9 Trends In Battle Rap That Should Stop Now
By Ned Castro
The phrase “too much of anything is bad” applies to all, even in Hiphop culture. These are the 9 current trends in battle rap that are starting to get annoying and should be eradicated once and for all. Either they’re no longer entertaining or are detrimental to the progress of the scene. Keep in mind that this list not only focuses on FlipTop, but on other leagues around the world as well. Let’s get started!
9. Very Long Rounds
We all know you have plenty of “bars”, but do you really need to rap for about 5 to 6 minutes PER ROUND? What makes it even worse is that instead of hearing consecutive punchlines, we will be forced to sit through long and dragging setups. The abundance of filler will then make the final blow sound weak and/or fall flat.
Emcees need to get straight to the point to avoid sounding like a preacher giving a sermon. It would be totally understandable if you’re making a song, but it’s a contest with a time limit. In combat sports, the crowd wants to see punches and kicks, not a shadowboxing exhibition. The same can be said in battle rap.
8. Too Much Personals
While it’s starting to decrease now, we still see a number of battle emcees who rely on shock value to get the win. They often bring up real-life issues or made-up tales about their opponents, without even attempting to be creative. Battle rap is all about lyricism, so please leave all the scandals and rumors to the showbiz news outlets.
Put yourself in the position of an audience member. You wouldn’t want to hear three rounds of detailed stories about a rapper’s family or relationship problems, right? After all, what do you care about it? And ultimately, that does not necessarily prove one to be the better emcee. So for the emcees, please step your pen game up.
7. Begging For a Crowd Reaction
How many times have you seen a rapper spit a few “technical” bars and when the crowd doesn’t get it, he or she will tell everyone to make some noise? You will definitely lose count. Some will even sweet talk the audience just to get applause. This gimmick has been prevalent for quite some time now, and should be put to rest. Getting an organic positive reaction is much, much better than a forced one because it shows that your writing is truly effective. If the viewers remain silent, then it’s probably your fault.
6. Copying the Most Popular Style
The “anagram” style is very popular now in the local scene, and while it was dope at first, it’s slowly turning into a curse. Same with “gun bars” and “word association”, many rappers attempted to copy this concept just to emerge victorious. They were able to write a good scheme, but at the end of the day, they will forever be compared to the one who originated it.
If you want to stay original in battle rap, then create your own style. Copying someone else’s way of writing won’t help you improve as an artist. Go make an impact by giving them something they haven’t heard before.
5. Relying On Memes and Trending Topics
In Deadpool 2, there were a few instances where the main character referred to the script as “lazy writing”. He will surely say the same thing when he sees battle emcees using internet trends in their angles. This style is similar to entry number 7 because it also makes a rapper look like he or she is begging for a crowd reaction. Do more research about your opponent and come up with more creative and original concepts.
4. Forced “Bars”
Don’t assume that you’re already dope in battles just because you can do wordplay, similes, name flips, and double entendres. Remember that you still need to make sense and your punchlines should hit hard and accurate. These days, we often hear a few rappers bust out metaphors that are so forced, they tend to sound more like a joke than a serious bar. There are even others who will just focus on putting as many figures of speech as possible, with no consistency, instead of spitting rhymes about their opponents. For the lyricists reading this, learn how to balance your technical and straightforward lines.
3. Admitting You Didn’t Prepare While Choking
If you didn’t prepare for your match, then why did join in the first place? You have about one month to write and practice in the modern format, so there’s simply no room for excuses. By constantly saying you’re not ready when you’re stumbling on stage, it just shows that you don’t take battling seriously. We have seen this trend way too many times already, please end it now. Diva moves have no place in battle rap.
2. Constantly Rapping About Your Credentials
Okay, we get it. You have a successful career in Hiphop. Congratulations, but we don’t really want to hear about it in every round. Battle rap is about verbally demolishing your opponent in the most creative way, so if you’re only going to talk about yourself, then why don’t you just make a song? Sure, you can brag a bit about your credentials, but make sure it’s still relevant to the match or the lines you’re spitting.
1. Distracting Your Opponent
Everyone knows that distracting your opponents in battles will never be cool, but unfortunately, some emcees still do it. Whatever their reasons are, they need to cut it out right now. If there’s legit bad blood between you and the rapper in front of you, then crush him or her with your sick rhymes.
Using distractions is equivalent to cheating, and it also ruins your battle as a whole. Yes, you may have caused your opponent to stumble with your constant interfering, but your match will no longer be considered a classic. Respect the organizers and the crowd by giving them a back-and-forth verbal war.
There will certainly be more trends to come this year. Let’s just hope that each one will change the battle scene for the better, unlike the entries on this list. We also hope that this piece will inspire the wordsmiths, both veteran and up-and-coming, to further improve their styles. Until next time, peace!