Battle Rap Essentials: A Chat With Some of the Best

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Battle rap culture in India is growing rapidly, with leagues such as B3, Spit Dope Inc, PH2R and Allegionz this culture is expanding to every corner of this vast country (India). A lot of new rappers want to get into battling so I recently sat down with battlers who have been doing this for a long time and battlers who have developed at a rapid pace to answer questions that every new battler wants to know the answers to.

Battle Rap Essentials

E.M.F Mumbai’s well known vet when it comes to battle rap had this to say when I asked him on writing for a rap battle 

“Writing for a battle is a continuous process. It’s way different than writing a verse. When you make a song you happen to pour your heart out. Many artists write a verse for their songs in one go in the same zone. But writing for a battle is something else. Nobody wants to know what your heart feels. Spectators expect carnage and the participant has only two options, to eat or get eaten. As immortal technique quotes Battle rap as a gladiator sport, your verses are no less than a customized weapon.

Writing for a battle starts with jotting down concepts. Anything you see which you can turn into a punchline. It can happens on everyday basis. Best lines hit you at random. Be sure to jot it down somewhere before it gets lost in the abyss. Then comes the making of a vague blueprint of how your verse should proceed. Once you have enough ideas and a blueprint all you have to do is play Tetris and make the right concepts fall in the right place. Then structure it with rhyme and rhythm. Giving your verse an appropriate flow comes next. Nowadays most battle raps take place without any audio, so a certain flow gives the audience a movement to the jabs thrown in the ring. A rapper can get easily boring in just one verse if he chooses to not experiment with his flow or vocals.

Once all this is set, comes practice. Many people don’t consider this as a part of writing but the writing part comes in the picture once you practice well enough to know where you have to take your breaths and pauses and if there are any needs to alter your verse anywhere for greater impact.

This is just one way of writing a battle verse. Methods vary from person to person. No matter what method you use, if you are sure to take care of points mentioned above, you will be able to beat your best round till date.”

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X-Centrik who has one of the best flows in the culture had this to say about flowing in battle rap. 

“Flow is an essential component when it comes to rap from the most obviously known song writing to an acapella battle, Some might go like ” whaaatt ? ” after this but it all depends on how deep your observation is. Talking of flow in battle rap some obvious names like Dizaster ,Rone ,shuffle T and marlo ,etc. get mentioned but if you look closely every profound battle rapper has his own peculiar delivery which enhances the impact of the punchline.

Some might say ” but he’s just stretching the line and saying it out loud where’s the flow ??” To understand that, one needs to understand the basic fundamentals of writing a verse. In battle rap there’s no beat so flow gets transformed into structure (of the verse). Your structure decides how the scheme is gonna sound and then comes delivery ,which helps execute the structure.

If you look close every punchline has a set- up line or set- up scheme which is structured in such a way that it sounds like a build up to the finisher punch and that is exactly the reason why some punches will make you press pause and walk around with a hand on your forehead. Sometimes when you think about it later the punchline itself may not have that impact but the energy the set up structure builds forces you to react.”

Xpolymer Dar had this to say about catering to the crowd 

“Yes, he/she certainly should cater to the crowd. At the same time I believe a battle rapper should always be 100% original in the way he/she approaches different angles and punches. Catering to the crowd with their hometown references and relevant angles is always a plus and will benefit the battler at the end of the day. He/She shouldn’t be completely slaving to the crowd but sprinkling these gems a little throughout his rounds will keep the crowd’s ears attentive to your content and will support all other bars you have for the opponent.”

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On stage presence Poetik Justis’s take was

“Stage Presence is one of the most crucial elements in Battle Rap. Stage Presence can either make or break you and the audience that is watching you. A confident, level-headed battle rapper will always grab the crowd than a competitor who lacks the grit when in a battle.

Stage presence really depends on the way you practice and write your lines. You will need to really perfect enunciating your verse loud and clear when you Project. You will also need to improve your gestures and practice your body language too. This is what separates a good battle rapper from a great battle rapper.”

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Xpolymer Dar on the line between vulgarity and creativity

“Creative vulgarity should always be welcome. We should not draw the line anywhere in terms of vulgarity. The only line that should be drawn is for below the belt hits whether its vulgar or said in the most sophisticated vocabulary. Battle rappers are probably the only art form that truly can keep it a 100 and drawing any lines will just hurt the bigger purpose. We all are still evolving and somehow feel the need to use vulgar terms for the sake of shock value. But the days not really far where battlers would have pushed their pens to so far that forced vulgarity will become their last option. Nonetheless we shouldn’t and cannot eliminate it from battle rap.”

We hope you new battlers are ready. If not watch the all these people battle. Links Below