I’ve been thinking about doing a year-end recap of the battle rap scene, but I realized I would have to wait for another six months, and I was afraid I would miss battles that happened earlier in the year. So I decided to make a mid-year recap not only to highlight some of my favorite battles of the year thus far, but also as a reference I could look at when I eventually do the year-end recap.

So here is some guidelines I laid out for myself:

  • Upload dates must be either in December 2012, or in 2013

Different leagues have their own schedules of when they choose to upload battles, whether on YouTube or on their own sites. So when events occur near the end of the year, the battles from those events end up being spread out from December and leaking into January. I think it’s unfair to leave a battle off this recap because of the upload date. So I decided to allow battles that were uploaded in December of 2012 make this list. December battles deserve to be considered for a year-end list, it’s just unfortunate that because they bubble up in December, they don’t get the looks.

  • Favorite performances are different from favorite battles

It doesn’t go both ways. My favorite battles means both MCs (or teams) need to have great performances. But, if one person has a good performance but the other didn’t, that can’t make it as a favorite battle.  So I have two lists: favorite performances, and favorite battles.

One final note: An appearance in the favorite performances list does not mean that battle can’t make it to the favorite battles list.

Favorite Performances

Madness (2nd Round) vs. Psychosis Holocaust – Don’t Flop

A movie-themed battle. Madness brought the Arnold bars in the 2nd, and that Terminator 2 line put it over the top.

Math Hoffa (2nd Round) vs John John Da Don – URL

Everyone John John battles brings up Hollow and his name, but Math gives it a twist and puts it in bible references.

Conceited vs Tsu Surf (Both Round 1) – URL

There’s a reason that when URL put out the trailer for this battle, they grabbed bars from each MC from Round 1. Con mixed humor and gun bars and was effective in doing so. Surf was all aggressive, and that Laker scheme was something else.

Illmaculate (Round 2) vs. Arkaic – Don’t Flop

The beginning of Illmac’s 2nd round began so strong, even with the personals relating with Steph (Don’t Flop’s interviewer) sort of losing steam, it made a strong impression on me. I couldn’t leave this round off the list.

Favorite Battles

Pat Stay vs. Math Hoffa – King of the Dot

Styles make fights. This isn’t a complete mirror match, but Math and Pat have aggressive deliveries. From Pat spitting, “Cause it’s simple mathematics, you never carry a nine,” to Math calling him out on doing crack.  What makes this battle for me is the same reason I enjoyed when Head Ice battled Pat, during the middle of the battle, it became more fun than tense, even during hard-hitting rhymes. It has to be mentioned that Pat did recycle bars that he used against Shotty Horroh out in Sweden.

Math Hoffa vs Hitman Holla – King Juce

To watch any King Juce battle, you have to go to their website and pay for a membership. The footage is out proper, but that video did have some audio issues with both the equipment and the St. Louis crowed overpowered the battle. Luckily, both Math and Hitman put out their rounds, so people can watch their battle without the crowd reaction.

There are a lot of memorable lines. From their 1st rounds, with Hitman with the “I’m 6’2, you measure my heart, I’ll be 7’5,” and Math with, “Ya’ll put me in the right with ya’ll West Side rider/Hazelwood Basketball Scholar?” This is a must-watch, especially with the no crowd version.

Pass vs. RemyD – King of the Dot

Don’t sleep on this battle. A clash of great flows. It’s Pass’ performance and delivery ability vs Remy’s mult-syllabic stacking and wordplay, but neither are weak in each other’s category. I’ve watched this battle a couple of times, and I still don’t know who won. Re-watchable for days.

Tony D vs. Deffinition – Don’t Flop

Speaking of sleeping, don’t sleep on the UK battle scene. Don’t Flop’s champion Tony D goes up against one of the UK’s top-tier battlers in Deffinition. It’s one of Def’s best performances in a battle, but Tony came prepared for this one (unlike when he battled Real Deal). Watch this battle, and decide for yourself if you agree with the decision.

DNA vs. K-Shine – URL

I know, I know. Why is K-Shine’s 3rd round not in my top performances list? Because this battle has more to it than that round. K-Shine gets motivated like this when the opponent is right. This is clearly a well-motivated Shine. DNA doesn’t slack either, he had great setups and punchlines of his own. One of those battles I can watch from beginning to end.

Feel free to give your thoughts on the lists. Whether you agree with them, disagree, or missed a battle, post it in the comments. I’ll see you sometime in December!