Battle rap is a numbers game. But now that it’s rare for battles to be judged, there aren’t any official win-loss records competitors can compare. So battlers (and leagues) chase different statistics: views, followers and fans. We at T.O. Battle Blog have dug into the facts and figures to see who’s really winning.
Battle rap has come a long way since the freestyle era. Battlers used to rhyme in short bursts over a beat, spontaneously crafting insults about their opponent. Now, the scene has shifted to a pre-written format, where MCs spend weeks crafting intricate lyrics and spit them for an online audience that will analyze their every word. But with every step of the scene’s evolution, one name has remained constant: The Saurus. Ahead of Blackout 4, we had the homie KBomb speak with the Monterey, California-based rapper about the changes he’s witnessed in his 10 years of battling and his thoughts on where the scene is headed next.
For whatever reason, February was a relatively weak month for battles, even with the release of KOTD’s much-hyped title match. Regardless, between the obvious choices and a couple hidden gems, we cobbled together a respectable list of four great battles, plus a bonus pick that’s worth your time.
[UPDATE: We have a new list that reflects what’s been going on throughout the first six months of 2014. Check it here.]
Here it is, our last list of 2013.
It’s an attempt to boil down every aspect of battle rap culture, by looking at every battler in every league, to find the definitive best battlers of 2013. It is an ambitious task, and it wasn’t an easy one. Our final picks come after much debate among the writers at T.O. Battle Blog, as well as a few expert sounding boards.
The criteria we used to make our choices include: quality, consistency, impact, achievement, frequency of battle, and difficulty of opponent.
We broke it down into a ranked Top 5, a “Next 5″ for numbers 6 though 10 (in no particular order), and a few honorable mentions. The last group could’ve included a lot more people (namely J-Pro and Lotta Zay) but we had to draw the line somewhere.
But enough explanations. You’re here to read about 2013′s top battlers.
There were a few high-profile, one-sided battles in 2013 – Pass/DNA, O-Red/T-Rex and Shuffle T/Anton Murphy all struck us as clear 3-0s (at least). But decisive wins aren’t enough to make this year’s Biggest Bodybags list. We’re not focusing on how well the winner won, but how badly the loser lost. This list is reserved for performances so dismal that the opposing battler could’ve just stood there laughing and still won. Continue reading
This month saw a strong crop of battles released by DF, KOTD, URL and some upstart leagues, led by footage from Battle of the Bay 6 and 5th Birthday Weekend. Here we highlight some of the most interesting battles from November.
BIGG K VS ILLMACULATE
It’s a tired, overused line to describe a close battle as having as having “no losers.” But the Illmaculate/Bigg K battle is one time when that’s undeniably the case. Sure, there are some people firmly entrenched in the pro-Illmac or pro-Bigg K camps, but so many others shift their allegiances with each viewing.
For Illmac, it was a glorious return to KOTD, enough so that any future Fresh Coast card will feel incomplete without him. For Bigg K, it was perhaps the finest KOTD debut in history, making instant fans out of those who weren’t familiar with his work. Bigg K recently said on Facebook that his battle career is done. Fortunately, he has a battle booked against Jonny Storm in April and posted this on RMBVA.