The Top 10 Rap Battles From March

Our picks for the top battles of March featuring releases from URL, Don't Flop, U Dubb, RBE, AHAT and Bullpen.

After a relatively quiet opening few months to the year, the battle rap world seemed to kick back up in March, with a number of strong battles released. URL, RBE, and U Dubb all had successful events in the New York/New Jersey area, and as a result made up more than half the list. Don't Flop had a good month for releases with their return to Scotland, with multiple battles in our Top 10. Surprisingly, King Of The Dot (generally a mainstay on these lists) had a quiet month for releases (but a busy one for event announcements) and as a result, had no battles appear in this month's list.

Here are our picks for the Top 10 battles for March.

Bad Newz vs. Loso

Who: Bad Newz (Rocky Mount, N.C.) vs. Loso (Tampa, Fla.)
Where: BullPen Battle League's "Southern Crown 2" in Atlanta, Ga.
When: March 11, 2017

When two young talents are gunning for the top spot in what's become battle rap's hottest feeder league, sometimes you gotta have them duke it out in a judged battle. It may not resolve who's better, or even who won — the majority actually seems to disagree with the judges' decision to edge it to Bad Newz — but it sure as hell doesn't hurt either emcee's buzz when all three rounds are of this quality.

Christian battlers like Loso, A. Ward and Th3 Saga tend to get lumped together, and maybe that's kinda fair given how they market themselves, but it would be wrong not to acknowledge Loso's particular strengths. He can get to the punch quicker than most with efficient setups that make sense, as opposed to the trash buildups you often hear from lesser punchers. He's known to talk down to his opponents, but more importantly, Loso can keep up with any level of intensity, including with someone as aggressive as Bad Newz.

With so many purveyors of "wordplay" on the market nowadays, it's actually pretty difficult for bully-type personalities to rise in battle rap. To hang with someone like Shotgun Suge (which Newz already has, pocket check and all), it usually takes a wildcard element in addition to raw aggression. Newz has that with the way he's able to avoid telegraphing his punches, keeping them unexpected and still managing to bar out while barking on his opponents for three straight rounds. You'll have to give this a careful watch to pick your winner, but both emcees should expect big opportunities in the near future.

Real Deal vs. Soul

What: Real Deal (Pittsburgh, Pa.) vs. Soul (Fife, Scotland)
Where: Don't Flop: Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland
When: Jan 28, 2017

In Don't Flop's heyday, this probably would have quickly drawn in hundreds of thousands of views. It's still sitting under 50k, which is a travesty, because it's a flawless showing from reigning champion Soul, and the ever-adaptable Real Deal gives him a run for his money even on his home stage in Scotland.

In a sense, this battle displays two different brands of versatility. While Real Deal manages to land more jokes and keep the crowd in suspense for longer stretches, showing a broader performance range, Soul covers more substantive ground while consistently carrying his more uniform approach to haymaker reactions. Soul's performance is a fraction cleaner than RD's here, but it's a tossup, especially if you don't catch Soul's authentic Scottish references, and there's too many damn quotables on either side to process.

Arsonal vs. QB

Who: Arsonal (Newark, N.J.) vs. QB Black Diamond (Bridgeport, Conn.)
Where: Rare Breed Entertainment's "Lift His Soul 3" in New York, N.Y.
When: Feb 4, 2017

Clickbait-y as it may sound, "DISRESPECT BATTLE" is an appropriate moniker for this one. Fans understood that going in, 'cause it hardly needs to be stated that Arsonal enjoys pushing boundaries, and QB rarely fails to bring up her opponents' real lives in excruciating detail. The result is debatable as all hell with sharp, flagrantly uncivil performances on either side.

If the previous paragraph didn't make it obvious, this clash isn't for everyone. Ars' "grab 'em by the pussy" bar (complete with matching gesture), for example, is pretty hard to defend, but again, you should know what you're signing up for. If you like battle rap for the "lyrical prowess" or whatever, look elsewhere, but if you'd like to watch two people who truly don't give a shit yell at each other, you've come to the right place.

Danny Myers vs. Geechi Gotti

Who: Danny Myers (Las Vegas, Nev.) vs. Geechi Gotti (Compton, Calif.)
Where: AHAT's "3rd Annual Young Bizill Barfest" in Carona, Calif.
When: March 4, 2017

Danny Myers has been much quieter lately, seeming to have a slightly harder time walking away from battles with clear W's than he once did (don't forget, a couple years ago he was running through competition with no signs of slowing down). Still, you can always expect consistency from Danny, and he brings it to this one-rounder that should put you onto Geechi Gotti if you're still sleeping.

There's a few match-ups out there that are living proof that Danny doesn't care about anything in battle rap other than clashing with people he thinks are dope, and it frequently pays off (go ahead and revisit the B. Dot battle why dontcha). Coming off a debatable loss to Steams, giving Geechi a shot doesn't do much for Danny other than potentially add to his collection of strong performances, but it doesn't matter.

Featuring some arguably lower lows but definitely higher highs, this is actually a debatable win for Geechi, who again delivers an expert blend of bars and street talk. That might not sound great for the arguably in-need-of-a-comeback Danny, but it's another good battle, so it's safe to assume he's fine with it.

O-Red vs. Ave

Who: O-Red (Newark, N.J.) vs. Ave (Norfolk, Va.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 5" in New York, N.Y.
When: March 11, 2017

Sigh. You probably already know what I'm going to say about the most anticipated battles rarely delivering. Sometimes battles like this one make the monthly list not because they're stunning displays of skill but because of the anticipation leading up to them and the talking points (positive or negative) that they inspire. Plenty of fans give O-Red the W here, but nearly just as many are annoyed by his performance, and a smaller faction edges Ave in a so-so showing that boasts a bit more consistency.

If you needed a reminder that fans are fickle, this is it. Ave's performance here is far from weak, just a bit rushed, but in the land of "what have you done for me lately?" nothing short of his Rum Nitty or Chess performances will do. Red, having been out of the ring over a year, has also drawn some unfair reactions from fans. Red did run his lines back too frequently and let his frustration show, but the reality is that the energy in the room just wasn't great by the time of this battle and he was pissed off. It happens. It's obvious that neither emcee slacked, so hopefully they can both dust themselves off and quickly get back to putting on classic performances.

Arsonal vs. Chilla Jones

Who: Chilla Jones (Boston, Mass.) vs. Arsonal (Newark, N.J.)
Where: U Dubb's "High Stakes 2" in Elizabeth, N.J.
When: Jan. 22, 2017

League owners booking battles for themselves on their own platforms often raises eyebrows: does the owner really deserve the match-up? Will the crowd be biased for him? Are they overextending themselves? Arsonal just battled Tay Roc on U Dubb, but battling Chilla Jones there is just a good look for Chilla, if anything, and the crowd was definitely not there to hand Ars the win either.

It's been a long time since fans accused Chilla of being unfit for the big stage, but it's not difficult to imagine how much harder of a time 2013 Chilla would have had in a battle like this. The pressure is always on when battling Ars, particularly in New Jersey, but there was a twist this time around. For whatever reason, the crowd for High Stakes II was sluggish, reacting at times but also falling into long lackluster spells. Ars soldiers through it here as well, but Chilla comes off as having been prepared to fight through no reaction at all, keeping his aggression up throughout and dropping what is probably the rebuttal of his career.

Aye Verb vs. Jimz

Who: Jimz (Queens, N.Y.) vs. Aye Verb (St. Louis, Mo.)
Where: Rare Breed Entertainment's "Lift His Soul 3" in New York, N.Y.
When: Feb 4, 2017

Again, battle rap is nothing if not fickle. In terms of in-the-building wins, this is a thoroughly decisive victory for Jimz in Rounds 2 and 3, and he did indeed get to walk away from the judged battle $2,000 richer. Still, some fans, maybe even some of the same ones that have been calling Aye Verb "washed up," will assure you that Verb was "robbed" and should have been declared the victor. With multiple stumbles versus a flawless performance, that's just not a viable claim, but it says a lot about Jimz, a hugely capable battler with a personality that the culture is finally starting to accept.

Tony D vs. Respek BA

What: Tony D (London, England) vs. Respek BA (Glasgow, Scotland)
Where: Don't Flop: Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland
When: Jan 28, 2017

It might not reek of it, but this is a clash between legends. Tony D has been elite in the UK for years including a long run as DF champion, but what you might not understand is the depth of Respek BA's roots in the game. He's been dominant in the Scottish freestyle realm for well over a decade, and you'd be hard pressed to find a battle he clearly lost, including this one.

Aside from their legend status, these two don't have much in common, and this can definitely be filed under "style clash." While Tony uses his slower, more methodical style to break down why BA ain't shit in the grand scheme of things, BA's approach is straightforward and leads to haymaker reaction about twice as often. BA ties in some realistic personals at times, but after Tony thoughtfully maps out a well-crafted angle, it's hysterical to hear BA disregard it all and rifle off one-liners accusing Tony of being a pedophile.

Mike P vs. Chef Trez

Who: Mike P (Long Island, N.Y.) vs. Chef Trez (Atlanta, Ga.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 4" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Jan 28, 2017

"What are we gonna do with Mike P?" is a question popping up pretty often these days, but it's also one we probably don't need to ask. It's true that he can't seem to get a clear win lately, but he also always entertains and usually steals the most memorable moments of his battles. His plan here was evidently to out-bar and out-perform Chef Trez, and it didn't quite pan out despite some flashes of greatness. Meanwhile, Trez is becoming notorious for having "three of them thangs" (rebuttals) on deck at all times and never taking a bar off. This is a razor-sharp showing from him.

Pat Stay vs. DNA

Who: Pat Stay (Dartmouth, Canada) vs. DNA (Queens, N.Y.)
Where: U Dubb's "High Stakes 2" in Elizabeth, N.J.
When: Jan. 22, 2017

While it might have bugged you for Arsonal vs. Chilla, the unenthusiastic crowd is more of a glaring issue here. The emcees, Pat in particular, do everything they can to hype up the audience, but it's no use for most of the battle. Frankly, this battle is typical DNA fare at this point (never slacking but far from amazing), and about 90% of the replay value lives in Pat's grueling third.

There's really no excuse for an elite battler choking or even tripping on his words, and it's worth noting that Pat hasn't gotten through a battle in a long, long time without at least a stumble. Still, what's kept people interested is the heavy-handedness of his approach, which can be devastating when he does it right. Here, his third takes a relentlessly realistic view of DNA's career, breaking down exactly how much this must consume his life considering how many times he's battled over the years. It's the clear highlight of the battle, but DNA's consistency and a couple other gems from Pat should help get you there.

Agree with our list? Let us know in the comments below.