ON THE FLY
There are so many new comers that have stepped on the Battle Rap scene. Some fall by the wayside, some are stuck in limbo looking to find their place in “ The Culture” while others are taking advantage of every opportunity and making moves at a rapid pace. One Battler in particular that is making major moves and taking strategics strides is Prep. Prep is among the URL’s newest P.G’s (Proving Grounds) Alumni, who is quickly becoming known for his clever wordplay and seemingly gimmicky spiffy attire. This newcomer has caught the attention of some of Battle Raps top tiers and Bad Boy artist Los. I caught up with the “ Dapper Rapper” and picked his brain as he prepares for 106 and Parks UFF Battles. In true Prep fashion, (no pun intended) he showed up in tailored threads and bowtie in tow.
NM: So Prep! How and Why did you step into the Battle Rap scene?
Prep: Kid and Play. You remember the scene at the party? “ Kid spelled backwards describe you best, is it gonna be me or eraser head?” I caught you off guard with that one didn’t I?
Yea you did.
You probably thought I was going to say Mook and Lux or something like that. But that whole Battle Rap scene was tough. That made me want to battle. Yeah Eminem too. I’m not talking about 8 Mile, I’m talking about way back in ‘97 with the Battle Rap Olympics. He lost or whatever but he was nice. MTV with the dude Rainman, Swan, Blind Fury all of that leading up to Freestyle Friday and SMACK.
So you’re a fan for real. Where are you from?
Yeah. I can sit here talk about Battle Rap for hours, and that doesn’t even involve SMACK. I can go deep into Battle Rap history. I’m from where you’re from; Baltimore. I grew up over east near Monument Street and Patterson Park. Like Tay Roc is From Baltimore but he’s from Edgewood County. I’m from the actual City of Baltimore. In the heart of the city where they filmed The Wire. There’s such a stigma attached to Baltimore. There’s no Hip Hop foundation here. And people who are from Baltimore that made it never really shout Baltimore out. There’s such a “Crabs in a Barrel Mentality” here. It’s crazy cuz there’s a lot of talent in Baltimore.
I can see why you say that. So other than MTV and Eminem, What battle(s) have you seen or Battler that has been influential in you actually pursuing Battle Rap as an artist and not just a fan ?
That would have to be Murda Mook and J Millz. That was the first recorded battle on SMACK. So if you’re talking about more current and recent then yeah Mook and Millz, T- Rex and Un Casa, the first Lux and Mook battle, Not the rematch the old one from back and the day. I named Mook probably like five times already . So I’m just gonna say Mook. He’s the one who really made me want to do it.
Was Mook your only influence as far as current Battlers go?
Nah. When SMACK Battles kind of died down , It was Con (Conceited). Him against Tall T and a couple of others in The Jungle. Me seeing Con made me want to battle him so that’s why I really started battling. I wanted to start battling everyone so I can get to Con one day.
I read a tweet you put out there recently saying Aye Verb was one of the first people to show support.
Yeah … He was one of the first people to show me any love. The funny thing is, It wasn’t because of my PG or anything.
So How did he know about you?
It was from my second battle ever. In Baltimore on the Pit Fights Battle League. Shout Outs to Shaka Pitts because that’s where I got my start. Verb saw that one round tryout battle on Pit Fights and he hit me up and sent me his info and everything. He was like “ I want you to come out here for the tournament.” I don’t know if he wanted to manage me, take me under the wing or whatever the case may be, enter me the tournament or what. Verb didn’t have to watch my battle . He was already on Summer Madness and making moves. He reached out to me in like 2012. So that’s to let you know right there that he has an eye for talent and he watches what goes on.
So speaking of managers, NuNu is your manager right?
How did you establish that bond? That is a really good look right there given her connection to the URL.
It started from the D Money battle. Did you see that battle?
I didn’t watch it in its entirety.
Well that happened on the We Go Hard Battle League. They had a card where it was like The Take Over. They had battlers from others leagues come on the card and battle. It was like an evasion card.
So they had me vs D Money. That was after he came off the Prez Mafia Battle. You know how bad that look for him, So I guess he thought he was gonna come through and battle me like this was going to be his time to shine. Like he was gonna get his wind back or his glow back or something. But he got KILLED! Nunu and Jaz was there, and soon as I get off stage they were telling me how crazy the battle was and what not. Nunu told me she was gonna hit Norbes and Beasley. And everything she said she was gonna do she did and came through.
That’s cool. I like that.
Yeah, so her coming through on her word let me know she was real . If you look at how fast I’ve grown, you’ll see that she’s doing her job and not just saying she’s my manager just to say it. She makes moves, she’s not just sitting back with her feet up. In a matter of months I was offered to be on Summer Madness and I turned that down.
Because it was too close to UFF and I don’t like rushing to prepare and taking battles back to back in a short span of time. I don’t want to over saturate myself and look slackish. But I got offered to be on Summer Madness after one PG Battle! That’s Crazy right? And turned it down. Right after that, I got UFF and now I’m here doing an interview with you! It’s crazy.
So you’ll be going against Th3 Saga right?
No, Th3 Saga will be going against T Top. I’ll be going against Chess.
Oooh ok. So this how do you feel about the UFF line up?
I think this is the best UFF so far. It’s going to be crazy. The first UFF Battlers was slacking.
Yeah. They had Danja on there, Ill Will, Lotta Zay and whomever. I mean it was cool. But it wasn’t as good as we thought it was gonna be. But the second year, they turned up. Prez and Law was crazy, Snow was going wild. People were going in. But after the first rounds, it started dying down. But this year… man. You got a mixture. You got Me, who’s coming with punches and schemes and lyrical intent. Then you got T Top who’s all the way street. Brizz , he’s raw , uncut and aggressive. Chess is the youngest dude to do it right now. Th3 Saga is a Christian Rapper; it’s like so much that’s going on this time. There’s such a different variety. UFF is gonna be nuts. What you think about the UFF line up who you think is going to win excluding myself?
I like Th3 Saga, Not just because he and I are Christians, I like that he’s much like yourself, as far as bringing something new to Battle Rap. I like how he can still punch and but on a performance without cursing and a lot of gun talk. It goes to show that he has talent. The gun talk is played out to me. I can’t relate to that. He’s relatable.
Yeah I like Th3 Saga too. He’s nice.
Yeah. I read that people are saying he’s the first Christian Battle Rapper. I disagree with that. There’s others , But he’s just more open about his beliefs.
Right. I think people are calling him the first because he’s executing it and going about it in an open way. While others aren’t pushing that. They aren’t going hard putting themselves out there and he is. There may be other Christians battling, But no one is out there like he is. They are quiet. That’s why I try to open the crowd up to how I rap. Like the Idiot thing I said against Dot, My homeboy told me I shouldn’t do it, He thought the crowd was gonna boo me out of the building. But it went over well. And the Mime thing too. It ended up being the bar of the year. People are scared to step outside the box because the gun bars formula has been working. But for Th3 Saga to step outside the box and bring thought provoking bars and succeed? That’s why they view him as the first Christian Rapper in Battle Rap. He made an impact. Such and Such who are Christians in this didnt make an impact and he did. He’s my favorite out of this ( Proving Grounds) class. I would say Brizz but he slacks so he would be my number two. Then T Top. People will think I’m lying when I say Dot but I like Dot. He reaches a lot but he’s entertaining.
As far as different goes, your style is different for the field that you're in. How do you feel about your peers and their presentation or lack there of? Im not asking you to name names though.
I’m naming names! Nah. Some of them look dirty. Let’s just be real. I get it. You hustle, you’re in the trap. You’re “ Real”. Ok cool. But you’re in front of a camera though. I don’t get how they think looking dirty equals being real. I guess they think that adds to their persona. Regardless if the camera is showing five hundred people, or fifty people, You need to be aware that you’re going to be viewed by the public.
Branding is everything.
Exactly. They fail to realize , if you’re coming to battles like that with the hair all over your face, hair never cut looking dirty with lint and dandruff all in it, shirts with stains on it… Imagine what they do outside just on a regular day? That’s crazy right? to think of it that way.
I feel some guys think it adds to their gritty and hungry appeal.
Battle Rap is reaching new levels by the day.
Right, T.V , Magazines, Celebrities…
Yes. So I feel like a lot of your peers have to really consider how they want to be perceived by those who watch them.
They gotta be on their P’s and Q’s. My sister said to me that one of the things I got going for myself is I can transition to different avenues. For example . Russell Simmons has a clothing line right now called Argyle Life. He also supports Battle Rap. He had Don Trip spitting and a few others, and think about it, Russell is close with Sway, Sway supports they Battle Rap community. So what if I get an interview with Sway and Russell sees how I’m presentable in that interview and I land a spot representing Argyle Life. You just never know. It’s about making strategic moves. A lot of Battle Rappers just all over the place. Something like that will never happen with some of these guys. They are going to be stuck battle rapping and that’s all.
What sets you apart from other Battlers? Why should we ( the fans) keep an eye on you?
Because I’m not like the average battler. I’m creative. Besides my appearance ,my writing style is different. The way I approach things is different. I’m like a Chess Player. A Chess Player is thinking about five or six moves ahead. That’s how I am.
Can you elaborate?
I don’t come in like “In order for me to get a battle I gotta call out a top tier.” I’m not chasing any top tiers. Look at what Ty Law did. He came in, killed somebody and after he started calling out B Magic. Wavy had is little battle and started asking for Surf. Prez had his battle and asked for who he asked for. So it just kept on being a rerun of the same cycle. You have good battle, and now you want a big name? I wasn’t going to do that. So how can I make people look at me instead of looking at them? One thing was not to chase any big names.
A lot of the big names have fallen off. They get too comfortable.
Nobody wants to be the king of their class anymore. Nobody wants to battle everyone in their class , take the crown and then move on. So I figured since they’re not, that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m more so doing it for myself. I want to have that stamp and say I did that without no outside influence, no one told me to do it, I did it for myself and got that crown.
Who has fallen off?
Like Verb for instance, He’s one of the best in my opinion. But we haven’t seen the Verb that was against Miles, or that first round against Rex Verb, or that Verb against Hitman. We haven’t seen that Verb on a consistent basis. I don’t know if he hasn’t gotten any opponents he feel like he has to kill like that, or If he lost his passion for battling, or maybe he’s gotten comfortable and kicked his feet up because he’s getting paid more money now. Just maybe the lack of competition could be it. I just told myself I’m not going to fall in that loop. I’m not going to start off at the top and out of nowhere just drop.
Do you think the fans have something to do with that?
Yeah somewhat. If the fans( including myself because I’m a fan first) stop allowing these battlers to get away with a lot of things like poor performances and what not then the battlers will stop giving poor performances. No fans showing up to events means no money. But now and days there’s more fans of Battlers than there is fans of the culture. and that’s the problem.
Like Clips fans think he can do no wrong. His fans made excuses for him not having thirds. But Big T on the other hand is getting crucified right now. Imagine if Clips got the treatment Big T is getting right now, He wouldn’t have gotten away with not having thirds for so long like he did.
What you think about Big T so far?
I think Big T hasn’t been on his A game. He’s very complex and lyrical. But his last few performances especially the Total Slaughter performance is showing what people believed about him for a while now.
Which is what?
He’s looking like he’s not supposed to be on the Main Stage right now. That his style is more for a closed room and smaller crowd. Because fans at major events don’t want to dissect bars. They are in the moment they want to catch bars and want punches back to back.
So what are you looking to achieve in Battle Rap other than the PG class crown?
I want my name to be mentioned among the greats in this. When you mention the Mooks, The Mickey Factz, The Lux’s etc you mention Prep. Not only do I want my brand to make an impact here , I want my brand to expand to different avenues such as fashion and wherever else I can take it. I just want to show people you can be creative and outside the box.
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