Rap Battle is usually a live event taking place on stage, where two MCs are opponents and they perform freestyled rap verses in order to see which of the two has better lyrics, skills and flaws.
The purpose of a Rap Battle is to impress the audience which is usually also the final judge of every battle, find out who can invent the best punchlines, create the best style and showcase different techniques in a short period of time, usually between 45 to 90 seconds.
How to Be a Battle Rapper
1 – Origins of the Rap Battles
The East Coast Hip Hop Scene is considered by most the mother that gave birth to the origins of the Rap Battles in the late 1970s. As the years passed, Rap Battles where becoming more popular than ever and it was the best and most respected way for an MC to build a name in the hip hop scene.
Some of the first artists that took part to notorious Rap Battle were Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, KRS-One, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, MC Hammer, Common, Canibus etc.
From the 1990s to this day, freestyle Rap Battle are extremely popular though many times fierce and MCs especially newcomers use them to get attention and promote their skills or lyrics. Many hip hop artists first started taking place to Rap Battles and only after they reached a level of success they signed contracts and made records.
2 – Rap Battle Types
There are different types of Rap Battles. The most common one is the freestyle battle. The DJ drops a beats and the opponents have 45 to 90 seconds to improvise and create the best verse possible to defeat one another. Freestyle battles usually take place on stage, on big or small events but you can also find people battling each other in streets or every other place possible.
Another type of battle is the Acapella Rap Battle, where the two opponents improvise their verses without a beat. Those battles are similar to the Spoken Word type of rap, although there is the absence of music, because those battles are slower and less intensive most of the times and the freestyler has more time to think of his punchlines as he has the ability to take a pause and think between punchlines.
Third type of Rap Battle is the Cypher. Here instead of two opponents an entire group of MCs take part and each one tries to demonstrate his own unique style of rapping, while in the same time being part of a group of people who give their turn to each other and enhance team effort. Female cyphers are also very worth mentioning as they are becoming more popular day by day and have already brought attention to some very skillful female rappers.
Rap Battles are an essential part of the Hip Hop Culture since the beginning and are a very useful tool for every MC who wants to establish his name in the Hip Hop Scene.
3 – Top 10 Rap Battle Websites
Battle Rap is one of the most important elements of hip hop culture. Originating in the late 1970s, in the East Coast Hip Hop Scene battle rap has always been the ultimate test for all MCs so that they are able to earn the respect of their opponents and the entire hip hop community.
The main ingredients for success are passion for rap, speed and creativity and clever punchlines. Punchlines are the “weapon” of the contestants that will define who is going to be the winner of each battle.
The final judge of the battles most of the times is the people, who choose which Emcee has shown the best rap skill and creativity, and of course who had the most interesting punchlines.
Over the years, more newcomer Emcees started focusing on making a name for their selves by winning in rap battles, and many of them have even achieved in signing for a record with major labels that are constantly looking for new hot name in the hip hop scene.
Freestyle rap battles were always a part of the culture and became more and more popular from the early 1990s to this day. As more people started focus on rap battles, with the evolution of the internet more websites started paying attention and projecting rap battles between Emcees.
Here are some of the most important Rap Battle Websites:
10 Most Respected Battle Rappers
As hip hop culture grew old over the years, so did the artists that represent this amazing culture. Some of them earned the respect of the entire hip hop community with their lyrics and skills on the microphone, as well as their way of life and ideals.
Some of the greatest names are described in the Top 10 list below. Here we go:
Rakim is considered to be one the most revolutionary rap artists and lyricists of all time. Respected by the majority of hip hop artists, even the biggest names in the game he managed to transform the conventional lyrics into a different more diversified kind of art.
He has written some of the most influential lyrics and his rhyme skills are why most rappers look at him as their personal idol. It is only fair for this Emcee to be considered one of the best rappers of all time.
The “Teacher” as he is known in the hip hop circles, KRS-one managed to earn the respect of the respect of the hip hop community since the beginning and the phenomenal Boogie Down Productions albums.
Conscious lyrics, positive message and the strength of a voice and thinking that the hip hop movement had never seen before. His verses are considered teachings, and the knowledge sourcing from his lyrics have made him one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time.
Tupac is a controversial hip hop figure loved by many people. His explosive character made a lot of people adore him and many others hate him. An open personality, he never kept his feeling to himself, either good or bad.
His strong personality made it possible for Tupac to connect with his fans to a next level and the strength of his words influenced many groups of people and newcomer artists. Truly, one of the greatest rappers of all time.
A man with unbelievable skills on the microphone, and flaws that made other rappers jealous, Biggie is considered – and in my opinion IS – one the most authentic and undeniably talented rappers of all time.
Street lyrics, short but very strong punchlines where the main characteristics of Biggies verses, and the true reason as to why soon after his death he was considered the king of New York and the East Coast Hip Hop Scene.
An astonishing rapper with no equal to his rhyme style and technique. He made very different words sound similar and kept the listener’s interest unchangeable.
He had some of the most complicated rhyme skills the hip hop scene had ever seen, and inevitably he became the first Latino rapper that went platinum, and this was before Eminem became such a big name in the scene.
Nas is one mature minded conscious rapper and idol of many young Emcees. One of the greatest lyricists in New York and worldwide he is considered by many to be a game changer and he is creating constantly new limits and boundaries to the hip hop game, especially to those who want to hold the microphone.
Through his lyrics, optimism and the joy of life are obvious, describing a better brighter future to the next generations even on times that hip hop was fiercer and violent than ever such as the 1990s.
Nas has matured over the years along with his lyrics and his writing skills, showing that consistency and love for what you do is the key to success.
Big Daddy Kane
One of the biggest hip hop influencers of all time, Big Daddy Kane is one of those names that will undeniably be every single time in everyone’s top 10 or at least top 20. Unique style, impressive lyricism and a huge impact on what we know as hip hop today.
A strong battle rapper with fierce lyrics and focused on his punchlines, that even though he lacks on consistency as he has not released a new album for many years, he is still considered to be one of the best, a king of battle rap and one of the biggest lyricists of all time.
Here we have one of the most controversial rappers that ever entered the hip hop game. Having an untouchable by other rappers’ flaw, he can transform in anyone and anything he desires and rap successfully from their point of view, like he lived a whole life being that person.
Eminem can deliver a very wide variety of styles and skills, from songwriting to the fiercer battle rap verses the world has ever seen, genius punchlines and can start a beef even with family members, meaning that no one is safe from his vicious lyricism.
His constant creativity, strong battle rap verses, emotional songs, the ability to be serious and funny at the same time have made him one of the greatest rappers of all time in a very short period of time.
Kook G Rap
Kool G Rap, one the strongest battle rappers of all time spits fire lyrics describing more inner matters and since the early 1990s he established himself as one the best hardcore rappers of all time.
He has the ability to describe street situations in a unique raw way and has influenced a wide variety of younger East Coast rappers, being able at the same time to stay fresh and lyrically sharp-minded over the years, one of the main reason why to this day he is considered one of the best and most vicious hardcore rappers the hip hop scenes has ever seen.
Chuck D’s voice is one of those that can immediately impact a personality through the power and strength his lyrics can instantly deliver to the listener.
Impressive conscious lyrics, compared many times with the words of huge personalities such as Malcolm X, are one of the main reasons that made Public Enemy such a great group to this day.
Fighting the injustice, fascism, giving birth to revolution with straight forward, strong and intelligent lyrics Chuck D has the ability to persuade every listener with an open mind and basic logic and is fairly considered one of the greatest hip hop personalities ever.