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.
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.
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.
Remember October? Neither do we. Here’s our (late) take on the best battles to watch.
RONE VS REAL DEAL
This battle was our personal favourite from the WD4 event. The footage… less so. The audio isn’t great, but it is representative of how the battle went down in the venue. It happened around the time the crowd was at its worst, and it speaks to the quality of the performances and content that both battlers were able to reignite the energy in the venue.