Over the past couple of days I’ve been watching various rap battles on YouTube. They’ve all been sponsored by SMACK/URL and held in theaters. They’ve all been very theatrical. Very exaggerated movements; monologue type deliveries; props; etc. This isn’t something I’m used to. It’s normal for rappers to be animated when reciting their verses but this went past anything that I’d consider regular (and I say this as someone who has watched, listened to, and participated in countless battles). It got me wondering whether or not the venue had anything to do with the delivery. Did being in a big theater make the rappers perform like stage players rather than battle rappers?
Take the recent battle between Iron Solomon and Murda Mook. Iron Solomon rapped his verses with a delivery that we’d expect to hear if he was recording in the studio. That was a bit unusual for a battle as well (usually the cadence is slowed so that the words can be emphasized and easily understood); but he was rapping nonetheless. But Murda Mook seemed like he was putting on a one man stage show. What I find so interesting is that there was another video of Mook reciting parts of his verses for Beanie Sigel in a hotel room away from the theater and he actually rapped them. He didn’t perform at all like he did in the theater. So was it the stage that made him act different? I don’t know. But it’s something I’m going to continue to ponder.