Battle rap in Nigeria has definitely come a long way. From the street corners to tertiary institutions; from organized rap competitions to the ones done “just for the fun of it”. Rappers confront one another in a war of words, each one with the sole aim of deconstructing the other with lyricism, punchlines, wordplay, wittiness just to mention a few.
The influx of battle rap leagues such as Bars Rap League (BRL), Battle Rap Nigeria (BRN), The Wrap League, Owerri Rap League, WRGO Studios, Word War on the Rooftop, etc., elevated the game to a whole new level of professionalism. The hip-hop sub-culture is attracting investors as it is positioning itself as a profitable portfolio. Battle rappers now get paid and events are held from time to time.
MARCH MAYHEM: LAGOS
Speaking of events, the weekend of 27th-28th March was another milestone for the culture of battle rap in Nigeria as BRN presented a battle rap event of the year contender – March Mayhem.
This legal mayhem of lyrical violation which was aired live on Caffeine, a live streaming platform and in partnership with the most respected battle rap league in the world, Ultimate Rap League (URL), commenced in Lagos on the 27th and was concluded in Kaduna on the 28th of March 2021.
Hosted by one of Nigeria’s finest battle rappers – Blackjeez. This event featured eight amazing match ups:
● THA SPICY VS THRILLZ
Despite being their first time battling live on stage and the fact they had to open the event, Spicy and Thrillz definitely put up a show and set the tone for the event. Inasmuch as their bars and performances were topnotch, critiques had a lot to say about their projection which is of course the hallmark of a good battle.
● KMAC VS IBRAYO
Everything was going extremely well for Ibrayo in this battle until he choked on his own bars. It’s so painful from a fan perspective considering the high expectation attached to him after a wonderful battle against Spliff in Bars Are Back 2. Kmac was very lyrical with his jaw-dropping and immaculate material.
● WILSON VS GNERIC
A smooth battle from both ends. Wilson, lacking power and energy in his round, left the fans with quotable lines. Gneric delivered it all on the stage. Her closing bars about Wilson getting killed by “Generic Bars” his whole career will be remembered for many years to come. She certainly made a statement with her performance; she takes no prisoners.
● LOKI VS BOOSIE
The only battle on the card that almost got physical. Loki and Boosie really went upstairs with their rounds and gave the culture that Smack DVD era vibe. A debatable battle that could go 2-1 either way.
● DR CARDIO VS KHAFF BANGZ
This was arguably the most entertaining battle of the night. Dr. Cardio had the jokes, bars, and angles but then, should anyone be surprised when a Doctor is clinical? Khaff Bangz, on the other hand, was heavily slept on in the building, he had a lot of bars that flew over heads like when he said “rundown on the doctor with the tummy(Tommy Gun) like my stomach hurts”. Bangz’s material will surely be appreciated more when the battle drops on Youtube.
● U3 VS SPIKEY
U3 rapped like he was possessed by three other battle rap legends. His fire writing and delivery made him stand toe to toe with Spikey, a battle rap veteran. Together, they made a classic battle.
● SPLIFF VS BLACKLIP PASTOR
Spliff is known for the energy he brings to the battle rap arena and in this particular time out, he didn’t disappoint. His master delivery and performance came in handy as he went against Blacklip Pastor, a very lyrical rapper with great composure. This might just be the battle of the night.
● DAMIDEASY VS QUEENMODA
The main event! As far as battle rap goes in Nigeria and Africa by extension, these two are names to reckon with. They both appeared on the top10 battle rappers list released sometime last year but Queenmoda wasn’t happy with her ranking. Could that by the genesis of this battle? Well, “everything don got a backstory”.
QueenModa went first and left earth with her round. She reminded the fans why she is the queen of all most outstanding daughters alive. Her performance, cadence, enunciation, angles, bars and confidence are exactly why she is the blueprint for all female battle rappers across Africa.
“They said I wasn’t gonna name flip…” DamiDeasy fired back effectively. He started his round with a rebuttal, explored the personal angle, numerous name flips, and ended on a very strong note. Such a great display of wit and lyrical prowess that is out of this world from both rappers. They were undoubtedly in their bags.
WE OUTCHEA: KADUNA
March was lit for battle rap in Kaduna all thanks to BRN. Battles that went down include:
- ICON BAGZ VS KINGS XAMMY
- HITLER VS JOE VEGAS
- MATESKE VS KENNY WILL
- NYNO VS ZEEZEYH
- AOD VS ADVOCATE
These emcees are relatively new to the culture, however, they held their own and delivered great performances. We need to see more of them!