Last month marked (out) the three-year anniversary of my foray into the battle rap medium. My debut was against one sharply dressed English teacher named Mark Grist back in April 2011. I did it as a platform from which to interview Eurgh for my English Language university dissertation on battle rap (available here in its full glory) and to find out more about a culture by which I was utterly fascinated. Part of me wanted to prove myself as well – I’d only really presented myself/been seen as a joke in the Brighton hip-hop scene up to that point, and I suppose I just wanted to see if I actually was one, on my own terms. I ended up learning way more than I expected.
Here are my ten clearest memories, in no particular order:
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.
[Here’s our latest edition of Battles of the Month, penned by Adam “Mos Prob” Felman.]
The guys at T.O. Battle Blog have very kindly passed the rounding-up-good-battles mantle to me this time. These are, in my opinion, the five best battles that the first month of 2014 EVER could possibly muster worldwide. Rhymes were said. Feelings were hurt. Ninja masks were worn. It’s all simply a month in the life of battle rap.
You might know Mos Prob as a former Don’t Flop rapper (who made our Best of 2013 list) or maybe as half of “that battle rap engagement couple” with his American MC fiancé Rapunsell. What you might not realize about Adam “Mos Prob” Felman is that he’s also a massively entertaining writer. One that you’ll be reading a lot more from now that he’s the newest staff writer for T.O. Battle Blog.
Don’t Flop has had an incredible year. They continued to develop a strong stable of domestic rappers able to compete with international opponents, and built a massive fanbase. Twice they hit mainstream media coverage, first with the Probposal (currently at 1.6 million views and counting) and again with Micky Worthless bodybagging pop idol James Arthur’s career.
They’ve hosted stacks of international battles, featuring some of the biggest names in battle rap, including Math Hoffa, Conceited, Real Deal, The Saurus, Daylyt and about a dozen more. But as you’ll see from our list, most of the best battles came from U.K. on U.K. matchups.
High-visibility disagreements between Eurgh and a variety of North American MCs clouded the league’s shine and left fans wondering if they’d ever see some of their favourites in Don’t Flop again. Still, it could be the impetus to draw fresh international faces in 2014.
Last weekend at Don’t Flop’s 5th Birthday event, three words stood out from all the others: “Suck my dick.”
In a 2-on-2 battle against Canadian MCs Loe Pesci and Bender, Don’t Flop founder Eurgh took shots at King of the Dot and Organik, and Twitter went crazy. With nothing more to go on than a few patchy quotes from social media and the forums, many North American battle fans and KOTD staff members fired back. Things have quieted down now, but we expect another firestorm once the official footage drops.
We talk about this issue and more in Episode 2 of the podcast:
-What’s behind the animosity between DF & KOTD?
-Is the DF/KOTD rivalry similar to the KOTD/URL dust-ups at WD4?
-Are league rivalries good for the culture?