Nobody in the battling world is on a hotter streak. Nobody has crossed over from Grindtime, to Smack URL to King of the Dot to Don’t Flop with such fluidity and wild success. Nobody can freestyle better. Nobody is in their early 20’s and doing what DNA is doing. This NY battler has been nice since he stepped on the scene years ago, but ever since he was given the international platform to battle Dizaster in November of 2011, the dude has been on an entirely other level. Combining personal attacks with wordplay, tightly written schemes with fiery freestyle rebuttals, and brash confidence with an young gun’s vulnerability, DNA is looking to become the biggest name in the field. What’s important is that, while he’s clearly got a perfect arsenal of lyrical techniques, he isn’t dominant per se. Rather, DNA elevates the competition to their greatest heights: each of the battles below is an all-out slugfest, the epitome of the artistry and spectacle that this medium is capable of. Here are, chronologically, five battles to introduce you to the most all-around masterful and entertaining new force in battle rap.
DNA vs Dizaster
This is the moment that DNA cemented his spot in the top tier. Pairing up Dizaster, perhaps the only other MC on a comparable sky-rocketing path at the time, with DNA in long battle hosted by Drake set this up to be a classic, and damn did these dudes deliver. Freestyle flips and tense moments of real talk (especially in round 3) are abound. Watch the whole hour, it’s worth it.
DNA vs Eurgh
DNA has stated in interviews that he loves to choose opponents who can freestyle, and this battle is a particular treat because of that. There are few other instances on Youtube where both MCs offer tight rebuttals at the top of each round. DNA blends some grimy gun bars and some hilarious accusations of UK culture for a fantastic showing.
DNA vs K-Shine
As K-Shine’s opening round mounts in energy, those watching at home might think DNA was dead on arrival, but hang in there: dude’s composure and trust in his material allows him to get what seemed like an initially swayed crowd onto his side. DNA brings punch after punch, meets K-Shine on his turf and incorporates other styles as well. A classic battle.
DNA vs TheSaurus
Here, DNA faces the active veteran of battle rap, the “Two Time Winner of Everything,” so this was a particularly important test. Though the crowd is pretty whack and unresponsive, a careful listener can hear that his bars are razor sharp. He provides name flips, wittiness, brutal passion, and perhaps most impressively, a prediction of his opponent’s bars.
DNA vs Arsonal
This one, hot off the presses, is a very close call. What wins it for DNA are the two reasons this list exists in the first place: underneath his surface level wordplay, he is an artist with purpose, passion, and pain, and he is the most consistent performer in his field. Here’s DNA’s latest classic. Enjoy, and be sure never to sleep on this boy again.
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