Is battle rap saving hip hop?
I’ll admit. I was a little late to the game. I’m in Kansas so I never owned a SMACK DVD and when YouTube hit, and battles were posted I was preoccupied with other things.
Last summer, I went on the search for new online content. The lull between basketball and football season was killing me and there are only so many shows to watch on Netflix. The blogs started talking about Lux vs Calicoe, so I decided to check it out.
I was vaguely familiar with Loaded Lux, not at all with Calicoe, but I dove in. Loaded would say a line, I wouldn’t get it at all, but the crowd would go crazy. Cal would reference something I had no clue about, the crowd goes nuts. I didn’t get it, but I sat through it anyway.
I couldn’t get what the fuss was about. Out of boredom I decided to keep digging. I sifted through YouTube watching a few mediocre battles but then, I had a break breakthrough. Arsonal the Rebel. This man was all about saying the most disrespectful shit he could think of, he had no boundaries with his opponent, your children, your spouse, your mother, nothing was of limits, some battles were uncomfortable to watch, but I loved every minute of it.
So then I began searching for battle rap fans, so I could talk shop about my new hobby. Little did I know, a good friend of mine was huge fan of the culture, he would become my “battle rap Sherpa” guiding me through all of the history, relevant events, and decode the lingo being used.
I would text him non stop about, “what battles should I watch?” “Who’s your favorite?” “What does this mean?” ” what’s the difference between this league and that league” I became an official battle rap nerd.
I’ve had another friend, and battle rap aficionado, tell me that battle rap is just like the UFC, and he’s right. They both have a huge barrier of entry, but once you get it, you love it. I couldn’t agree more.
As my love for battle rap grew, so has its commercial viability. If this is good or bad for the culture, we will soon see. But as I see it battle rap is one of the purest forms of hip hop still left.
Although I grew up on Wu Tang, Lost Boyz, Big Pun and Cam’ron the era of lyric driven music has come and gone. I love French Montana, Migos and K Camp. Battle rap keeps the art of lyricism alive.
So with that being said, hit me up. Let’s talk battle rap. I’ll show you some things.