My Current Favorite Battle Rappers
I am fanatical about watching rap battles on YouTube. In my early 20s I was active in the battle scene, but nowadays these guys are so good, I consider myself lucky that I didn't have to face them. Between King of the Dot, Don't Flop & Smack/URL, there are great outlets producing battles now. Search any of these guys' names & watch the videos ASAP
- •DizasterLove him or hate him, this LA native is loud, obnoxious and a little too aggressive, but hands down one of the greatest to ever do it. Complex rhyme schemes, hard hitting punchlines and showmanship - he has it all. He infamously destroyed Canibus in a lopsided competition and can cite Drake as both a fan and a friend. The middle eastern MC hears the same cabdriver, terrorist, and Apu jokes over & over and silences them with originality and creativity. One of the kings.
- •Pat StayCanada's homegrown favorite, Pat Stay may not be the most technically impressive battler in the upper tier, but he is the most entertaining. Built like an NFL lineman, Stay is an intimidating force, and not just because he held the KOTD championship for quite some time. He's genuinely hilarious and can be over the line (in the best way possible) when insulting his opponent. This is not the guy you wanna face cause in the end - you'll be sad & he'll be doing the moonwalk as the crowd freaks out.
- •RoneLooking more like a Princeton crew team member than a rapper, this Philadelphia native is truly incredible. His frame of reference is vast, referencing hip-hop gossip to obscure lit details, mostly depending on comedy bars. Whenever his name pops up, you know you're in for something special. For a truly incredible event, check out his "compliments only" battle with Pat Stay and watch rap creativity at its best. Roney the prince, soon be the king indeed.
- •DaylytBattle rap's most complex character, the LA native is the closest thing we have to Lady GaGa or Andy Kaufman. The self-proclaimed Crip competes in costume (he's dressed as a slave, Batman, a Klansman & Jesus), and has a rather frightening tattoo on his face. His antics can be downright weird (he once stripped naked and pretended to poop out a candy bar, then eat it), but he's actually pretty scary, and good, when rapping. His threats seem real & he's so unpredictable, he may just kill you.
- •FrescoAnother surprising look for rap, Fresco looks a lot like Demetri Martin. He's consistently called gay during his battles for his vibe (which made him leave the scene for a bit), as homophobic insults still reign supreme, even though most MCs are progressive & liberal - it's just dumb tradition you have to accept. Also, Fresco put a chip in Rone's armor when he built a strong case that Rone was actually molested by Jerry Sandusky (he's since denied it, but Fresco did quite the number with it).
- •DumbfoundedNot necessarily active nowadays, Dumbfounded is a name to definitely research. He's focused more on his original music and viral videos in 2015 but his battles are what I'm interested in. He's extremely funny and quick on his feet with rebuttals and also brings a little diversity in a scene mostly made up of white nerds and black dudes, as the best Asian MC in any league (shouts to Jin though). His recent battle against Conceited is a must watch.
- •Chilla JonesA new addition to my list, Jones has put together quite a year facing 100 Bullets, Math Hoffa & Dizaster. The Boston MC held his own in every round, creating some of the most creative "gun bars" in the game, a term given to the usage of gun threats in rhyme (which is also crazy played out mostly). He just keeps getting better too, a rarity since most champs just get less and less interested in battling as time goes on. A name to watch for sure.
- •ILLmacuLateThe current KOTD champ and Oregon rapper is throughly impressive. He beat Pat Stay for the title, which is no easy task, and it'll be fun watching him defend it. He's been at it since 2004, when at 17 he became the youngest Skribble Jam battle winner ever. He clearly deserves this time to shine. Keep an eye on this dude, 2016 might just be his year.
- •Shuffle T & MarloThis duo of early 20s from the UK may have said in interviews they're more interested in becoming famous comedians than MCs - but that shouldn't affect their standing on this list. Because they're hilarious. And should be comedians. They're most known for their tag team battles, and these online videos make me laugh more than anyone in those YouTube billboards. So someone cast them in shit, but until then, watch these two middle class MCs wait for you call in the battle scene.