The Curious Case of Battle MCs
The battle MC is an interesting character. While freestyle battles are a good way to get your name out there, more often that not, these rappers don't break much ground. The careers of some of the more recent battle artists have gone nowhere fast - Jin, Poster Boy, Murder Mook, Serius Jones (who I really think just talks, not raps, in his battles)... And did someone win the 106 & Park Freestyle Tournament yet? I stopped watching.
I thought Jin had great potential and while he did make a little splash, "Learn Chinese" didn't exactly top the charts. When he accepted that Ruff Ryders chain on 106, that was pretty much the height of his career. “At the end of the day,” he didn't have the right formula and I'm not sure he was capable of making great songs even with Swizz Beatz production. Sometimes it’s hard for the battle rapper to break out of their tit-for-tat style of rhyming, but there are some success stories. Guys like Cassidy and Eminem (maybe the biggest success story) were able to make it big after breaking in on the underground battling circuit. But it’s hard to find an artist who can diss you and then turn around and make a great radio record and then turn around and also make a solid album.
Serius was signed to Disturbing Tha Peace for a while before that deal fell through. I’m sure the labels just don’t know how to market these guys. The main problem/argument is that just because you can spar on the streets doesn't mean you can make a song with the right arrangements, production, hook, melodies, etc, so many battle rappers tend to be one-trick ponies. Is battling still what it used to be? Can new rappers still break in this way? -clovito