The Top 10 Rap Battles From March

Out of the hundreds of battles to drop in March, these 10 can't be missed.

Last month we called February a relatively slow month for battle releases. March was … different. URL alone released 11 battles, several times playing into their "Double Impact" theme by dropping two the same day. March also included three battles that many fans were calling instant classics (although Danny Myers vs. B Dot still hasn't had an official public release and therefore doesn't make the March list), as well as a litany of other strong battles (which made narrowing this list down to 10 almost impossible).

Here are our picks for the Top 10 battles from March, with more recommendations included within.

Rum Nitty vs. Ave

Who: Rum Nitty (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. Ave (Norfolk, Va.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 2" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: March 6, 2016

Chilla Jones just wrote extensively about this battle, but here's the short version: it's an absolute bar-fest featuring another impeccable showing from Ave and a seemingly untouchable one from Rum Nitty. If you need more than that, check out all our coverage (including the lyrics).

For some excellent PG battles, don't miss Reepah Rell vs. Glueazy, Emerson Kennedy vs. Jerry Wess, and Snake Eyez vs. Ryda. (Ryda is a PROBLEM).

Iron Solomon vs. Dizaster

Who: Iron Solomon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) vs. Dizaster (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Where: KOTD's "Blackout 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Feb. 19, 2016

It's risky to call a battle a classic right after it drops, but I've already done that. Check out this insanely versatile back-and-forth from two of battle rap's top names, as well as our extensive coverage on the match-up.

Mike P vs. Tink Tha Demon

Who: Mike P (Long Island, N.Y.) vs. Tink Tha Demon (Chester, Pa.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 2" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: March 6, 2016

We called this the Debatable Of The Night from "Born Legacy 2," and for good reason. You've probably seen Mike P's now-viral street fighter scheme floating around Facebook (2.5 million views and counting), and Tink Tha Demon is finally turning heads with casual fans and big names alike.

Though calling it a classic may be a bit much at the moment, it's definitely a hit and a debatable style clash with a surprising amount of overlap.

Tink's style is not for everyone (and you'll likely know if it's for you from his first bar), but man, it is something to behold. It's essentially the battle rap equivalent of death metal, and you may shock yourself with how much you appreciate the grotesque imagery and punchlines. Here, he offers his usual approach, but he also does a hell of a lot more in breaking down why Mike is not as special as he always claims to be. As quick as he wins you over, he reminds you not to typecast him, and that's what makes this particular showing so memorable.

In stark contrast to Tink's, Mike's rounds often need some time to heat up before they hit full stride. The result requires more patience — like sitting through some obscure setups — but sometimes offers bigger rewards, perhaps in the form of truly cohesive rounds. That's not always a winning strategy, especially against someone like Tink, but Mike makes it work.

In an era where it's often easy to trace the lineage between the new generation of battlers and those who preceded them, these two stand out as distinct personalities.

Raptor vs. Lu Cipher

Who: Raptor (Manchester, England) vs. Lu Cipher (Tampa, Fla.)
Where: Scrambles4Money’s “Gin Grimes Birthday Bash” in Johannesburg, South Africa
When: Feb. 26, 2016

Lu Cipher has had a slew of quality battles drop recently, and his pen is becoming more and more talked about globally. Meanwhile, Raptor has shot to Don't Flop's elite with a title shot in his near future. Here, they put their remarkably different styles to the test for Scrambles4Money in South Africa.

For those who don't know, Lu Cipher employs an easy-going, off-kilter flow to deliver some of the best writing in battle rap at the moment. It really couldn't be more different from Raptor in how it looks and sounds, but Lu's writing here is equally if not more fire (despite a couple lazy setup/punches). The steadiness of his projection is also a nice foil, and a clean performance is ultimately what carries the day.

As always, Raptor brings a ton of substance for Lu, and there's really no debate as to whose attacks are more direct. But slow and steady often wins the race, as exemplified by a small stumble at the end of Raptor's first that almost seems to change the momentum of the battle. Still, this comes down to preference, and there's plenty of room for debate on either side.

Make sure you check out the long-awaited release of Bender vs. Tumi from Scrambles too.

Real Deal vs. Aye Verb

Who: Real Deal (Pittsburgh, Pa.) vs. Aye Verb (St. Louis, Mo.)
Where: URL's "Dead On Arrival" in Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: Feb. 13, 2016

Before this battle, most fans seemed to be predicting that Real Deal would give 100% and that Aye Verb wouldn't try. It's not a totally off-base assumption, as Verb has previously shown willingness to be lackluster in lower-profile battles (though he seems to be getting over that lately). Here though, we see classic Verb.

Regardless of how you call the battle, it's clear that Verb was prepared. He takes a relatively serious approach, mainly centered around the idea that battle rap — more importantly, URL — has relaxed its expectations way more than it ever should have in accepting new talent. It's an easy point to exploit, but Verb does it expertly, especially in Round 1. The obvious criticism is that his material isn't focused enough on his opponent, and for those who put a lot of stock in that quality, there's plenty to argue on Real Deal's end.

In his first battle back on URL since bodying Sno, it's clear that RD is determined to deliver a clean, well-rounded performance. He has jokes, personals, on-point freestyles, and even his best take on a "Showtime" (Verb's signature move) that yields more than a couple quotables in the first. His more bar-heavy bag leaves him vulnerable though, arguably losing him Round 1 to Verb's showmanship. Still, he's consistent enough to debatably take the W in his first meaningful URL battle in years.

Don't miss Real Deal vs. QP too.

C3 vs. Tay Roc

Who: C3 (Queens, N.Y.) vs. Tay Roc (Baltimore, Md.)
Where: QOTR's "Watch The Throne 2" in New York, N.Y.
When: Feb. 7, 2016

Outside the largely unique QOTR setting, the male-dominated dialogue for this clash has shifted toward "Roc 3-0," but there's more going on here than him snapping. For one thing, this is one of Tay Roc's most tense battles to date, and that's saying a LOT.

For more on this battle, check my event review.

Bill Collector vs. E. Farrell

Who: Bill Collector (Norristown, Pa.) vs. E. Farrell (Manchester, Conn.)
Where: Don't Flop's event in Orlando, Fla.
When: Feb 27, 2016

Is this a flawless display of battling? Not at all, but it's immensely entertaining for a couple of reasons. One, of course, is that Bill Collector is in the battle. The other is that, like Lu Cipher, E. Farrell is saying some of the best shit in battle rap at the moment.

When I say "best," I'm not talking Lux's-third-for-Calicoe best, but more like, Rocket-Power-bars best. The point is that Farrell has some of the most succinctly worded punchlines in the game, and his references reek of shit battle rap fans want to hear about. "I'm Pat Stay, only not taken serious (Serius) 'cause of my voice." Damn. Here, he's interrupted frequently by a pretty lousy crowd, at least once throwing him off, but he heats up throughout. By Round 3, even the chattiest fans have come around.

Unfortunately, the crowd has a slightly more lethal effect on Bill in his third, causing him to end it early. Besides that, though, he's his usual self, doing enough to clearly win Round 1. "Your underarms stink" is as good a way as any to start a battle, and he does his part to make sure the vibe of the battle stays positive even through the crowd's inattention.

For more, read our 20 Questions interview with Farrell.

Rone vs. Illmaculate

Who: Rone (Philadelphia, Pa.) vs. Illmaculate (Portland, Ore.)
Where: KOTD's "Blackout 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Feb. 20, 2016

As you probably already know, it happened. Roney Baby Da Prince became, uh, Da King, taking the W in Illmaculate's first KOTD title defense. The fan consensus seems to be that Illmac was off his game, but you really can't take anything from the clearly incredibly well-prepared Rone.

There's a strong argument to be made that Rone has never performed this cleanly before. Every single one of his other battles, even his best, contains at least one stumble, but not this one. Perhaps his ferociously on-point Round 1 was what threw Illmac off to begin with, as that round, featuring some dry freestyles and a few flubbed lines, is definitely the former champ's low-light of the battle.

More importantly, title matches aren't always about being re-watchable classics. Simply put, this represents a turning of the tide at KOTD. Yes, Rone is an American like Illmac, but he's a very different breed. Illmac typically remains calm and reserved, meticulously calculating his next move. It's a cool persona, sure, but it's not particularly conducive to marketing. Rone is candid and unrestrained, usually off-the-wall, and seems fully invested in expanding KOTD's brand. He's a born spokesman, and it'll be interesting to see who he takes on in his first defense.

J Murda vs. JC

Who: J Murda (Brooklyn, N.Y.) vs. JC (Pontiac, Mich.)
Where: Rare Breed Entertainment's "Starting 5" in New York, N.Y.
When: Feb. 27, 2016

You may notice that the controversial Swave Sevah vs. Danny Myers (the headline battle from the same event as this battle) didn't make this month's list. That's because this battle is better, and it was actually similarly divisive in the building. The judges gave it to JC, which came as a shock, because even if JC's complex material was arguably stronger, J Murda had the building on lock, especially in Round 2. Let us know who you think took it in the comments below.

For a bit more on this battle, check my recap of RBE's "Starting 5."

Ness Lee vs. XQZ

Who:Ness Lee (Atlanta, Ga.) vs. XQZ (Deerfield, Ill.)
Where: No Coast's "Valentine's Day Massacre Part 3" in Chicago, Ill.
When: Feb. 26, 2016

Forever one of battle rap's most underrated, Ness Lee, meet one of battle rap's most underrated up-and-comers, XQZ. This debatable battle took place on the long-running No Coast platform, which will definitely enjoy more success if it can continue to commission interested vets to clash with its (deserving) homegrown talent.

Ness is a real battle rapper's battle rapper. That's what you're supposed to say about people who only get the credit they deserve in niche circles, right? Anyway, he shows not the slightest lack of effort here, and it's refreshing to see a vet approach a rookie with something to say other than "I don't care about this." Yes, Ness manages to say that in his own way, but his take is creative and full of semi-personal bars that string together so smoothly that they sound like they're over a beat.

Though far from getting the looks he deserves, XQZ brings a bit of everything to the table. First and foremost, he's hilarious, and he'll be a serious threat once his projection and delivery can fully keep up. It's a dangerous thing when a battle rapper can make rhyming observations with the comedic timing of a standup, and some name flips never hurt. "Ness only hurts himself trying to get back up... PK THUNDER!" Wowww.

What were your favorite battles from March? Let us know in the comments below.