For those of you who are unfamiliar with Battle Rap, it is a sport played only by the bravest of contestants. I often compare it to boxing; because its about respect, how many times you can get knocked down and get back up and more often enough its not how many punches you throw, its how hard they hit. A battle rapper must tend to a crowd that thirsts for entertainment, bars, rhyme schemes, intricate wordplay and the occasional off-the-top freestyle. It can be as amusing as it can be vicious, leaving the crowds in tears of laughter or in a shock of disbelief.
Don’t Flop, the UK’s most popular battle rap league hosted by Eurgh (Rowan Faife), Bamalam (Joell Wattz), and filmed by Liam Bagnall have all been apart of the culture for an exceedingly long period of time now and are always looking for the next Don’t Flop champion.
The rise of Kid Verbal:
One new contestant, Kid Verbal (Jack Lapsley) has taken the scene by storm; with only three battles under his belt, he’s already proven himself to be one of Don’t flops most lyrically outstanding contenders.
He claims to have been a fan of battle rap before joining Don’t Flop, and had been rapping for five years but told me ‘I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember but I only started taking it (rapping) seriously when I was in year ten’.
In his first ever battle back in December 2014; he had unfortunately lost under a judging decision of 2-1. The judges said a flip (freestyle) from Heretic (his first opponent) edged the win, however, Verbal did not disappoint.
Despite the loss he had solidified a spot in Don’t Flop as head host, Eurgh, invited him back for his second battle.
I spoke to KV after as he described the experience to being incredibly different to anything he had ever done before. ‘I’ve performed before at festivals and things like that, and usually you’d expect performing in front of a thousand people to be a lot scarier’ he explained, ‘but no, this is so much more nerve racking because everybody is just there, in your face, and they’ve all come for the same thing’.
So after months of prepping and hard work, Verbal made his return to The Fiddlers Elbow to, once again, cater to a crowd which was eager for bars.
This time Verbal had the upper hand, proving himself to be witty and a very quick learner. Verbal has recently become known for notoriously wearing his hood up in every battle, which Hennessy believed would be a clever angle to use against Verbal by comparing him to ‘Gollum in a hood’. The crowd reacted with fits of laughter but KV didn’t hold back as he flipped the line and compared himself, in his words to ‘the lord of this ring’.
Kid breezed through this battle and made light work of his opponent. Winning the battle 3-0, which battle rappers often refer too as a ‘body bag’.
He had shown that his first battle was only a learning curb in his path of destruction.
Kid Verbal (right) battling Hennessy (Left)
It’s just the beginning:
So what’s next for Kid Verbal? We can only predict more bars and schemes, but bigger venues and harder and more experience opponents. So far he’s been confirmed for at least 5 more battles, which is incredibly generous to give to a newcomer. He’s the name tearing through Battle Rap and is getting increasingly popular. His future in battle rap is as bright as his bars are dark, and in every battle he performs in he plans on taking no prisoners.
By Alex Bartlett - Twivey