Over the past few months battle rap has exploded into more of a household name. There are now a variety of Rap Battle Leagues that you can choose to participate in as a rapper, or just watch as a fan.
Some of the top leagues are Smack’s “Ultimate Rap League” and up in Canada KOTD (King of The Dot) If you want to see the female mcees throw down you can watch “Queen of the Ring” hosted by Babes and Vague at http://queenofthering.tv/ The female battle rappers are just as dope as the male battle rappers, some even say slightly better. Visit the QOTR site or watch some of their bouts on youtube, and you decide for yourself.
As I’ve said before the reason why so many people are now drawn to battle rap is because I think it’s the only place, besides underground hip hop, where you can hear superb lyrical content. I believe that there will always been a need and desire to hear and purchase hip hop music that has meaning; that says something.
Since there is a rise in viewership of rap battles, there is also a rise in battle rap mcees to accommodate that. In this article we outline 5 key elements that battle rappers can use to become more successful at what they do.
1) Have Style and Technique
What makes battle rappers like Tsu Surf, Arsonal, Hollow Da Don and Loaded Lux is that they all have their own style and techniques that sets them apart from their competition. It’s not enough to go up on stage and rap, you have to find a way to be different and unique in order to stand out. Battle rappers who have their own flow, style, and technique will always make themselves a crowd favorite. Is your style more aggressive, laid back, witty or funny? Do you drop simple punchlines so the crowd can understand it, or are you lyrical to the point where only a few can understand you? Determine your style and work on it, try it out in rap battles and if it doesn’t seem to be working you can always switch it up.
2) The Diss Factor
The key to winning a rap battle is to diss your opponent. I hate it when I see a rapper on stage just spittin’ rhymes and not directing it towards his opponent. Battle rap involves you dissing your opponent in every way possible to get a reaction from the crowd. And it doesn’t matter how great you spit, if you go a couple of minutes without dissing your opponent you will get booed. I’ve seen it happen a few times. Go at your opponent hard! Let him know you mean business, you’re there to battle not spit your hottest 16 in hopes of getting signed to a record deal.
3) Get The Crowd Involved
One of your most potent tactics that you have to ensure you use in a battle rap is getting the crowd involved. you have to get them excited and win them over so that they can cheer for you more and boo for your opponent, no matter how dope his lines may seem.
This takes skills and those rappers who can pull it off have a good chance of winning the bout. Remember a win is all about crowed perception. If no one really cheers for you or remembers any of your bars at the end of it all, the you lost! You need to spit heavy bars that will excite your viewers, creating a memorable battle.
4) Study Your Rhymes; Practice Often
I know you’ve seen it before. You’re at a rap battle event and the battle is going well, everyone is hyped and charged and the it happens…the battle rap stops in mid sentence because he forgot his lines!!! Sometimes it doesn’t happen once but twice in one night. It throws the whole mood off and everyone starts booing. There are some cases where the rapper redeems himself through out his verse but sometimes he doesn’t. That little hick up can cost him/her the whole round. Fans will say you lost that round because of that pause even if your lines where dope up to that point! Like what happened to Canibus vs. Dizaster. Watch below.
So how do you avoid forgetting your battle raps? You practice! Practice as often as you can. Studying and practicing your verses is the only way you’re going to get good at remembering them. It will make you a better rapper and rap battle fans will appreciate it because you did your verses without stopping. Oh and one more thing as of late a lot of battle mcees have been writing weak third round verses, this means that they’re unable to finish strong. I think that’s taking the easy way out and it actually makes you look lazy as fuck! So stop it because it’s becoming annoying. If you’re going to do it right, write three strong verses or don’t write any at all.
I know that in order to get up in the ranks and become a house hold name you have to take on battles, but taking battles too frequently can cause you to fatigue yourself, not only when writing your rhymes but also in battles. I’ve have seen this happen too many times before, a battle rapper doesn’t give himself enough time to write his rhymes and practice it out, he jumps into a battle after battle mainly because there is money involves.
What I want you to realize is that if you take your time and battle at a decent pace you will build up your status and clout to a point where you can do a battle for large sums of money and take a few months off. This will give you the proper time you need to build up your battle rhymes.
I find that a lot of rap battles including the URL battle are becoming mediocre because the rappers are coming up with sub par bars. This is due to them battling so frequently, they don’t take the time needed to sit down and write something good, they rush into a battle knowing it’s a guarantee purse their going to collect. That’s wack. Take your time to build your rhymes even if it means taking less battles a year, and as you defeat your competition at a moderate pace, your status will rise. Take your time don’t rush things, the money will come!