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How to battle rap like a pro

Updated on July 7, 2015

For those who are insecure of their rapping, you've clicked on the right article. If you have no idea how to battle rap or want to improve, i'll give you a few tips on how to get better at battle rap followed by a guide divided into several segments a) Disses b) Rebuttals c) Personals d) Punchlines.

There should be a specific order of bars on disses, rebuttals, bragging, and personals – no more, no less. Never write 25 bars on rebuttals and only 5 on disses. There must be a balance.


Write write write!

Freestyle whatever comes to mind. Write whatever ideas you have. Write lyrics on a daily basis. Don't worry about how silly they are. Get comfortable enough to rap. Keep a pen and paper with you at all times because you'll never know when a new idea comes up.

Don't write generic bars:

The mistake people make is making immature lines like “you suck! No luck!” Writing disses like that could apply to anyone. There's no power to it. There's no creativity or punchlines. To be a great battle rapper, you must make hard-hitting disses. Write about disses that only apply to your opponent. If they have OCD, make disses on their OCD. If they're obese, make fun of their obesity.

Don't try too hard – Keep it simple:

Don't write too many complex lyrics. Rap is spoken poetry so your bars should be short and simple but powerful. Let it all flow naturally in your lyrics rather than forcing it.

Be creative!

Battle rap is defined by creative lyrics not by mere dissing. Make sure that your bars aren't plain boring. Include many different types of literary devices such as wordplay, alliteration, slant rhymes, multis, internal rhymes, and more.

Be original!

Avoid cliche bars that everyone has already heard of. You'll want to write freshly new bars that will make history. Your goal should be to target subject matter where your lyrical talent can shine.

Don't write filler words:

A mistake people make is writing filler bars for the sake of “filling up” their rounds. Never make this mistake. If you dislike your bars, go back and re-write them. Your bars should be strong and solid, not weak for the sake of ending the battle.

Watch or read rap battles:

Study other battle rappers. Look up battle leagues like Ahat, Smack URL, KOTD, No coast battles, Don't flop, etc. Watch how they battle and what verses they use. Watch their tone of voice and attitude. Learn from them.

Use popular current events:

Don't reference things that most people aren't aware of. Focus on things that everyone most likely knows like Obama's election, the Holocaust, Eminem, etc. If you can't think of anything, just stick to simple bars on guns, nature, or fighting.

Battle verse creation:

a) Disses – Your disses should pack a punch and knock your opponent out. The 1st step is to observe them. What are they wearing? What do they look like? How do they act? How do they walk? Jot down a couple of notes if you must. Once you thought about this, think of something insulting. Exaggerate while applying your lyrical creativity.

My favorite example of a diss was when Mr. Biscuit battled Manipheste Destne. Biscuit dissed him by saying that the dark circles around his eyes sexually attract pandas.

“..Yo rap is corny, your battles bore me, you can't ignore me/The rings around your eyes make pandas horny!

b) Rebuttals – What to do when your opponent gave you some hard burns? Stay calm and think of rebuttals. Rebuttals are come backs to disses that your opponent has thrown at you. They can either make or break your career. Make sure your rebuttals turn the tide of battle in your favor.

I'll illustrate what strong rebuttals look like with an example. In a battle between Mr. Biscuit and Iron Mic, Biscuit responded with the following:

“ You keep dissin my religion let me school you on the God game/ Why Biggie rocked a Jesus piece and Tu Pac had a cross chain/Dyin for your homies is an ancient Christian model/ so Jesus invented the street rule you rappers forget to follow/ Some prophets were hypocritical, Jesus said no switchin/ Judas sold him out for silver, the lesson was no snitchin/ So rappers wear Jesus pieces and usually don't diss him/ But you have no wisdom your sorta like a deaf child because when a G speaks you just won't listen..”

It was powerful because a) It gave a direct response b) It dissed him by saying that c) On top of that, Biscuit explained how Christianity “schooled” rappers like how to be a real “gangster.”

Your rebuttals should have a) A direct response to a diss b) Admit and/or explain how your opponent is worse than you are.

c) Personals – Personals are disses on your opponent's personal life. Personals are perhaps the most devastating type of battle verses. To create a personal, do your research on your opponent. Find something humiliating and very personal about them. Ask people about details you could use for your battle. Look up their social media profiles and any information you can get your hands on.

An example of a personal diss is in Charron vs. The Saurus. Where Charron targeted his son.

d) Punchlines – Punchlines are generally two bars with the last one having a greatest impact. They should be powerful and memorable. They can be straightforward but they must satisfy one or two conditions 1) They must be Truthful 2) They must be hard-hitting. A few examples include Uno Lavoz vs. Kid Twist and Hindu Rock vs. Isaac Knox

Uno Lavoz vs. Kid Twist:

“Grind Time is now officially the world's greatest battle league because they kicked you the fu** out!”

It's true because Uno Lavoz was kicked out of Grind Time for doing too many jokes over bars.

Hindu Rock vs. Isaac Knox:

“I wish Christ didn't have to die for these b*tches!”

A few final words:

My final tip to you is - don't give up. You are going to make alot of mistakes. You are going to get booed off stage. That is simply a process of life and it's nothing you should be ashamed of. Even the most successful rappers like Eminem admit that they didn't start off being great. The most important thing is motivation and a willingness to learn. Go over your verses and figure out what your doing right or wrong. Challenge yourself to reach new levels. Be motivated to learn from your experiences battle rapping. Eventually with hard work and persistence – you will battle rap like a pro.

Which battle did you like best?

See results


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