As a leader in this battle rap culture I understand and acknowledge how important it is to creatively push forward without losing sight of what makes this artform so unique. I like to believe that I have surrounded myself with individuals who believe the same.
In April of this year, RapGrid debuted our first battle rap VOD (Video On Demand) and had several releases since from 3 different leagues. We brought the idea to Lux and Hollow to battle without a league and release the battle directly to the fans, to put them in control of their own business.
Let me back up for a second and explain ...
Battle rap business is essentially non-existent. Before I attempted to launch a new league or negotiate with any battle rappers, I sat on the phone for hours with whom I believe to be some of the most brilliant untapped minds around about how WE can change the game in a way that makes sense to emcees, leagues and fans. RapGrid’s idea of VOD came up and I didn’t really understand it at first - it seemed pale in comparison to a Pay-Per-View option. When it was completely broke down to me, I realized that as long as we had a platform (RapGrid) we could create a battle rap Netflix of sorts, without having to worry about streaming costs and limitations.
Five months ago (April), I just picked up the phone, and proposed an idea to Hollow that looked as followed:
Hollow Da Don vs Loaded Lux - RapGrid On Demand
Both emcees would be able to come together and settle on a price fans would pay
RapGrid would reach out to battle forums an attempt to reach an agreement to stop bootlegging
The emcees would make the majority of the money and RapGrid would take a smaller percentage (trust me - it was a very good deal)
The battle would be done in private and revealed once the link was ready to purchase
A page would be made so all parties involved could monitor their earnings
All terms were negotiable
The battle would be released to the public for free after a set amount of time
I brought up the fact that the battles’ first week views on youtube could total 1 million views. If 1% of that fan base bought a VOD, that is roughly 10k views. 10k views multiplied by a $10 VOD would total $100,000. After RapGrid’s share and mechanical fees, Lux and Hollow would have been left as the two highest paid battlers of this era.
Hollow realized there was a risk involved, due to the fact that something like this had never been done before, but was open to the idea. A meeting was set up between myself, my business partner, Loaded Lux, Hollow and two of Lux’s representatives. During this meeting two things became clear: Lux wanted a bigger revenue share than Hollow and Lux wanted to charge the fans more than Hollow did.
After the meeting, all talk of RapGrid making this battle happen eventually fizzled out, but Hollow was open to battling another big name in a similar situation.
Personally, I hate asking people who I feel are friends to do battles or discuss any business with them. I feel like I have taken years to earn some of these guys trust and don’t want to put a relationship in jeopardy by pushing too hard for a business move. Eventually, we just let this idea die down.
Recently, Lux has revealed that he brought this plan to SMACK/URL, who turned the idea down and made one of the “poorest decisions in battle rap history.” All is fair in the business realm and no hard feelings come from this situation, but RapGrid birthed this idea and was more than willing to make the battle happen under almost any circumstance ... including working with the Ultimate Rap League.
This is our Pacquaio vs Mayweather: IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN, NO MATTER WHAT!
RapGrid is still going to be doing VOD and is currently in the middle of doing business with a few leagues with interesting battles to offer. To really blow this situation up, we would like to band together with two main event level battlers - the earning potential is GREAT. I even toyed with the idea of using this method to help earn main event battlers on EBA (my new league) extra revenue, but it is definitely a risk. Quite possibly, a risk worth taking if WE believe that change is really needed.
Rap Grid's goal is to offer VOD battles from as many leagues and battlers as possible. If you're a league that wants to earn more money than you can from YouTube, or a battler that wants to earn long term revenue and get more info on who their real fans are so you can build your actual career, contact us at [email protected]
I respect those leagues that have done their own PPV and VOD in the past months, but in order to move the culture forward everyone needs to realize that battle rap will always be bigger than one league. We would like to work with all leagues, emcees and outlets connected with battle rap and see an opportunity to change our future for the better.