TRCH Blood Brothers

Youthoracle on Clash Money's Battle Rap Rebellion

17 March 15 words: Bridie Squires
Nottingham's battle rapping boss has started up his own league of foul-mouthed rhymers. The first event is at The Irish Centre this Saturday

What do you think to the battle rap scene at the minute?
It’s going more international, with a lot of British battlers going abroad. There’s quite a young audience a lot of the time. You’ve always got your older viewers who get bored of it and stop watching battles, but there’s always new, young teenagers who’re watching it.

Do battlers ever take that younger audience into consideration?
No. I’ve been surprised to see 14+ events before. You think about the art, not about making it toned down for kids.

What’s gonna be going off at Rebellion?
There’s gonna be Earlybird on the MPC throughout the day, DJs Curtz, Kaid and Grimaz from Rubberdub. In between all the battles, leading up to the main event (me and Blizzard) there’s gonna be ten, twenty minutes in between where there’s Stan, Gino, Jah Digga, 1st Blood, Garton, and loads more - they’ll be doing tracks from their new music. All the people I’ve booked are a mix between current artists and old-school people. We want to cater for everyone. 

What format and genre is everything going to take?
I left it up to everybody. Every person I approached about battling, I asked who they wanted to battle, suggested a few battles, then it all came together and I was like “Do what you want.” Some people are doing one round a capella, one round on beat, one round on hip hop, one round on grime. I’ve not seen that done anywhere else.

Good idea. Why have you decided to set up your own battle rap league after Don’t Flop?
Mainly because I want to make some money out of it. I love it, I’ve been doing it for years now, and I’ve got to a point where I think I should earn quite a bit of money out of it. I'd like to see other battlers get to a level where they’re getting people through the door at an event as well as online interest, and I'd like to be able to pay people a nice amount of money at the end of it.

What are gonna be the main differences between Rebellion and Don't Flop?
I would not know until the day. I really don't know what the vibe's gonna be like because it depends on the crowd and on what the battlers have gone for in terms of their style. There's a lot of funny battles in there with proper serious ones too. Me and Blizzard will be really light-hearted I think.

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Is there room for the format of battle rapping?
I think it could go so far. There's a lot of stuff I want to do but I want to keep it under wraps for now. For Clash Money, we're looking to implement an interactive website with a focus on battlers seeing how much they can make. But that's all stuff for the future.

What advice would you give to people who wanted to start battling?
If you wanna battle, you just gotta write your lyrics or, if it's a freestyle battle, get your freestyle practice in. Just go for it. Don't be nervous. Just have a go.

Would you freestyle on your own in your room or with a group of mates?
My main strength isn't freestyling, I'm more of a writer. I do freestyle but it's mainly vulgar stuff when I'm pissed up. It's always just dead wrong. For an a capella battle, I'm constantly thinking about it, sticking lyrics in the notes in my phone and then piecing them together.

You're big on alliteration...
I'm stopping that now.

Cos you get ripped for it?
Nah, I did get ripped for it for a bit but loads of people were asking me to still do it and I decided I'd do the last one in Notts, say that alliteration's aimless and just leave it at that.

How are you juggling everything? Music, Titheadz, and now this...
I do about two Titheadz a day, they take about three hours. Clash Money has a team running it so loads of people are helping out. The team at the moment is Brynside on promo, The FTS on graphic design and clothing, you've got Curtz on animation, Adam Liddle, Greg Lonsdale, Tom Comery, Kash, Roach, Toby Curson, Jake Greenhill along with a lot of other people willing to help, the support has been amazing. So, to be honest, I do get time to do Titheadz. On top of that, Clash Money have been recording a mockumentary at the moment where I've quit battle rap, I'm bitter and depressed, and I've just been drawing on tits for fucking ages, not far from the truth really.

You quit your day job didn't you?
I quit last year, about November. I don't look like this because I've quit my day job though - I've let my hair grow for the mockumentary. On Thursday I'm gonna get a shave.

What are the new battlers like?
They're mainly from Nottingham. Benji-Smedz can freestyle really well, and I know that Kwame can too - he’s wanted a battle for ages. It’s a perfect match. Benji-Smedz was meant to battle at Hockley Hustle but the guy didn't turn up so he was pissed. He'll be hungry for it. Ty Healy vs Karizma - they've both battled already so I'm buzzing for that. Spitz Semis, he used to battle in Jump Off and won UK Takeover once, he's battling a Don't Flop battler called Two-Can.

Anything else you want to say?
Rebellion is just one of four. I'd like to do four this year, and there will be loads of little events in between. We're aiming to do events beyond Nottingham too, one a month. I've already set up two or three other events.

Clash Money presents Rebellion at The Irish Centre on Saturday 21 March at 12pm until 8pm, tickets are £15.

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