“You wanna battle?”

Lakers vs. Celtics. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Ohio State vs. Michigan. Mention these teams in the same sentence and you're bound to get people excited. These rivalries generate a certain buzz and draw extreme levels of passion out of their fans. A couple of months ago, the NBA finals between the Lakers and Celtics was the most watched finals since the Jordan era. It's safe to say that a battle between rivals creates excitement.

The real reason why hip-hop has become so stale is because the passion is gone. People just make music to make money. I’m pretty sure T.I didn’t make “Whatever You Like” and say, "This song is really going to impress my peers." Nobody is trying to show that they're better on the mic than somebody else. The only way to put the passion back into music, and hip-hop more specifically, is for artists to start battling!

Hip-hop could have gotten very interesting a few months back. Game went on a tirade concert after concert screaming obscenities at Jay-Z. Fans joined in his anti-Jay-Z chants. Now call me crazy, but could you ever imagine somebody doing that to 2Pac? I’d bet my life savings (which isn’t much) that 2Pac would respond. Everybody always reminisces about the 90’s and the good ol' days in rap. It's because rappers were competitive and wouldn't let you play them for a punk. “Oh, Jay shouldn’t respond; he's bigger and better than Game.” Are you kidding me? His verses on “Run This Town” were about as lackluster as it gets. A battle with Game surely would've made Hova step it up a little.

Eminem just recently confessed that he almost dissed Kanye West and Lil Wayne. I say go for it. Imagine the best-selling rapper of all time battling the most popular rapper of today. I’m positive a battle of that magnitude would have millions interested. Eminem spends a lot of time on Recovery saying how nobody will step to him or challenge him. Mr. Shady, I don’t see you exactly lighting MC up on record. This guy made his way into the game by battling. His biggest battles were with Benzino, Fred Durst and Ja Rule.

Seriously... Benzino.

Maybe beating Wayne in a battle would finally get you the respect you complain about never receiving. Oh, no! If he battled Wayne we would have never heard the classic collaboration that is “No Love(sarcasm).

I’m calling out all rappers. Make us excited again. Make us debate for hours who had the better diss record. Please, no more talk about record sales. I don’t care if you sell more records than Michael Jackson. Prove to me you're better than someone. Let me hear you actually prove on record that you're better. Make us call into radio stations and buy magazine covers again. Make us pick sides. Most importantly, make us, the fans, care again. I’m not calling for full-out warfare and for people to get violent; just show us why you're the best.

Nas once said, “Everybody sound the same/Commercialized the game/Reminiscing when it wasn’t all business.” I couldn't put it any better. Bring the passion back and try to be the best at what you do. If you have to step on a few toes and hurt some feelings to do it, please do. We will be very grateful. —Evan F. Lancia