Back To The Elements: The Rise Of Battle Rap

One thing that all Hip-Hop fans have in common is their love for a good battle. Everyone can rap over a good beat but not everyone can ‘spit’ off the top of their head. There are plenty of underground rappers – who are part of the elite battle rapping circle –who are creating serious main stream buzz. For example Harlem’s own Murder Mook grabbed everyone’s attention when he partook in the cypher (with some of his battle world peers), as part of BET’s Hip Hop Awards.

The verse he spit during his cypher had everyone talking. It also shone a spotlight on the fact that battle rap was making a mainstream resurgence – giving both mainstream and underground artists a platform. This is especially true when you look at the viral success of leagues like URL and KOTD. KOTD’s co-founder, Organik, dropped a teaser trailer for their next Battle rap event in February called “Blackout 5.” This event is happening in Toronto, Canada.So of course they have partnered up with Drake. He is not going to participate in the battle – but him being a part of it is a good look.

“We have relatively no name guys selling out venues that mainstream guys couldn’t sell out if they were selling [tickets] for $15.”
– Jean “Cheeko” French (Smack/URL)

Battle rap has been around for a long time – in fact it’s the very foundation that hip-hop is built on. On hiphopdx, they have a mini video of the history of some of the battles that have made history. Some show some real talent while others just show rappers fighting each other.

Recently, Cassidy vs Dizaster had a rematch rap battle which was held in California. The battle lasted around 30 minutes. Cassidy, is a charted artist who had quite a successful career, while Dizaster doesn’t have much of a buzz outside of battling – but a battle with this much hype gets his name out there. Battling is all about delivery, word play and lyrics. If you don’t have that, you can’t survive.

Cassidy isn’t the only mainstream rapper, as of late, to hope in the cypher – Joe Budden did the same this past September. Both of them were/are a part of the mainstream industry, and arguably have a lot to lose in a forum like this including, but not limited to, respect.

A lot of battle rappers are (historically) just good for one hit and then remain underground. But now that battle rap is becoming more mainstream – with high profile battles like the rumoured Drake vs Mook – talented underground rappers will finally get their shine, and a shot at stardom.

Seymone Kelly About Author

I’m Seymone Kelly. I found my love for music and writing at a young age. Through both, I found my voice. I pursued my love for writing by getting my Bachelor’s Degree in English/Journalism. Besides that I’ve interned for Global Grind, Def Jam and Sony Music. I also had my own radio show with three other hosts called “Student Union,” in 2011 on DTF radio. I now write for a site called and have my own short story series on my blog. I’m currently working on my first fiction book, and perform at open mics whenever I can. I’m determined and dedicated to making my dreams come true. I know that one day it will all pay off.