Is Battle Rap a Sport? Do Female Emcees Belong?

Sometimes being a fan of battle rap, you forget that people still aren’t in tune with it… can’t get in tune with it. I recently had a few conversations with different persons that admitted being sometimes shocked by the aggression, the use of detrimental words, in battle rap. I’ve never “questioned” it myself, but the fact that some people are, made me reflect on it and want to explain it.

First of all, IT IS in the essence of battle rap to dismantle your opponent, in whatever way with the words… there are no rules. What we have to understand is that battle rap is indeed a sport, a show, a form of entertainment, it’s ‘staged’… the battlers are not supposed to take it outside of the ring. Most of the times they don’t (unfortunately there has been a few times where they have). But it’s not what the leagues owners and artists’ managers want though. There’s too much at stake to let real negativity get in the way. But again, that ‘aggression’ in the ring is for the ring… most of the times if you saw the artists in real life or interviews, you’d realize that they are cooler than what we think. And also when they make music, it’s usually another side of them. Aggression is not the only element in battle rap. Some battlers use humor, realness, preaching, angles… Now, I’m not trying to convince anyone to enjoy battle rap, if they don’t. What I am stressing is it’s legitimacy as a sport; that demands a lot of strength and talent, if you want hang in that ring. You also have to have charisma, stage presence, and a strong delivery.

Since our focus here is more on ‘female battle rap’, let me say that female battle rap IS on the rise. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for a battle rap event to at least have one female battle. Intrinsically there are no differences between male and female battle rap, but female battlers usually seem to come much harder, more personal and visceral in their attacks; unafraid to dig dirty details about their opponent’s past. But with battle rap growing, and the emergence of new stars like Jaz the Rapper and 40 B.A.R.R.S., we see more and more cleverness within the bars, with the wordplay and the punchlines. Recently someone sent me an article for my site about battle rap (that I ended up not posting), in which he was mocking female battlers, accusing them of imitating the males to attain legitimacy. I feel that he was sorely undermining their talents. Female battlers, on events, such as Q.O.T.R’s (Queen Of The Ring), are truly dope (Kay Prophet, Ms Miami, C3, Chayna Hashley, Young Gattas, Official being some of my favorites). I’m sure these ladies will have a strong influence in the long run. We should salute the fact that females are getting their shot too. Not only are they getting their shot, but they are killing it!

Battle rap as a whole is cathartic for some people to actually spit their guts out in front of people (as in theater), and also cathartic for some fans that watch it. I understand why some people would be shocked by what is happening in the ring. But we shouldn’t be any more ‘shocked’ than when we watch boxing or Ultimate Fighting.

While it’s good to stay aware as to the direction that Hip Hop is going, we should let battle rap grow and expand, since IT IS a form of expression, and shaping out to be the new generation’s contribution to Hip Hop.

Login to post comments