Battle of the Lyrics – a short tribute to Old School Hip-Hop

YOU’RE UP! It’s your time to shine. Take a deep breath and let the lyrics flow from the depths within you. The first flow of lyrics comes out of your mouth smooth … just how you’d planned … no need to rush. The crowd start nodding their heads in approval. The second flow of lyrics flying off your tongue are hard and dirty. You planned it that way … start off smooth then hit it hard and dirty. The crowd start to cheer whilst bobbing their heads to the lyrics you are flinging back at your opponent. Someone in the crowd starts Beatboxing. Spurred on by the deep bass beatbox, the third flow of  lyrics comes spewing out your mouth. You feel droplets of sweat running down your back as you relentlessly fired out harder and dirtier lyrics. The lyrics are personal … his mum gets mentioned and his lack of lyrical skills are highlighted during your assault. The crowd laugh, the beatbox continues and your opponent is rooted to the concrete speechless and bewildered. The Freestyle Battle. The battle is only for the brave. Your opponent paid the price for slack, loose lyrics. His delivery was poor, his lyrics were the same ones he’d used previously and now he’s standing there rooted to the spot, sweating … looking like a beaten down punk.

You heard that a guy from Def Jam Records was in the crowd. You hoped you impressed. Freestyle battling on the street is good but that ain’t gonna put food on the table. You’re young and hungry … you want to be snapped up by one of the big record labels. You go home and fling Critical Beatdown on the turntable. You inhale Kool Keith’s lyrics whilst kicking back with a fat one rolled up. The track ‘Ego Trippin’ comes pounding out the speakers … your favourite track. You bob your head whist continuing to inhale Kool Keith’s tight flow.




Flick through the record collection … JVC Force … you consider it but tonights not the night to do damage. BDP … maybe but KRS One is maybe a bit too full on right now. Ice T … not quite right for tonight but this cold rapper is living proof that rhyme certainly pays. Public Enemy … Chuck is cool but tonight it’s a no to Yo Bum Rush the Show. Just-Ice is a strong contender … Kool and Deadly is raw and dirty … maybe that’s what’s needed to get in shape for the next freestyle battle. Flick through some more … Run DMC, EPMD, LL Cool J, Doug E Fresh, Stetsasonic, Steady B, NWA, Mantronix … yes Mantronix! No rhymes just beats for tonight as King of the Beats pounds out of the speakers. It’s a good choice … the right choice … a break and much needed rest from the lyric slinging.




The sun slowly goes down. You stare out the window blurry eyed and consider what tomorrow will bring. Who’s up next in the freestyle battle? Will you get that call from the record company? Today was a good day … you won the crowd and kept things tight … but tomorrow is another day and things can flip … one day untouchable but the next day verbally slapped down in the freestyle concrete jungle. Still you know the battle must go on … the stakes are high. You feel your eyes shutting. Mantronix is no longer pounding out the speakers. All is silent. A smile appears on your face as you mentally rewind to the earlier battle. It was a good day.