Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So I Lost My First Rap Battle

After many years of procrastination, I finally coughed up US$15 and entered my first online rap battle tournament. Having been familiarised to the 'scene' as pretty much 99% of the world was solely through Eminem's 2003 film 8 Mile and from there dabbling with the hoards of other white text emcees who like writing words that rhyme good, to following the battlerap successes of Australians Justice, Anecdote and 360 a few years back on the US scene, I stepped up to the online mic arena where one must spit dem phat lyrics over a dope beat.

And apparently did terribly.
Yeah, you did terribly bad
Your expression now is unbearably sad

I hesitated in making this response, until a Canadian rapper friend randomly commented
"First four lines end in 'nobody'. WHAAAAT." which were my sentiments exactly, and hopefully others will recognise how poorly crafted my opponent's battle rap actually was.

I consider myself a rather decent rapper. Every single verse I have written since 2003 has been polysyllabic. From the hundreds of thousands to millions of lyrics I've written over the past decade, you will not find a single song parody or rap that does not have at least two rhymes per sentence, and rhyming two to seven sounds at a time. (I'm fucking brilliant, is what I'm saying.)

After my previous YouTube account was deleted, taking with it my 120 or so subscribers, I started again from nothing and have since managed to clock up 465,000 views on  my Die Antwoord parody, 85,000 views dropping a rap on Letters & Numbers, 58,000 views for a Hilltop Hoods parody that they retweeted and posted on Facebook and 10,000 views apiece for my Linkin Park and Eminem parodies. Considering I barely had 60 subscribers at the time I would like to think these views come from people sharing what they find with others because there is some sense of quality content being enjoyed there.

Anyhow, to this rap battle, and a little critique from inside the mind of Nib as to why I am completely at a loss as to why I am at a loss here. When you are paired up with an opponent for a rap battle, your disses and punches and jokes should be related to that person. You can wax lyrical as much as you want about being so dope, and how you fucked your opponent's mum, and they're gay, and gonna get beat up in the alley after the show... but that arbitrary expendable waffle could be aimed at anyone and copy/pasted into any battle.
A truly talented emcee demonstrates their spontaneous creativity and rhyming skill by being able to make their jokes uniquely relevant to their opponent. If they have a lisp, you make lisp jokes. If they are wearing a raincoat, you make I Know What You Did Last Summer jokes. If their name is SuperFly you make fly swatting jokes and references to kryptonite. Your badass bravado about skilleting them with a fisherman's knife and strangling them with fishing rod wire is completely irrelevant if their name has nothing to do with fishing and they aren't a fisherman by trade. Similarly, dropping ad hominem 'you're a sissy faggot/ dumb bitch loser' lines will get you quickly booed off stage as audiences soon outgrew these lines a decade ago.

Furthermore, bloody well put some effort into rhyming. Rap thrives on lyrical wordplay, puns,  polysyllabism and internal rhymes to maintain 'flow' and sets it apart from your Dr Seuss, Shakespeare or bushman ballad. Weak writing loses you points in my books no matter how cool your gritty DMX vocals are.

With this in mind, I post the below two analyses of my first rap battle, being as objective as possible here in my criteria, and question how the hell I unanimously lost in this scenario:



Nib Oswald

1 comment:

Mighty Madkap said...

Seems about right. I listened to both, and aside from the offensive sound quality of the poorly written challenger, I felt like giving the win to Sugabezy is rewarding swag over substance. Kudos to the emcee, but nah, you should have lost.