This Saturday, one of battle rap’s biggest stages scales it down for "Back To Baysics 3." For all the high-end production value that’s thrust batting on to mainstream stages never before seen, these Back to Basics events have allowed for fans old and new to be reminded of what made battle rap such an intriguing medium: incredibly written and impeccably delivered competitive rhyme performances. That’s why we’re looking back at one of these early spectacular stripped-down battles — Dirtbag Dan vs. F.L.O.
This 2008 clash from "Battle Of The Bay 2" at Oakland's Mosswood Park may be new to some as, not only is it not one of Dan or F.L.O.’s most known battles, but it’s probably not even one of the Top 5 most famous battles from that day. Still, the consistency of this undercard battle is a strong reminder why that early Grind Time West wave was so infectious.
Grind Time’s rollout on YouTube was unprecedented. It was the most accessible distribution system that battling had ever had, coupled with a sudden spike of interest, resulting in a global audience for talent looking to make their names. Given that searching the term “rap battle” still produced less than two dozen pages of results at the time, there wasn’t really a huge discrepancy between which match-ups were being checked for since, thanks to the insatiable thirst of fans, the idea of even getting a new battle each week on a regular basis was revolutionary and something to look forward to. Everything got watched, at least once.
Still, this was a time when freestyle battles over beats were still popular (albeit waning), as was the 2-on-2 a cappella format. For these crowds, a battle like Dan vs. F.L.O. would go a long way because, not only would their faux-stream-of-consciousness delivery simulate that spontaneity, but their particular deliveries led to an overabundance of great lines without a whole lot of downtime. Again, while the two would still have bigger moments to come, the quality of an undercard bout like Dan and F.L.O. had here would do wonders for the sturdy foundation that the modern battling scene was establishing at that time.
Every Thursday, BattleRap.com posts a classic battle that you should know about, or at least be reminded of occasionally. See them all here.