How to Battle Rap

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How to Battle Rap

Many rappers like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z made a name for themselves in the freestyle rapping scene, where they would trade rhymes and lines with other rappers who try to take their groove out of the game.  Battling is an important part of hip-hop culture; the freestyle rapping underground is one of the first places where rap became popular.  Here are some ways that you can start battle rapping.

What is a Battle Rap?

Rap is a genre and style of music where lines of rhyme and self-composed poetry are delivered in a rhythmic way.  In freestyle rapping, rappers keep the lines as free and spontaneous as possible.  Freestyle rappers do not used composed lyrics; instead, they use lines of rhyme and rhythm off the top of their head.

In the rap underground, rappers hang around on a small stage trading freestyle rap lyrics while the crowd cheers them on, or dance to their exchange.  When rap became very popular, rappers started using battle rap to add depth and enjoyment to their concerts.  Battle raps can sometimes be antagonistic exchanges between two rival rappers, or a friendly exchange of rap lyrics to keep the crowd entertained.


The steps to battle rap are simple:

  1. A rapper (sometimes called an MC) belts out a rap line or a series of rap lines cut short.
  2. The opposing rapper will continue the rap.  He or she either continues the rap, or responds to the opponent’s rap lyrics.  Like the first MC, the opposing rapper will belt out a rap line, or cut short a series of rap lines.
  3. The first rapper will then pick off from the rap lines of his or her opponent.  The cycle continues until the beat stops, or when one of the rappers fails to continue the rap.


Battle raps are entertaining because of the ability of good rappers to think of lyrics on the fly.  While many of them make it look easy, battle rapping can be quite complicated and difficult to win.  Here are some tips that can help you be a successful battle rapper.

  • Listen. Rapping is not just a vocal performance, but requires your full concentration and focus.  Good rappers are very good listeners, and pay attention to the idea that the opposing rapper tries to convey.
  • Think on your feet. To one-up your opponent in a battle rap, you have to stay spontaneous.  Many rappers frown upon the idea of using “canned lyrics,” or rap lyrics that have already been made by veterans.  To make your mark on the battle rap scene, it’s very important to keep your raps spontaneous.
  • Keep it real. Rappers rely on their real-life experiences to make rhymes and compose rhythm in battle rap.  Instead of trying to impress the audience, you can use battle raps and freestyle rapping as a way to let out your inner feelings of rage, anger, or if you want to spread a positive message.  Remember that rappers and audiences can see and hear through anything that doesn’t come across as genuine.
For many rappers, battle rapping and freestyling is where the game starts to roll and go steady.  With these steps and tips, you can make your way to any freestyle rapping session and keep it real for everyone in the hood.



  1. djbigphilly said,

    on October 14th, 2011 at 12:26 am

    If your really into battle rap than your love my site