VTHH: Approximately how many gun hands have you had waved in your face, at this point in your career? Does that ever get old, or is it just as much fun, every time?
Memo: Shit, probably hundreds at this point.. And yeah it does get old, but not usually with my opponents. The great thing about this form of battle rap is that you typically get paired against opponents that make sense to battle you. If you watch URL, dudes are pullin’ out imaginary guns left and right, but luckily I usually get paired against fellow scrawny white dudes for the most part, so I’m usually safe from these violent gun hands you speak of.
But nah, in reality, gun bars are awesome if they’re done right and not abused. I pull them out in a satirical manner quite a bit to be honest. There’s just so many good slangs for guns that can be flipped in so many different ways (ratchets, hawks, eagles, cans, biscuits, etc.) Also, one of the greatest parts about battle rap is that people can rap for 20 minutes straight about shooting each other with every type of gun imaginable but end up sharing a drink and spliff right after the battle ends. Out of the hundreds of thousands of “written” battles that have ever taken place around the world, there has never been an actual gun pulled out in a battle (that I know of) and there’s maybe a handful or less cases of hands being thrown – (See Dizaster vs Math Hoffa).
The best part about written battle rap that a lot of new people to the culture don’t understand, is that wins/losses don’t really matter, aside from the occasional inner-league title matches. In a regular battle, you actually want your opponent to do well so that the footage has better replay value. A lot of people don’t even write personal bars, and treat the sport as a competition of who has the better “bars”. I personally always try to get under my opponents skin, but you better believe I’m shaking their hand and buying them a beer after the battle..
VTHH: Do you think the proliferation of battle leagues is a good thing for the scene or does it over-saturate the fanbase?
Memo: I think it’s good for the culture to a certain degree, but can cause some friction on a local level. Obviously in theory, the more leagues there are, the more opportunity for new talent to be seen. At the same time though, it does make it harder for the big leagues (KOTD/GZ and URL) to find talent as there are so many damn leagues to study and pick from. Luckily, I battle for 413 battle league who is the longest running and probably the most respected league in MA. Shoutout TD3 and Vorheez!
When I first moved to Mass a few years ago, there were probably about 40-50 known battlers on the scene that would get cycled around 3-4 different leagues. Now there’s at least 10 New England leagues with a few hundred battlers in the scene. Unfortunately about 90% of them are trash.. Anyway, all in all, having more leagues creates more competition and helps grow the sport and spread awareness so I’m all about it.
But there’s no question that it also creates drama within a particular region. For instance, you’ll often see leagues that are right down the road from each other purposely throwing events the same night in spite of each other, or leagues claiming battlers as their own roster members when they were brought up and groomed by another local competing league, and the list goes on. That’s definitely the one thing that I don’t like about battle rap, is the unnecessary drama and politics…but I guess you have that in all facets of life these days.
And yeah, to the second part of your question, there are now so many leagues releasing footage that it’s hard for some people to know which battles to watch. Luckily the real ones know what leagues and battlers to look out for, but if I was just getting in to the sport now, I wouldn’t know where to start. To all new fans though, start with KOTD/URL, any battles with Pat Stay, Rone, Illmaculate, B Magic, Chilla Jones, Danny Meyers, Pass, Charon and Carter Deems to name a few.. And that dude Memo from VT is fire too. Check out his battles with Laugh-N-Stalk, Uno Lavos, CJA, Colly C, T Sawyer and Blackademiks.