Mos Def Wants To Battle Jay-Z in the Future

Friday, June 12, 2009

Usually when any Rapper challenges any of the Hip Hop elite to a Rap battle, Hip Hop fans have the tendency to be suspicious. Today, Rappers are suspected of having ulterior motives at amounting such a daunting challenge such as promoting an album, gaining more publicity and attention that otherwise they could not attain on their own, or just being plain stupid and naive for believing that they possess the skills to go up against Jay-Z, Nas, or Eminem. Few, if any, of these challenges ever becomes a reality. No longer is an arrangement made between competing crews to square off lyrically in a park, off in the street corner, or even showcasing their skills on wax to prove themselves to the public and be victorious in their claims.

For the younger generation too young to remember, the last epic Hip Hop battle between rhyme legends, Jay-Z and Nas, happened back in 2001. Although there have been plenty of Rap battles since 2001 such as 50 Cent vs. Ja-Rule, Joe Buddens vs. Saigon, Soulja Boy vs. Bow Wow, and Rick Ross vs. 50 Cent, none of those battle have been recognized for lyrical content. All of these "beefs" were not taken seriously and were seen as attempts to gain publicity.

In March, Mos Def was recorded in a video saying that he could beat Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and any other rapper who wanted to participated in a propose Rap battle. Although this fierce declaration by the Mighty Mos Def didn't catch any media attention a couple of months ago, his interview re-asserting his position with a Angie Martinez interview this past week has caught Hip Hop fans imaginations.

As a fan of Hip Hop, I have always encouraged Rap battles to settle any discussion on whose skills are superior rather than the today's trend to become violent if someone calls out your name, call someone a hater, or cowardly say that you're not a battle rapper. A few years ago, there was a proposed Rap Battle between 50 Cent, the Game, Jadakiss, and Fat Joe to settle their differences, a one million dollar purse for the winner, and Don King as the promoter. Nothing came of it and I was left disappointed not only for the fact that I would see the greatest Hip Hop event, but it started the trend of rappers being afraid to compete a front of a crowd.

So how does Mos Def suppose the Rap battle should go down? Believe it or not, it's for a good cause and showcasing what was once a sacred part of Hip Hop Culture. He would like to organize "Battle for New Orleans" which would consist of a Marching Band battle between Grambling and Morgan State, breakers from Korea vs. France, a beat battle between Kanye West and Swizz Beats, DJ battle between Kid Cupri and Biz Markie, and finally a Rap Battle between Team Mos vs. Team Jay-Z. Mos Def's "Dream Team" would be Rappers MF DOOM, Jay Electronica, Black Thought and Nas verse Jay-Z, Kanye West, and any other rappers they enlist. The proceeds will divided between the City of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina Relief fund and half will go to the winning team.

Mos Def was disturbed by the trend by rappers or magazines to declare "Who's the Greatest MC" without any demonstration of their skill. Although these can be seen as opinions by others, not to be taken seriously, Hip Hop is a unique musical artform in which one's skills can be proven lyrically and settle by cheers and jeers of a crowd in attendance. When today's Hip Hop fans declare Lil Wayne,Kanye West, and Jay-Z to be greatest Rapper alive, older Hip Hop heads become angry and disturbed that rappers like Rakim,referred as the "God MC", Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, and KRS-One are not mentioned. After seeing the controversy surrounding "Vibe's The Best Rapper Ever" and reactions by rappers such as Joe Buddens, I'm glad to see Rappers who pride themselves based upon their skill, lyrical content, and ability demand a return to battling.

Although I'm reflecting upon what Joe Buddens expressed, I believe no Hip Hop fan should argue and declare a Rapper great or "greatest Rapper alive" without a discussion on lyrical content or ability. No Hip Hop fan should accept a Rapper being a hater if he goes up against any one in Hip Hop; his or her skills should be tested, proven, and a battle should be organized. And lastly, no Hip Hop fan should accept the reluctance of any Rapper not to prove their skills in what is a friendly competition.

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