It’s not a bit, guys. I’m legitimately into rap that nobody else listens to and a follower of the underground battle scene that nobody cares about. Actually to be honest, I used to be really into it a few years ago back before I got a mortgage and realized life was meaningless. Nowadays, I catch 8 Mile whenever VH1’s running it on a loop and reminisce about the good ol’ days when I used to drive 8 hours to Cincinnati just to sit in the crowd and get a pic with the Scribble Jam champ that year.
Needless to say, I’ve watched a shitload of rap battles in my life. Honestly, all shtick and self-deprecation aside, it’s one of those raw forms of competition that I’ve always been drawn to and impressed by. It’s hard enough to stand on a stage and come up with jokes on the fly to demoralize a guy you’ve never met, but being able to make it rhyme and make it funny? That’s tough.
There are a couple of battles that’ve stuck with me throughout the years. Some because they were funny, others because they were unusual and then there’s the select few that I’ll always remember because they were unexpected. Everyone thinks Eminem’s the only dude that ever did this but, believe it or not, there’s a handful of white guys who got sweaty palms and ate Mom’s spaghetti way before 8 Mile was in theatres. Here are some of my favorites out there;
Meta4ce vs Borat
“I rhyme sick and I’m likewise/
Yeah, white crowd vote for the white guy”
When pulling the race card goes wrong. The thing I love about this is you can see the black guy, Meta4ce’s desperation building as the battle progresses. He starts by screaming at BoRat (you’re going to have to look past the fact that his name is BoRat to enjoy this one), pushes him, grabs his hat, gets in his face, then pulls the race card out of nowhere. Nothing like getting emotional for no reason and realizing no one has your back.
Presence vs. Khan
This is Presence, a 43-year-old, balding, chubby, Jewish guy who isn’t afraid of anything. I don’t know who Khan is but no one does and no one ever did. Watch how Presence nods his head, giving the guy a little extra encouragement before ruining his childhood dreams.
Illmaculate vs. Swann
“I don’t want to sound cliché today/
But if you shaved your face with a razor blade/
You’d look like an overweight Macy Gray”
Crazy thing about this battle is that Swann (the black guy) was on an insane hot streak and everyone’s favorite to win the tournament that year. Out of nowhere this 17-year-old kid from Oregon shows up and crushes him with ease. Drove down by himself, didn’t really know anybody and completely stole the show.
The Saurus vs. Psalm One
“So everyone take a million pictures/
Am I battling an emcee or one of the Williams sisters?”
I like this battle because it’s The Saurus, a fat, Greek guy going up against Psalm One, a black lesbian who went on to become a pretty well-known rapper in the underground hip-hop world.
“I’ve got the better flow/
After this I’m gonna convert you back to hetero”
Just so much disrespect.
Justice vs. RoadBlock
“I would say that he’s celibate/
But he can’t be, he’s pregnant with an elephant”
This kid flew all the way out from Australia just to compete in Scribble Jam and ended up winning the whole thing. This was his first battle of the night so people didn’t really know what to expect from him, but in one 30 second round he sets the tone for the night.