The Top 10 Rap Battles from October

Featuring battles from URL, KOTD, Black Ice, Don't Flop and KOTR.

While most of the focus of October was on not battle footage, but battle events — of which there seemed to be several big ones each weekend — it was still a month that featured some huge releases.  The usual suspects are here, with URL dropping "Born Legacy 3" and "Traffic 2" content and KOTD putting out their "World Domination 6" battles, while Black Ice Cartel returns to our list with some dope footage. Rounding out the list is Don't Flop and U.K. league King Of The Ronalds.

Rum Nitty vs. Ill Will

Who: Ill Will (Pontiac, Mich.) vs. Rum Nitty (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 3" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Aug. 27, 2016

This turned out to be a particularly divisive near-classic, and you've more than likely decided your preference by now. But if you somehow haven't, put this style clash at the top of your list or risk missing out on consistently phenomenal quotables from Rum Nitty and a powerhouse performance from Ill Will.

This was a huge return to form for Will on URL, and he's now set to face one of battle rap's most prominent gatekeepers, Charlie Clips, at "Night Of Main Events 6" on November 20. It was also another hit in Nitty's recent string of hot performances, and he'll be battling Tay Roc on the same card, where a competitive performance could lock him at the top of many Battler Of The Year lists.

For more thoughts on this battle, revisit our recap of URL's "Born Legacy 3."

QP vs. JC

Who: JC (Pontiac, Mich.) vs. QP (Stockton, Calif.)
Where: Black Ice Cartel's "War Season" in Milwaukee, Wis.
When: Oct. 11, 2016

If you're not ready to pay close attention, you might want to save this bar-fest between two of the culture's best writers for another time. JC has been consistent from Day 1, but in case you hadn't noticed, West Coast veteran QP has been having a hell of a year as well, and he's in rare form here on his de facto home league of Black Ice.

In every battle, JC is so zoned in with his content that it seems impossible for him to get off track or stumble. In that way, QP is almost the complete opposite. While JC calmly powers through cold line after cold line as usual, QP sputters through extremely unpredictable material completely haphazardly, and it works.

If you're familiar with QP at all, you know he can hit a surreal note with his performance when he gets this spastic approach right. Here, he's clearly thoroughly prepared, and he does more than enough to win if you're at all a fan of outlandish wordplay and dynamic performance energy. Still, JC is not to be slept on, and he too puts on yet another flawless showing.

Jon Dough's editing flourishes add to the footage, and it almost seems as though both emcees have pushed the imagery in their writing to give him more to work with.

Pnut vs. Shotti P

Who: PNut (San Jose, Calif.) vs. Shotti P (Detroit, Mich.)
Where: KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Aug. 27, 2016

If the recent slew of strong performances on both their parts wasn't enough to catch your interest, this debatable battle between Pnut and Shotti P probably will be. Fans of truly constant punchlines will more than get their money's worth with Pnut, but if you'd prefer a more well-rounded approach with admittedly higher highs and lower lows, Shotti shouldn't disappoint.

Pnut's approach here is really all punches, and it works both for and against him. Even his more personal bars are delivered so quickly and are so buried in clusters of similes that they just feel like part of the endless sequence. Still, there are some huge hits and very few misses. Shotti, on the other hand, takes a totally different approach. He really takes his time with his heavy-handed, jokey rounds, and it's hugely successful (e.g. "The fans call you 'Party Nut.' Party Nut? My nigga, that's hard as fuck.")

The work these two have been putting in on KOTD has not gone unnoticed. Pnut is slated to battle Bender at KOTD's "Gully vs. Ganik" event in Toronto on November 12, where Shotti will battle Charlie Clips (I wasn't kidding about that whole gatekeeper thing).

Nu Jerzy Twork vs. Dougy

Who: Nu Jurzy Twork (Trenton, N.J.) vs. Dougy (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 3" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Aug. 28, 2016

Even while they're not seeing eye to eye with many of their biggest names, URL's future looks bright. Dougy, who most fans favored ahead of this battle off the strength of his WeGoHard battle versus Chess (and the fact that his opponent's name was Twork) puts in a solid performance here, but in case you hadn't heard yet, Twork is the star of this battle.

He was largely overshadowed simply because he didn't make the room erupt quite as often or as loudly as Twork did, but Dougy was consistent over the course of three rounds. His content could probably use some expansion — similar wordplay seems to pop up multiple times — but he still brings plenty of original bars to the table. You could even argue that his performance is a more cohesive product (after all Twork did "Jersey" his first and second round and half-botch his third round closer). Even still, Twork was too much.

Battle rap has become so saturated with punchline-heavy styles that when a newcomer takes a novel approach to one, everyone notices. Twork's method is definitely different, as he sets each punch up slowly before abruptly barking through it, almost rushing his delivery in a way that makes his now infamous "MADNESS!" ad-lib seem even more perfect. Still, it wouldn't work if his writing wasn't on point, and there are some serious gems here. Don't miss out.

Young Kannon vs. Danny Myers

Who: Young Kannon (Chicago, Ill.) vs. Danny Myers (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Where: URL's "Traffic 2" in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Sept. 11, 2016

URL West battles have been great for showcasing experienced but under-appreciated talent, and this one is no different in that way. Though Danny Myers is by no means underground on the West Coast, this is his first URL battle in a while, and needless to say, Young Kannon has long been considered one of battle rap's most underrated.

If there's one thing Danny does not lack, it's performance energy. Just a few bars in, he can barely contain himself between lines, and if that's a quality that's bugged you in the past, this will not be your favorite battle (although he does chill out a bit as it goes along). But it's not like he's alone; the room explodes frequently, for both emcees. They get more personal than most were probably expecting, YK in particular, and the crowd absolutely loves it. As far as picking a winner, it could go either way. That said, this is the type of battle where you'll probably have no problem picking your preference.

Big T vs. Danja Zone

Who: Danja Zone (Temple Hills, Md.) vs. Big T (Chicago, Ill.)
Where: Black Ice Cartel's "War Season" in New York, N.Y.
When: July 30, 2016

As a product of the once heavily publicized feud between Writer's Bloque and NWX, this clash totally lives up to the hype. Said feud is probably more accurately described as a friendly rivarly, but the level of competition between Big T and Danja Zone is more than evident here.

There's a good reason people call Big T a small-room battler, and if you ever forget why he's one of the best, watch a battle like this one to remind yourself. Danja doesn't give T much room for error at all with a very solid, reference-packed performance, but T capitalizes on his small room affinity and thoroughly snaps in every round.

To be clear, you can't take much away from Danja, who's known to do pretty well in quieter settings himself and more than holds his own here. Still, styles win fights, and T's energy and relentlessly creative wordplay were too much this time around. "Everyone get the techs like an Amber Alert, you think I'm kiddin' Danja?" Sheesh.

John John Da Don vs. Pat Stay

Who: Pat Stay (Dartmouth, Canada) vs. John John Da Don (Yonkers, N.Y.)
Where: Don't Flop Battle at A3C Festival in Atlanta, Ga.
When: Oct. 6, 2016

In general, one-rounders are nobody's favorite. But with big names, they often make sense for leagues to book, and sometimes they deliver. Don't Flop Atlanta (in partnership with Atlanta's A3C Festival) seized the opportunity with local celebrity/vet John John Da Don and Canadian legend Pat Stay, and it makes for a solid style clash.

From the jump, the festival crowd is a little unruly, but the fans seem savvy enough. The chatter clearly throws Pat (who goes first) a bit in the beginning, but before long he looks right at home, roasting John John while complimenting himself in typical fashion. There are plenty of memorable lines, but his round doesn't quite measure up to his usual structured approach, or John John's for that matter. JJDD takes advantage of an enthusiastic home crowd in efficiently summing up everything wrong with Pat, with a particular focus on his inconsistent performances, and shows he can hang with even the most versatile top tiers.

Gemin1 vs. Take Note Tox

Who: Gemin1 (London, England) vs. Take Note Tox (Manchester, England)
Where: Don't Flop's "Next In Line" in London, England
When: Oct 22, 2016

Another one-rounder? Yep, but this one quite frankly could have been three. Maybe it's just because Gemin1 and Tox's rounds made the crowd stop so often to laugh and applaud, but there's considerably more going on here than in your average three-round battle.

He's solidified as one of the main talents to watch in the UK by now, and Gem couldn't look more comfortable here. This showing stands out as more jokey and self-aware than usual, but it features the same witty punches and tight patterns as always. Gem seems like he could have rapped all day, but Tox certainly holds his own. A round as long and versatile as Gem's is a tough act to follow, but Tox brings enough energy to pull it off and will undoubtedly get similar shots in the future despite being pretty clearly outclassed here.

Arsonal vs. Cortez

Who: Arsonal (Newark, N.J.) vs. Cortez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Where: KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto, Canada
When: Aug. 27, 2016

While this might not quite live up to the potential it had as a grudge match, it's still worth your time for a couple reasons. For one thing, Arsonal has mostly stayed true to his promise to deliver nothing but dominant performances in the months before his supposed retirement. And although he's fairly clearly outdone here, Cortez shows up as always and delivers three solid rounds that are probably better appreciated on camera.

Cor is almost always on his A-game, but he's shown he can be outdone when his opponent hits the right notes. Ars' patented disrespect and loud, direct haymakers are a perfect foil for Cor's more slow-building, methodical approach, and it couldn't be more evident here. Even if you have Cor edging the battle (which is a bit of a reach despite his strong-as-always content), you really can't deny Ars' showmanship. While Cor's name may have faded a bit from the Battler Of The Year conversation despite many solid performances, Ars has been making a stronger and stronger case with each battle lately, and this is no exception.

Tony D vs. Dialect

Who: Tony D (London, England) vs. Dialect (Leeds, England)
Where: King Of The Ronalds' "A League Of Our Own" in Leeds, England
When: Sept. 17, 2016

A few years ago, two names as big as Tony D and Dialect battling on King Of The Ronalds would have sounded pretty infeasible. Somehow, the gleefully bizarre UK league has seen more and more success as of late, and this is actually one of the better British battles of the year.

Most everyone is familiar with Tony by now, but Dialect's hype has admittedly died down somewhat over the last couple years. You'll hear him say here himself that battling is not all that important to him anymore, but him being more at ease seems to do a lot for him. A win over the debatable GOAT of the UK is a big deal, and Dialect has got that pretty convincingly here. Tony still has a lot to offer with his usual slick talk and wordplay, but he's nowhere near as dialed in as Dialect this time around. Maybe it's just refreshing to hear him slow down a bit off the grime flow, but with the right opponents, Dialect still has room to grow in the UK.

Did you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.