Is Raptor Next In Line For The Don't Flop Title?

A look at Raptor's "Sunburn 2" clash with ex-Don't Flop champion Tony D.

Tony D got a big reaction at Don't Flop's "Sunburn 2" for the opening bar of his headline clash against Raptor. “You think you can win?” he asks, smirking dismissively. As the crowd laughs, and Tony turns away in mock disbelief, Raptor remains rooted to the spot, seeming to stare through the former champion, and all but imperceptibly nodding his head. To him, the answer to Tony’s question is a simple "yes."

By the end of a closely-fought battle that many are calling better than Tone’s much-vaunted clash against Shotty Horroh, Raptor has arguably done enough to eke out a victory, honing the breathless aggression which typifies his style into a scathing attack on the hollow foundations of Tony’s reputation. In answering the questions hanging over his ability to take on the former champ, Raptor explicitly asks another — is it time that he got a shot at the Don’t Flop title?

Raptor vs. Big Kannon.

Beating the quasi-retired Tony does not necessarily mean that Raptor is ready, any more than Chris Leese (arguably) overpowering Soul in a battle where the title wasn't on the line means that Leese should be considered the true DF champion. Tony set aside the title in part so that he could relax even further into battles, and even with far less to prove than Raptor he was nearly too much for the younger rapper, lazily launching haymakers into a highly receptive crowd. (For me, a standout bar of the battle was Tone’s suggestion that Raptor called his mixtape Nil by Mouth because he subsists solely by snorting lines of coke).

Raptor spends a lot of the battle going in on Tony’s resume, suggesting that he never beat a high enough calibre of opponent to be considered a worthy champion. But as the DF staff discuss who to set against Soul in the next title match, it is Raptor’s own CV which may give them pause for thought. He had some huge performances as a newcomer in 2014, and his clash with Big Kannon was a classic, with both emcees effortlessly modulating their style and intensity, but its postponement contributed to a situation where Raptor has only battled in two solo clashes for DF this year.

In the same space of time, he has dropped a decent but ultimately unremarkable series of battles on Words are Weapons, Dotz and Westwood’s impressive Crib Clashes series, Youthoracle’s vaguely amateurish Clash Money and the deservingly obscure Oil City Battles of Norway. A clear win over a vet (Unanymous?) or an international (Rum Nitty?) on a DF platform would solidify Raptor’s claim to the chain.

Raptor rapping at Villin. Photo by Rob Clayton for Don't Flop.
Raptor rapping at Villun at MCRvsLDN. Photo by Rob Clayton for Don't Flop.

That being said, it is typical of Raptor’s combative approach to the game that he would go into a battle with a universally-respected former champion and spend a large part of his first round taking shots at the current titleholder. He clearly feels he is ready, delivering devastatingly powerful bars comparing Soul’s bookishness to his own street-sharpened intelligence with absolute conviction. These bars bear up under the weight of the intensity Raptor has brought to DF since he returned to the scene in 2014, snarling with frustration at his own once-frequent chokes and barrelling kinetically past a string of opponents.

Soul has pronounced himself ready for a clash against Raptor, and the Mancunian emcee is undeniably possessed of an utter self-belief which could carry him past the sometimes inhibited champion.

All that considered, there are still lots of options for the next challenger to Soul's throne, with Dialect, Ogmios, Shuffle-T, Gemini, Quill and perhaps even an international opponent all within varying ranges of the target. Raptor is in the ascendent right now though, and if his title shot doesn’t come at 7BW at this rate it will surely be on the cards for 2016.

This battle is available for purchase individually or as part of the whole event. Get the PPV here.

Do you think Raptor is ready for a title shot? If not him, then who should get it? Let us know in the comments below.