You know the beautiful thing about hip hop? It’s that there are many different styles that serve different purposes. Some emcees use hip hop through the art of storytelling by painting a vivid picture or story through their lyrics. Others use lyrical content to convey a message. And then there’s the rap artists who just make music to have a good time. But even though there are several other different styles of art in hip hop, there is one art of hip hop that I feel it’s spark in the last ten or so years. That art is known as battle rapping.
The art of battle rapping has been around since the very beginning of hip hop where two rappers would go bar for bar with each other to see who was better. This type of hip hop was meant to be used to make the crowd say, “Ohhhhhh” and move their energy saying a catchy punch line or verse. The reason I’m even bringing this is because I recently watched the Netflix movie “Roxanne Roxanne” about the story of battle rap champion Roxanne Shante and how she impacted hip hop at an early age. After watching this movie I’m thinking to myself “Man battle rap is so dope. I wonder why you don’t hear about more battle rappers in this generation”. Then this question came to my mind. Is battle rap a dying art in hip hop?
In this generation there are still people that battle rap but not nearly enough to still make it a popular art. I remember growing up in Philly and going on YouTube to see battle rappers like Cassidy, Joey Jihad, or Freeway killing rappers. But in this new generation, a lot of artists are straying away from the art form and I think I know why. One of the reasons is that there isn’t any real money in battle rap. A lot of artists are moving away from the battle rap scene because they realize that a thousand dollars is anything compared to making a hit song and making millions off it.
The other reason is that a lot of artists realized that it doesn’t matter how good of a battle rapper you are if you can’t make catchy music for the radio then no one will know who you are. I know there are tons of underground battle rappers that can out rap these main stream artists on the radio but in the end it won’t matter because people want to hear good music they have fun with not just crazy punch lines. It sucks but hey it is what it is. But I’m glad this movie “Roxanne Roxanne” came out because maybe it’s a way for people to pay more attention to it and bring it back to main stream attention.
What are your thoughts? Please leave comments below.