The Best Overall Cypher Was Live & Shows Battle Rap Reigns Supreme (Video)
To many Hip-Hop Heads, names like T-Top, Rain, Charlie Clips, DNA, and K-Shine may not resonate. These are not artists with albums in stores or hit songs on social media. However, in the culture of Battle Rap, these are some of the most fiery MCs doing it. At last night’s (October 13) airing of the 2015 BET Hip Hop Awards, this collective may have very well stolen the show—and proved that Battle MCs really aren’t all that different from the regular greats—if anything, they just might be better, live. Smack URL presented some of the finest MCs in the culture.
Over-top Nas’ “Made You Look” instrumental (spun by DJ Premier), Rain (a/k/a Rain910) in particular stood out. The veteran South Carolina MC channeled the pain, frustration, rapped, “Now picture us hand-in-hand / I shed tears when I see pictures of Sandra Bland / Moment of silence (pause) / No more marching, I’m condoning the violence / And all of the riots! / Scream ‘payback!’ as we clique up and get ’em / Innocent victims / Killed by a menacing system / They might ban my verse for the fact that it wasn’t graphic / To make you act ratchet / Simple mathematics.”
It was Fuquay Varina, North Carolina’s T Top who set things off in this live cypher, with some genuine, no holds barred hustler-rap. He sprinkled self-deprecation in there, from his poverty days to his stripper ex, only adding to the unlikely command. Fans of Beanie Sigel and mixtape Fabolous could certainly appreciate the irritable, strained delivery of the man from the 18,000 population town with a chip on his shoulder and animated delivery.
From the five boroughs, K-Shine and DNA went back-to-back (literally) in a fashion that shows airtight timing and lots of rehearsal. These MCs from Harlem and Queens, New York, respectively, shared the spotlight by finishing each other’s bars in a highly choreographed, uber-confident display of lyrical grit. Along the way, the tandem used rapper names to drive wordplay—from The LOX’s names, to Rick Ross’ legal woes, to Outkast. “This two-on-two shit, the best to do it,” is what the pair left the stage with—boasting evidence as such.
Another Harlem MC, Charlie Clips followed, spitting some deeply charismatic Gangsta Rap. Charlie’s verses toted guns, played on “Empire,” and how he “went from EBT to BET” in his rise. He even spoke to Busta Rhymes—in the crowd—who shows his excitement by the elite crop of battlers—with a salute.
The last verse went to Rain, with an extended display to show why his patience with the industry has only made him tougher, sharper, and more commanding as an MC.
Who stood out most to you of these Battle MCs? Did this cypher give some of the higher-profile stage peers reason to be concerned?