The Top Rap Battles From September

Featuring Mike P vs. Daylyt, and battles from King Of The Dot, Bullpen Battle League, Don't Flop and more.

In case you hadn't noticed, September was a fairly unusual month for battle rap releases. The big leagues were relatively quiet, especially URL, but smaller platforms picked up the slack. Fans are still clamoring for the rest of URL's "Born Legacy 3" battles (and the anticipation was only increased by the post-event trailer), but there's plenty of lower-profile material to tide them over in the meantime, along with a few hits from King Of The Dot, Don't Flop, and the ever-expanding Bullpen Battle League.

Mike P vs. Daylyt

Who: Mike P (Long Island, N.Y.) vs. Daylyt (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 3" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Aug. 28, 2016

Despite some odd audio editing, Daylyt's near-classic URL debut has mostly lived up to expectations since its YouTube release. Surprisingly though, it's really not all about Daylyt. Although the vast majority of fans gave him the win in the building, the results are now much more split, with many edging it to Mike P. Regardless of how you call it, this is an explosive back-and-forth, making it pretty much a win/win situation.

Although the audio (which fades rather abruptly in and out with crowd reaction) makes it less obvious, Day had the room going crazy. Some fans actually gave him Round 1 in the building, even though on cam it goes decisively to Mike P. With the slight exception of his first round, the constancy of Day's hidden punchlines and wordplay was enough to keep the crowd in hysterics throughout the battle. He clearly put an enormous amount of effort into these rounds, declaring his alleged invention of the PGs, using Mike's last name (Pulice) to discuss racial inequality, and expertly flipping Mike's now-famous "Street Fighter" scheme.

Even if you find Day's performance more impressive overall, you might still find Mike's rounds more re-watchable, or at least more quotable. Simply put, he was rapping his ass off, with projection that far exceeded Day's (even when not muffled by the ski mask). His tightly structured, aggressive patterns may have overshadowed his more personal content, but Mike was talking to Day from the gate (e.g. "welcome to your first battle that counts"). Though clearly outdone in Round 2, he easily took the first and arguably the third, depending on your preference between wordplay and personal angles.

Obviously, Mike is in a good spot as a URL sophomore, and we can likely expect to see Day on URL again soon. Let's hope both can maintain this momentum.

JC vs. Pass

Who: JC (Pontiac, Mich.) vs. Pass (Oakland, Calif.)
Where: BBG's "The ReUp" in Detroit, Mich.
When: July 30, 2016

Pass almost always puts on a show whether he's on the West Coast or on the road, and JC is hands down one of the most consistent battle rappers of all time (yeah I said it), so it's really no surprise that this turned out to be a goodie. It probably helped too that Pass' last couple showings haven't been spectacular, and he looked extra motivated to bring it here.

The Detroit crowd was receptive to both emcees, and its consistently high energy does a lot for this style clash. JC does seem to have some hometown advantage, which could come through a better understanding of how to play to the home crowd. Pass' Maserati Rick line though ... there was no denying. Even JC bursts into applause after Pass delivers it.

This battle is debatable, with the case for a JC win being the sheer amount of consistent material, which contains approximately zero lines that might be considered "filler." Pass certainly didn't have any lazy moments, and he was actually a lot more adventurous with his content, joking, rebuttaling, and performing with considerably more energy.

Whoever you have taking it, you'll likely find many people who'll back your side.

The Rise Of Bullpen

Over the last several months, John John Da Don's Bullpen Battle League has become the premiere platform in the South, pretty decisively too. The amount of budding homegrown talent and on-par performances from vets have fueled this success remarkably quickly, and the momentum only seems to be growing. The league released a whopping six battles in September, all of which were solid. Of those six, we're highlighting three:

Loso vs. Xcel

Who: Xcel (Brockton, Mass.) vs. Loso (Tampa, Fla.)
Where: BullPen Battle League's "Fade" in Atlanta, Ga.
When: July 17, 2016

To anyone even remotely familiar with these two, this was essentially a guaranteed slugfest. Loso is clearly one of John John's top gunners at this point (if not the top) and Xcel never slacks, regardless of his opponent's status. Xcel had a rough patch of high-profile but under-prepared performances a while back, and it really seemed to snap him into a different zone. He's been locked in every battle since then, and that's really no different here (his third is absolutely ridiculous). Still, most edged this to Loso, who was hungry as ever and probably took the first two rounds.

DNA vs. Chef Trez

Who: DNA (Queens, N.Y.) vs. Chef Trez (Atlanta, Ga.)
Where: BullPen Battle League's "Fade" in Atlanta, Ga.
When: July 17, 2016

This battle had a ton of hype around it before its release, and it mostly delivered. In particular, Chef Trez's "Mexican/Puerto Rican" rebuttal drew more buzz than any other freestyle in recent memory. With a performance infested with room-shaking punches like that one, most fans edged him the W, but DNA is consistent as always.

Cortez vs. Riggz

Who: Cortez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) vs. Riggz (Raleigh, N.C.)
Where: BullPen Battle League's "Fade 2016" in Atlanta, Ga.
When: July 17, 2016

As he so often does, Cortez gave a (deserved) shot and took it just as seriously as he would any other battle. This one is razor-close and ultimately comes down to preference, but both sides have plenty to offer. Riggz performs with a ton of energy and aggression, and you already know the caliber of wordplay to expect from Cor if you're a fan.

Big T vs. Head I.C.E

Who: Head I.C.E (Harlem, N.Y.) vs. Big T (Chicago, Ill.)
Where: KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Aug. 27, 2016

These two have both become KOTD mainstays, and although the crowd is a bit quieter than usual, this relatively lighthearted battle goes off just about how you'd expect it to. Head I.C.E is particularly at home on KOTD at this point, and he couldn't be more comfortable on the stage. Big T, on the other hand, takes a while to heat up, but his third round is one of his finest in recent memory.

It's a little frustrating that T's first two rounds weren't more organized (expect to see a couple abrupt, round-ending "Quiet!"s) because this battle probably could have been classic if they had been. Still, his hilarious third makes up for it. Aside from a couple standouts like Bigg K, very few have talked to I.C.E like T does in Round 3. The round is almost completely centered around how difficult I.C.E's material can be to fully understand, and T drops many haymakers that we can all secretly relate to.

I.C.E now has over 10 KOTD battles under his belt, and (if you argue hard enough) he's arguably won all of them. More and more fans are calling for him to get a title shot, and though several other names (including The Saurus, Bigg K and Iron Solomon) are building momentum in that race at the moment, it's a distinct and well-earned possibility.

A. Ward vs. Franchise

Who: A. Ward (Kansas City, Mo.) vs. Franchise (Toronto, Canada)
Where: Day 3 KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Aug. 28, 2016

It's rare that a GZ battle makes the KOTD main page, but A. Ward vs. Franchise did. Both BattleRap.com and Organik touted it as one of the best battles from "World Domination 6," period, and rightly so. You may know Kansas City's A. Ward from his recent near-classic with Saint Mic (featured at the top of our July list), which quickly earned him this opportunity. Franchise, on the other hand, has been making noise in Toronto lately.

If you went by crowd reaction alone, you'd have to give this to Franchise, but it's about as debatable as it gets. Although "gassing" is a strong word, there was definitely a lot of hometown enthusiasm for Franchise and some slept-on content from A. Ward, including an incredible out-of-the-gate "freestyle" that set the tone of the quality of which he's capable. But you really can't blame Franchise — his energy and aggression are A1, and they sell even his most straightforward lines.

A. Ward's content is far more layered though, and his performance is arguably more versatile, with schemes, freestyles, and a handful of jarringly creative lines (e.g. "I'm itchin' to be in the front... Without using words like 'itch' with a 'b' in the front,"). It seems that Christian battle rappers like A. Ward (and Loso, seen above) are never mentioned without an accompanying discussion of their faith, but what A. Ward's does most noticeably is distance him from tired concepts and bring about more inventive wordplay.

Shuffle-T vs. Dunn D

Who: Dunn D (Hobart, Tasmania) vs. Shuffle-T (London, England)
Where: Don't Flop Oz's "Reloaded" in Melbourne, Australia
When: July 16, 2016

This is being cited as one of Don't Flop's best uploads in some time, which is tough to dispute. A lively crowd and two near-flawless performances is always a winning combination, and every round is debatable.

Shuffle-T has stood out since he first started battling, but he's gotten more and more outside-the-box over the years, with exponentially increasing success (see his clash with Raptor from September for more hilarious content). Whereas his gimmicks of days past — battling Marlo while they licked Oreos, for example— were often met with skepticism, he now seems to land at least one bizarrely successful comedic venture per battle. Here, his most notable tangent is in Round 1, where he longwindedly explains that he had to take a very long flight to get to Australia, and it's hysterical.

Dunn D turned a lot of heads in his KOTD debut at "World Domination 6" with a clear win over Realiztic, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He easily has the biggest buzz of any Australian battle rapper at the moment, and he may be on his way to solidifying his spot on Don't Flop. His approach here, although riddled with funny moments is a lot grittier than Shuffle's, and he's much more direct with his insults. Depending on your preference, his harsher tactics might be enough to edge him the win.

Rone vs. Caustic

Who: Rone (Philadelphia, Pa.) vs. Caustic (Oakland, Calif.)
Where: KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Aug. 27, 2016

As far as title matches go, this is admittedly not the best, but it's up there. Either way, it's notable, as Rone holds on to the chain despite the many fans who expected the ever-disrespectful Caustic to take him out. Although a small faction remains that feels Caustic was robbed, it's a mostly clean win and a solid performance for the champ.

To be clear, this is by no means a poor showing from Caustic. In fact, it's actually more polished than usual (many of Caustic's performances contain at least some patchy parts, as he's known to throw phenomenal material together at the very last minute). At the end of the day, what really bogs the battle down, to the detriment of both emcees, is the relentlessly accusatory nature of the clash.

It's common knowledge that Arcane's name was dragged through the mud a few years ago when Dizaster produced a Paypal statement implicating him in sending money to Caustic for bars, but Caustic never took much of that heat. Just before the title match, Rone made it clear that he intended to prove that there was more to that story, and he spent much of the battle assailing Caustic as one of the most notorious bar-borrowers in the game. Anticipating this approach, Caustic largely did the same against Rone, who assured him, "you're a liar." The he-said/he-said was a bit gross, frankly, but the angle hit a bit harder on Rone's end. If you're not familiar with the situation though, it will probably still make for an interesting watch.

Nickelus F vs. Danja Zone

Who: Nickelus F (Richmond, Va.) vs. Danja Zone (Temple Hills, Md.)
Where: Southpaw Battle Coalition's "Legends Never Die 2" in Richmond, Va.
When: August 27, 2016

It's a damn shame that both emcees were cut off (reportedly due to the venue shutting down), because they were both cooking in this small league one-rounder.

Danja's buzz has died down a bit (he was called unbeatable for much of last year), but as you probably know, he always shows up. His material seems even more dramatically cut short than Nickelus F's here, to the disappointment of many fans, but he's able to get through plenty of fire, tightly written material. It's not clear exactly how familiar he was with his opponent ahead of time, but it's a good thing he took the match-up seriously.

Nickelus F is a fairly established indie rapper who used to battle many years ago, and his massive body of work (including collaborations with Drake) is pretty damn impressive. Here, he proves that he's perfectly suited to today's standard of battling, with a punchline-heavy style and a surprisingly commanding presence. His material could use a bit more variance — there are probably one too many "like"s — but the ingredients are definitely there. Notable figures have taken notice, and KOTD West Coast's Avocado, for example, has already informally reached out to Nick.


Agree with our list? Anything you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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