Whether you know it or not, battle rap is becoming more at the forefront of our culture. Not only have premier battle leagues filled with undeniable talent popped up all over the world but we are starting to see some mainstream MCs get in on the action as well. We all know that there are countless examples of rappers getting their initial start in the underground battle scene but then never returning to the ring. This is obviously understandable because there isn’t a ton of money to be made in the current battle rap landscape… at least, not yet.
Recently, mainstream rappers like Joe Budden, Canibus and Ab-Soul have all stepped into the battle rap ring and flexed their lyrical prowess showing that they still have what it takes to go bar for bar with today’s battlers. To take it even a step further, mainstream veteran Cassidy will be going up against battle raps very own Dizaster. The battle will be taking place on December 6th and rumor has it, Cassidy is being paid over $200,000 to do it. With deals like this being thrown around and obvious interest sparking around the industry, we can expect to see more and more mainstream MCs take to dive to battling.
That being said, we made a list of five big time rappers that would excel on the battle platform. Of course rappers like Eminem, Slaughterhouse and Meek Mill are all known for coming up to the spotlight through battle rap, so we know they have the ability to spare with today’s battle rappers. Therefore, we decided to make a list of the mainstream rappers that haven’t been known to battle but would prosper nonetheless.
There is no one in mainstream rap music today who has more street cred than Pusha T. Born and bred on the mean streets of the Bronx and Norfolk, King Push has seen it all. He is an avid illustrator of that gutter gangster street life and has probably never taken shit from anyone. Ever. This is the perfect recipe for a modern day battle rapper. Often times, battles can be won on clever gun bars and the classic “who has more street cred” argument, two areas in which Pusha excels. He also doesn’t rely on massive production or flashy beats to display his best. Not to mention, his aggression is unrivaled. We have yet to hear a Pusha song that doesn’t give us those drug dealer cringe worthy lines that could cut through any wanna-be rapper. Still not convinced Pusha T would make a good top tier battle rapper? Check out the video below for his track “Exodus 23:1”. The bars seem terrifyingly personal to whomever is listening and the delivery cuts extremely deep. Did we mention soul piercing ad lib? Yeuuughhhh.
Of course we had to include the punchline king in this list. There is no one better with the good ‘ol one-two punch than Fabolous. The Brooklyn streets obviously showed Fab how to hold his own when rhyming which is exactly why he would flourish in the battle scene. For years, Fab has structured his verses in that ‘setup to punchline’ format in turn making his raps clean, clear and easy to follow. You can tell in songs like “Breathe” and “Got That Work” that Fab’s multisyllabic flow is smart yet entertaining. Not to mention his A-B-B-A rhyme patterns make the punchlines that much harder. Fab would easily be one of battle rap’s fan favorites because he is not afraid to throw around name drops and relevant pop culture metaphors that make fans go crazy. People often say that Fab is getting boring or redundant with his raps when in reality the Brooklyn MC shows no signs of slowing down. Plus, they don’t call him Funeral Fab for nothing. Check out the track below to see what we’re saying.
This may seem strange to most you reading this but think about it, ever since his introduction to the game back in 1999 Ludacris has given us metaphors on metaphors on metaphors. Ludacris would not only do well in battle rap but might very well win title matches and tournaments alike. Ever since his debut, he has been a self made rapper and doesn’t owe anyone anything which he could use to his advantage in the ring. His delivery is clear and his set ups are easy to follow. In a ton of his tracks it seems as if Luda is already battling that general “you” opponent and makes it look easy. For example, in his song “Undisputed” he absolutely snaps using metaphors, similes and an overall attitude to clown whomever he is talking to. He has a commanding presence and performance ability that would do well in a live battle setting. However, the one major challenge Luda would face would be his acting career. Roles in movies like Fred Claus and New Years Eve might hurt his street cred a little but I mean, at least he didn’t pull an Ice Cube.
Juelz Santana might be under the radar at the moment but the Dipset frontman would make one hell of a battle rapper. His wordplay is craft and his punchlines are heavy. Juelz is the epitome of “I’m better than you are”. In almost every single one of his songs, verses or freestyles he talks about either snatching some guy’s girl or having more money than the richest of the rich. He would definitely be the type of guy you would HATE to lose a bet to because he would just rub it in to no extent; that’s why he would be tough to battle against. If his opponents had any slip ups at all, Juelz would not hesitate to use it against them. After every clever bar and crowd reaction he would undoubtedly give that classic Santana smirk and proceed to continuously roast his opposition. The only thing holding Juelz back from almost perfect rap battle ability would be his acapella ability. Heatmakerz’s beats gave his rhymes a lot more emphasis so he would need to come correct himself. Other than that, check out an almost perfect example of his battle rap potential which can be heard on “Santana’s Town”.
Last but not least is the D-Town player himself, Mr. Big Sean. This may come as a little bit of surprise to you old school Hip-Hop heads but in actuality, Big Sean is the perfect man for the battle rap gig. Similar to Juelz Santana, he would be the worst MC to lose to. His whole style is basically an attempt at flexing over his inferiors. From verse to verse Big Sean is just relentless with the rhymes. He is potentially the most versatile rapper on this list and would be able to battle anyone, anywhere at any time. If he battle, he would combine punchlines, schemes, rapid fire raps and of course jokes. Where most rappers would try to “out rap” their opponent, Big Sean would have no problem clowning the enemy until the crowd was in tears. On top of all this technical talk, Big Sean could also mix in rebuttals galore. This is an extremely important part of battle rap, especially in this era of written rounds. In almost on-air freestyle from the past few years, Big Sean has been on a hot streak, making sure that no beat is safe. Not to mention his ad-libs alone would make opposing battlers shake in their Timbs. Check him out flexing his freestyle abilities on Cosmic Kev’s Come Up Show below. Boi.
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