Rex evolves to a new level of aggression while going up against a rising St. Louis rapper.
- Serius Jones vs. Murda Mook - Two legends who were once widely regarded as the best ever faced off for the first time.
- Thesaurus vs. Illmaculate - Two of west coast's finest meet on the GrindTime stage.
- QP vs. Soul Khan - Another funny battle showing substance trumps image every time.
- AyeVerb vs. Hitman Holla - A brewing rivalry results in a battle between master and the apprentice.
- JC vs. Chilla Jones - Two potent newcomers spar off with hard hitting punchlines and bars.
- Loaded Lux vs. Young Miles - Watch a lyricist at work.
Watch with GAF!
plug.dj is a website where people can watch YouTube videos together in sync, and often we use it for sessions where a bunch of GAFers get together and watch battles. There are no rules or expectations and everyone is welcome, just get in and play battles you like!