The State of Battle Rap. / by Cameron Barke

Battle Rap

So, here we go again, it's Monday April 15th 2014, and THERE'S SOMETHING WE GOTTA SPEAK ABOUT - Cortez! hahaha 

The topic under the microscope is the state of battle rap. 

So here's the back story of where this is all coming from, and it will make sense as I go along - just follow me. 

THE PAST

I grew up in a time where battling someone, pretty much meant EVERYTHING! When you battled someone, it meant that you two were going to WAR with eachother, and there was something worthy on the line:

  • Your career, for one.
  • Your reputation. 
  • Your identity.
  • Your pride.

So many factors went into it..... 

I grew up as a fan of all different leagues and events, from the Scribble Jams to Spin The Mics to Jumpoff.tv street battles w/ Scarz to Fight Klub, GrindTimeNow, The Elelements League, The WRC's and even a little bit of SCHHHHMMMMAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK on URL! 

I've watched the culture grow, evolve, transform, and morph into an animal all onto itself. 

My fondest memories are Illmaculate/Thesaurus vs The World in the WRC's back in like 05/06 - 06/07 I believe those were the years they won. They were my favorite team, and I'd say the most talented. 

I remember the Toronto division of the WRC's just being so ghetto - but being from Canada I cheered for the guys out of Toronto.
Organik being one of them. I think Kaliente was involved in them as well, not 100% sure... Regardless, these were some ghetto ass battles in alley ways, empty warehouse rooms, and city parks..... It had such a raw feeling about them.
No lights, no stages, no scripts, no audience really.
Most of these battles had like 10 people watching them at max.
Literally just a grass-roots movement

I also loved the JumpOff.tv street battles - same sorta deal as the WRCs as far as 'ghettoness' was concerned.
I remember the Iron Solomon vs MicAssassin battle had to get moved because a security guard told them to leave half way between the battle. It was just on some organic ass shit. All off the top, well Im sure there were pre-meds, but majority of the battles in that time were freestyle.
Also when Iron battled Math, was another great memory of mine -
Little MATTHEW! Little MATTHEW!!! 

Everytime I went to watch a battle, it felt like there was something special about it. It felt like the battle had some gumption behind it. Its tough to verbalize, but it felt like these battles of the past had more on the line. 
Like I said before, battling someone meant your career was potentially jeopardized. 
Now, not so much it seems.....

THE PRESENT

Nowadays, I feel that the weight of these battles aren't as heavy, and that certain lines are being crossed far too often - which before were not crossed. 

(I will get to those certain crossed lines in just a moment)

Just a side note:
I first want to state that this has nothing to do with freestyle vs written, but I think it may play a small key in everything - but I think the written format makes the battle far more entertaining, and I am sure most will agree.... 

I remember when it was MAD frowned upon to come to a battle with writtens, now these guys have months to prepare. 
I'm not saying it is a bad thing, I'm just saying a fact.
It definitely adds an interesting dynamic that was not present, not even 5 years ago.... 

I think what I'm getting at, is I'm starting to lose interest in the scene.
Which sucks, cause battling to me has been a staple I grew up on.

I think the turning point for me was when Loe Pesci got marked out by Daylit. 
That was bad. That was SO BAD! 
I used to believe what some of these rappers would say, but after you let another man rub his ball sweat on your face infront of hundreds of thousands of people (online+live audience), everything you now say is null + void. 
The only person who I believe is as crazy as they say, is Daylit oddly enough... lol 
I think he's bi-polar. 

Another example of that is Arsonal - he's HELLA dope! But if he says hes caught as many bodies as he has, how is it that he can travel borders...? Where are his criminal charges? You know what Im saying....? He's dope, sick, amazing, great stage presence, crowd control, everything about his performance is spot on. But I cant believe him.... 


Pat Stay said it best, "battle rappers are abunch of faggots and bitches."
 

Once again, I just want to stress that this is my own personal opinion, and how I feel. It isn't a view on battle rapping today. It is simply my own thoughts/ideas of where I am at as a fan.

I feel these leagues have become TOO much like a WWE production, and less of where it started from. Its no ones fault, simply the natural progression. It is gaining popularity, momentum, volume, mainstream attention, it's really awesome to see growth like that actually. People are getting more noticed, people are actually getting paid (which is AWESOME), exposure... so many positives from the growth I can't name them all.
But at the same time, it feels as though it's lost a little of it's originality. 
A large majority of people feel played out to me. 
I feel as though I have heard everything there is to say. 

Remember I was talking about lines being crossed a little while ago? 
One thing that turns me off is talking about deceased family members, it's in poor taste. 
Back in the day, I know that wouldn't have flied....
The reason they talk about that subject, is because they have SO much time to dig up dirt on their opponent. It's a blessing and a curse. 

I think we are desensitized to sick lines as well, atleast I am. 
I'll hear one of the dopest punches I've heard, and won't even go crazy anymore. The skill level is SO high, because of such long times between battles to write, that the schemes have been so good and complex so often, it doesn't have the same effect on me anymore. 

THE FUTURE

I personally just need something fresh to keep me engaged like I used to be, even just a few months ago. 

The leagues are growing, its so awesome to see. 
I don't know what needs to change for me to gain that passion for it like I used it. 
The large majority of the problem is I feel desensitized to how GOOD these guys actually are, for one. 
And two, I can't take half of them serious. 
(I mean, Charron is apparently Crippin these days...... :S)

I think if Dumbfounded comes back, I'll be full bore back into battle rap. LOL 

Anyway, I honestly didn't mean to write a full short story about my feelings on battle rap.... But this is how it turned out!

Until next time!