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Hiphop’s lifeline: Battle Rap

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Hiphop has always been a competition driven game since the early days. Hip Hop originated out of the Bronx, NY some might say, but certainly world wide now.

While some might say that original style Hiphop is dead, battle rap has seemed to be a breathe of fresh air for the rap game and poetry all together. Now in the 2000s, it seems we have seen a reemergence of the battle rap scene. In Hiphop’s controversy driven world, we all have heard battles on wax from the likes of Krs-one to Jayz/Nas to once of the most recent by Kendrick Lamar when he woke up many Hiphop giants for the remarks he made on Big Sean’s “Control”.


Many of today’s rappers have stepped inside the lions den per say, to blossom into a well rounded artist. At the same time it has buried artists who couldn’t make the transition for commercial success. Some might call it war of words, others spoken word, all in all it can get very personal and intense.

With the magic of the Internet, opponents can do some serious homework on each other where there are no limits of to what can be said. Battle rap is Hiphop in its purest form and is being brought to the forefront with some of the top lyricist in the game.

It’s highest point to date was in 2012 when Smack/URL produced a star studded even in NYC for summer madness. With P Diddy, Q-Tip, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, and even NBA all-star Kevin Durant all showed up to support the culture. Owner of the URL (@smackwhite) has been pushing the culture since the early 2000s when the street DVDs where hot.

The Smack DVD had a segment at the end of the videos where they would have a battle. This helped birth the careers of MCs like Murda Mook, Jae Millz, Serius Jones, and Loaded Lux. All who have been coined to be original Smack battle MCs.

Battle rap has also gone international where league are popping up all over the world. King of the dot in Canada, Don’t Flop in the UK, and UW battle league to name a few. With millions a views on YouTube and lucrative contract, battle MCs are earning a living off of wordplay. So for the lyric driven consumer battle rap is bringing Hiphop back to life in a climate of simple, dumbed down form of lyricism.

Can your favorite rapper survive in the ring? This is a question that some of your favorite rappers to date ask themselves. At times they would flirt with the idea but know it could be detrimental to their careers. Only a few have made the switch to commercial success like Cassidy, Meek Mill, and JR Writer.


All in all the future of battle rap looks very bright for the leagues, the MCs and most importantly our beloved Hiphop.

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