Image by Rehab Regime
HAVE BATTLE RAPPERS
LOST THEIR HUNGER?
By Rocky (boom bap)
I watch a lot of discovery channel, national geographic, and animal planet. I can't tell you how many times I've watched a lion, a wolf, a bear, etc., take down its prey by going right for the jugular. It's bloody. It's eye-opening. But most importantly it's REAL! That beast has cold eyes, with a mouth dripping blood off its fangs, and all you can think is: that thing is trained to be a straight up KILLER! Its how it is in the wild, and its why we respect these predators and know not to mess with them if we ever cross paths.
Take the battle scene. We got the schemers, those who rely on comedy, those who lean on their flow, those who dig up dirt and use personals. Its all entertaining in the grand scheme of things, but for many of us, it's those "killers" and those killer performances that we reserve a special place for. I am talking cold, calculated, un-relenting killers. And no, I am not talking about battlers who just talk about guns and street shit, I am talking about Hollow balling up his fists getting up at Big T with "that's the Don's shit!". Bigg K breakin' "ya shit wearin' oven mits" kind of twisted. Daylyt's first intro with the mask taunting: "I want you to look yo killer in the face". Not a single one of us can help but make the lemon-juice face and shake our heads at how un-relenting that damage can be. If you've ever felt the chill from a line that hit that hard, then you know exactly that killer feeling I am talking about.
Lets face it, battle-fans are not the typical run-of-the-mill type of people. We clearly have an appreciation for great rhymes, have a passion for competition, but most importantly we openly enjoy watching two people humiliate and destroy each other. Before folks judge us for those who are casual fans to battling, are we so different than where society is headed? Is there a reason we love movies with big explosions, fight scenes, murder, guns, violence, etc? Is there a reason UFC is one of, if not the fastest growing sport in the world? When we drive by a car wreck, we try to look away, but we all wanna see the carnage. It all comes full-circle for battle-heads. We accept that we enjoy hearing those get punished, and openly walk past any gray lines when it comes to seeing one person annihilate someone else. I always feel like there is secretly a small killer in every battle fan that lusts for watching someone inflict that verbal pain on their opponent, and yet we all at the same time feel conflicted inside wanting to see mercy. Like Pat Stay said to Math "the same hand I reach out to help I'll beat you to death with". It sums up what a lot of us go through: watching a dude destroy their opponent while wanting to help the victim. We can't stop reacting wildly to the assault of lines, and yet a part of us at the same time wants to be like: "Ok man, let the man live, he's had enough. Let him live!". Those moments end up becoming immortalized via the captured video, and at times become the most electrifying and memorable moments in our scene's history.
We've all had to watch a ref pull away a boxer at some point beating the shit out of his opponent. How much damage can we let the dude inflict as the entire arena stands on its feet beckoning the massacre to continue? Yet In battling, our hands are tied with imaginary handcuffs, and we can't reach onto that stage or into that ring to hold back what a killer would say to his opponent. That's in the discretion of the writer. The hosts can only stand and watch like the rest of us, and are helpless spectators that are just thankful like us all that its not them getting whooped on. One things for sure, by the oooohhs, the aaahhhhs, and the cringing yet oh-so mesmerized looks on the faces of fans in attendance: we battle fans love the pain inflicted. We eat that shit up. We crave more, like folks in the Coliseum use to cheer on Gladiators killing one another. We enjoy it for sport, and for the art of rhyme, but like Dexter we walk away with a grin, waiting for the next time a battle feeds that same sadistic hunger.
Where are more of these killer performances? Why are more folks not going right for the throat rather than relying on the current fad of just word-association and schemes these days? Its great that folks want to show their creativity with their raps, but the bare bones of this scene was always to see 2 mc's face-off and compete, and goddammit if we don't want to see them literally try and murder one another with words. I say let there be blood, and let it spill from the pen to the page, from the mics into the camera, and from our speakers pouring into our ears, where like a crime scene it leaves a stain in all of our heads. The blood-thirst is real folks. Yes the thirst is very real.
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