As battle rap continues to push its way into the mainstream, twice in the past year we've witnessed industry emcees entering the ring and have wondered each time: Is this the biggest battle ever?
Most fans can rattle off a dozen of their favorite match-ups from 2014 and it's quite possible that year-end "Best Of" lists will exclude both Joe Budden vs. Hollow Da Don and Cassidy vs. Dizaster. But still, performance aside, it's hard to argue that any individual battle has generated as much interest as either the Total Slaughter or Ether headliners.
So, how do you measure something like that? Battle rap is big on YouTube views, and when the footage is consolidated into a single, official release, that's fair. But, unfortunately for both Total Slaughter and FilmOn, footage of their battles was heavily bootlegged and quickly spread unofficially across separate channels.
FilmOn cut its losses and went on to release its own official footage to try and overshadow the bootleggers, but one unlicensed video of the first botched battle already has nearly 150,000 views while FilmOn's video of the rematch is at nearly 170,000 views less than a week after its release.
Neither number is groundbreaking (remember that Hitman Holla vs. Tsu Surf did a million in less than a month for URL), but considering that the views have been spread across so many different places, it does show that Diz vs. Cassidy is definitely a big deal.
Read all of BattleRap.com's Dizaster vs. Cassidy coverage here.
There was also the issue of the live-stream numbers, which complicates the measurement. FilmOn, which had to scramble when its pay-per-view feed went down, boosted its numbers by eventually making the stream free, until it topped out at a reported 25,000 live viewers. Likewise, Total Slaughter lost out on a ton of viewers when their live Internet PPV failed to launch.
Coverage from mainstream platforms like Worldstar and LA Weekly was also an important step for FilmOn but also battle rap in general. By contrast, Total Slaughter, which has Eminem to thank for a mainstream endorsement, got space in publications like Rolling Stone and even the celebrity-hungry People Magazine.
The controversy over Dizaster vs. Cassidy getting shut down before it was over may also have helped to drive interest in the event. The battle was eventually completed in front of a small crowd in a parking garage the next day.
Notably, both battle events took over Twitter with slots on the worldwide trending list.
Google Trends is another way to approach the measurement, and it offers a timeline of interest. Check out the graphs below and notice that Cassidy's share of Google searches skyrocketed over the last couple weeks, passing Budden's peak at Total Slaughter in July. (Joe Budden also released an album recently which registers as a small blip in November below.)
With Joe Budden and Cassidy bringing new eyes to the scene, it's also worth considering the battlers themselves, and using the same Google Trends measurement, we can again see that the Ether headliner was more sought-after from the search giant's point of view. For reference, Daylyt is represented as the yellow line below so you can compare Diz and Hollow to one of the other most talked-about battlers of the year.
Hollow's spike early in 2014 was from his Loaded Lux battle. Dizaster's pre-Total Slaughter popularity/notoriety came from punching Math Hoffa at the end of their "Battle of Los Angeles 5" battle. Daylyt's bump in October came from his SquatterGate scandal.
As different methods of streaming continue to get introduced in the industry, video views may have to take a backseat since they're not always reported (or reliable). For now at least, it seems obvious that Diz vs. Cass outranks the Total Slaughter main event, and it has a fair claim to being one of the biggest battles in the industry's modern history. So, Lush One wasn't crazy when he predicted as much a couple months ago.
Next year Total Slaughter is expected to return for a second event and FilmOn will no doubt establish a habit for Ether-like throw downs moving forward. In late January, Mistah FAB will become the next industry rapper to step (back) into the ring.
For now though, the battle with undisputedly the most views ever belongs to a 2-on-2 FlipTop match-up in the Philippines from 2012, with a whopping 19.3 million views.
Then again, a single Epic Rap Battles of History spoof between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has racked up more than 100 million views in just over two years. We might soon see the day where an actual battle performs so well.
Can you think of a bigger battle? What potential match-up could surpass Dizaster/Cassidy? Let us know in the comments below.