Darrell Jones Jr.: AKA Arsonal Da Rebel.
The Newark, New Jersey battle rapper started his rise to legendary status sparring in leagues such as Lionz Den and Grind Time before competing around the world and co-founding the U Dubb Network (formally known as UW Battle League). Arsonal built his legendary status on stages such as URL, Don’t Flop, Grind Time, Lionz Den, KOTD and Fight Klub.
Spitting some of the most aggressive, humorous and disrespectful punchlines ever, Arsonal’s style has dismantled countless top-tier emcees and has made him one of the most-viewed English speaking battlers in history.
As Da Rebel prepares for his upcoming “Every Bar Counts” battle against Tay Roc, here are our picks for the first five Arsonal battles to watch if you want to see why ‘’you can’t spell bars without puttin’ that Ars in it.’’
Arsonal vs. Hollow Da Don
Where: Fight Klub
Why you should watch it: Pitting the rebuttals and unorthodox rhyming style of Hollow Da Don against Arsonal Da Rebel’s blend of humor and aggression makes this battle one of the most memorable Fight Klub matches ever.
But it wasn’t just Arsonal’s ability to flawlessly transition from humorous metaphors to aggressive attack bars that makes this match-up a battle rap classic. One of the most entertaining aspects of the battle was undoubtedly Arsonal’s fast-paced performance. Beating his chest as he yells, “why you put a dog against King Kong’’ and delivering quotable lines such as, “Once you hit the ground, the Hulkamania leg drop,’’ Arsonal proved his performance was just as lethal as his punches.
Arsonal vs. Conceited
Where: Grind Time's Now "Battle Of The Bay 5" in Oakland, Calif.
When: Sept 5, 2009
Why you should watch it: The match-up between Arsonal and Brooklyn battle rapper Conceited set the record for being the most-viewed battle in Grind Time history with more than 6.7 million views.
At the time, both Arsonal and Conceited were rising through the battle rap ranks. Each attacked with a barrage of humorous punchlines. The Oakland crowd was in an uproar as Arsonal roasted Con with numerous short jokes and his signature disrespectful punchline style. The lengthy five-part battle also spawned Arsonal’s "I muthafuckin' hate midgets" catchphrase. The battle remains one fans continue to debate. Years later Con still expresses interest in a potential rematch.
Arsonal vs. Shotty Horroh
Where: Don’t Flop 4th Birthday Weekend in London, England
When: October 21, 2012
Why you should watch it: Easy. It's generated more than eight million views (making it the most-viewed battle across all the major battle rap platforms), got a very public co-sign from EDM star Deadmau5, and features two battle rappers considered to be the best from their respective regions.
Arsonal’s Don’t Flop debut against UK battle rapper Shotty Horroh is a match many consider “perfect.” The Newark battle rapper appeared at home on the international stage, opening his first round to reveal an Arsenal jersey beneath his jacket and sending the crowd into a frenzy. It was just one of many tricks Da Rebel had up his sleeve against Shotty.
Considered the best battle rapper in the UK, Shotty Horroh’s undefeated record was a credit to the Manchester emcee’s fast-paced blend of freestyles, wordplay and aggression. The juxtaposition of Shotty’s rhyming against the disrespectful and aggressive style Arsonal mastered through years of elite competition makes the match undoubtedly a classic. The two faced off again in 2015 at KOTD’s “World Domination 5” in Toronto, but failed to capture the same magic as this one.
Arsonal vs. Qleen Paper
Where: Black Ice Cartel’s "The Eulogy" in Milwaukee, Wis.
When: June 22, 2014
Why you should watch it: The clash between QP and Arsonal is epic from the bar-heavy performances to the audio and visuals. Both emcees bring their A-game with heavy-hitting punches assisted by footage edits that intensify the impact of each bar. The battle is filled with quotable lines from both emcees and is widely considered one of the most lyrical performances of Arsonal’s career.
Arsonal vs. Aye Verb
Where: Word War and SMACK/ Ultimate Rap League
When: July 21, 2013
Why you should watch it: The battle between Arsonal and St. Louis battle rapper Aye Verb settled an ongoing rivalry between the two legends, with Arsonal’s three-round performance being reminiscent of that against Hollow Da Don.
The Newark emcee’s intense performance violates Verb's space throughout, even raising a liquor bottle to his opponent. The intensity of the rivalry can be felt in almost every bar Arsonal delivers. Battling the self-proclaimed “Captain Marketable’’ on his home turf also challenges Arsonal’s ability to handle the crowd. It’s a challenge he easily accepts with the line,’’I got a Heckler for the hecklers…’’
What are your favorite Arsonal battles? Let us know in the comments below.