[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.
It’s been a year of ups and downs for the URL. They took battling to a mainstream audience with their Ultimate Freestyle Friday competition on BET and had a solid crop of talent emerge from their Proving Grounds battles. Their main-stage battles, however, were mostly atrocious. By our count, neither SM3 nor NOME3 produced a single classic and most battles were rendered unwatchable by an unruly crowd, excessive sound effects or weak bars.
The PGs were where it was at, with modest events and crisp, clean footage and some new MCs who showed a lot of potential. Hopefully that’s an indication that URL will be back on its A-game for 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?
Most of this month’s best battles came out of KOTD’s World Domination 4. We expect it’ll be the same for next month too. Here are our picks for the battles to watch from September. If you’re a KOTD fan, you’ve likely already seen most of them, so share this with a friend who should watch more battles.
DNA VS CHARRON
Charron has two things going for him right now:
1. He just had a(nother) breakout performance that caught the attention of URL fans. We’ve seen dozens of people calling this a contender for battle of the year.
In battle rap, sometimes robberies are better than wins. Just look at Pigsty since Cody or Lex D since Cobalt45. Yes, a cypher appearance would’ve been great exposure for Charron, but all of a sudden he’s got a whole movement behind him screaming for justice and revenge. This story has potential to break nationally and internationally too.
Charron has become the perfect example of the “advantaged underdog” and should roll with it rather than hitting the gym and getting tatted up.
King of the Dot’s World Domination is the one annual event that unites every battle rap scene from around the globe. This year has more potential than ever as inter-league matchups reach their apex: Don’t Flop hosted DNA vs Arsonal, Flip Top flew Tantrum, Bender, Pesci and Charron to the Philippines, and Daylyt is headed to Australia to battle Manaz (for real this time).
Here’s who we’d like to see at WD4, mostly from the major leagues, with a few others thrown in. We chose battlers who are consistent, reliable, and most importantly, people we’d want to party with for three days.
We definitely left out some of our personal favourites for a variety of reasons: border issues, scheduling conflicts, ridiculously high booking costs, stated disinterest, or a lack of resources to get to Toronto. We also left out the guys who were already announced in the first WD4 trailer.
And yes, we realize it’s probably too late to sway anyone into coming who isn’t already booked, so just consider this a list of dope battle rappers you should have on your radar.
Everyone likes GIFs. Why? Here is Slate’s Jonah Weiner with his take: “In the two minutes it might take me to load a viral video and watch it in full, I can watch the money shots of 15 different viral videos. Yes, we’re talking about decadent levels of impatience, inanity, and time-wasting here, but GIFs allow us to waste less time online—or, rather, to waste it more efficiently.”
That’s why the GIF has become essential to battle rap consumption. These days, battles can run upwards of 60 minutes in length on YouTube, thanks to longer rounds and more ambitious video production. The GIF, however, distills that viewing experience down to one hilarious Lush One reaction or meme-worthy catchphrase — in other words, the stuff you actually remember months later.
We’ve collected 32 of the best GIFs to come out of battle rap in the YouTube-era. Special thanks to the posters on RapMusic.com, from where most of these GIFs were culled.