Mark, Erica, and Brian are rejoined by our audio editor Tyler to discuss a form of entertainment close to his heart: Priming the rhymes to deliver the crimes: an attack on the character, caring not what-you-wear, anywhere, hug-a-bear… man, battle rap is difficult!
So what are the rules? How does modern battle rap compare to free-styling and the beefs aired on rap albums (and insult comedy)? What’s the appeal, and is it because of or despite the aggression involved? Battle rap is regarded as a free speech zone, where anything’s fair game, but does that really make sense?
A few relevant films came up in the discussion:
- Bodied (2017), a film written by Alex Larsen (aka Kid Twist) and produced by Eminem, featuring several current battle rappers doing their thing along with discussion by the characters of the ethical issues involved
- 8 Mile (2002), a semi-autobiographical film starring Eminem, which displays the older, free-styling over a beat type of battle rapping
- Roxanne Roxanne (2017) a biopic about Roxanne Shante depicting hip-hop rivalries of the 1980s.
Here are some matches Tyler recommended that also get mentioned:
- Conceited vs. Dumbfounded. Perhaps the most viewed battle of all time
- A 2×2 battle: B. Dot/Geechi Gotti vs. A. Ward/Loso. Note that the latter are “Christian-based” rappers.
- A compliment battle: Pat Stay vs. Rone.
- Immaculate vs. Soul. Immaculate is Tyler’s favorite battler, and Soul is Scottish.
- More: Pat Stay vs. Charron, Rone vs. Big T, The Saurus vs. Daylyt, Shotty Horroh vs. Arsonal, Calicoe vs. Bigg K, Shotty Horroh vs. Tony D
- Not actually rap battles: Trump vs. Biden, Keynes vs. Hayek
- The Battle Rap Hall of Fame
- Wikipedia on Battle Rap
- The Ruin Your Day YouTube Channel where battle rappers comment on notable battles.
- “A Brief Hip-Hop History of Rap Battles” by Jake Hall
- “Flyting Was Medieval England’s Version of an Insult-Trading Rap Battle” by Tao Tao Holmes
Hear Tyler talk about his many rap albums on Nakedly Examined Music #24.
This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.