Today, Dec. 15, is the 32nd birthday of Harlem battle rap legend Murda Mook. Born John Acrum, Murda first got acquainted with the rap battle scene in 2003 when he went up against fellow Harlemite Jae Millz in a showdown that fans of the sport still talk about today. Murda Mook began to gain more notoriety for his skills and was signed to Ruff Ryders Entertainment in 2008, effectively crossing over to mainstream for a period of time.

Some of Murda's most famous battles include an eight-round bout with Loaded Lux in 2007, the 2010 battle with Serius Jones and going head-to-head with Iron Solomon at the 2012 Smack/URL Summer Madness 2 event. Mook broke down the origins of battle rap and where it fits in with today's hip-hop during an interview with XXL this past spring.

"Battle rap was the first thing ever done in hip-hop, as far as the part of knowing how to rap," explained Mook. "I didn’t just start this, battle rap was long before me — 1970s, 1980s, they would crack jokes but it would be in rapping form. The word “traditional MC” is really a battle rapper. I think the proper tone now would be, I guess, reformed or new age MC because it’s nothing traditional about what’s going on now, as far as making hit radio records or things of that nature."

With nearly 20 years in the game, the rap battle pillar has worked with the likes of DMX, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Q-Tip and more. Drake even challenged him to a battle back in 2014, although fans are still waiting for that showdown.

Happy Birthday, Murda Mook!

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