Battle Rap is Rising in Popularity
By: David He
To many, battle rap is just a form of entertainment or a game, but to others, especially in New York, battle rap is an industry, an art, and a serious form of sport.
Battle rap is when two or more performers rap out insults and boast towards each other in a standoff. It is often freestyled right on the spot, so the rappers have to be skilled at improvising.
Many rap leagues hold national events, such as the Ultimate Rap League (URL), King of the Dot, and Rare Breed Entertainment. In New York, the center of battle rap, the Trap NY and the URL are two very popular battle rap leagues hosting many events.
To many professional rappers, battle rap is an art and a sport that they must practice a lot to gain mastery. It is also an industry where many aspiring M.C.s (another name for a rapper) are after the money, the title, and the recognition of being a high-ranking rapper.
However, when a rap battle ends, there is usually no official winner. The in-person and online viewers vote for who won the rap battle.
Battle rap is an essential part of hip-hop culture. Organizations like the Ultimate Rap League are trying to spread battle rap to bigger audiences. URL was founded in 2009, and through ticket sales for rap battles, ad revenue, and app subscriptions, URL has become an official industry and has turned the art of battle rap into a business.
Troy “Smack” Mitchell is one of the founders and owners of URL.
“This was a sport that didn’t really have the recognition nor the respect from hip-hop culture to the point where these M.C.s could get paid,” said Mitchell. “Once we brought it from the streets and took it to venues, we started to create a business out of it, a business where we could actually pay M.C.s to do something that they love to do.”
URl, among other battle rap organizations, has been a success because there is no need to hire producers or book a recording studio in a rap battle. It all depends on the skill and improvised wordplay.
Ultimately, the respect for battle rap has grown over the last decade and has not only become a form of art and sport but it is also now a legitimate industry.
Link to article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/arts/music/orchestra-diversity.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare