Can Meek Mill Bring Battle Rap to the Masses?

November 5th, 2012

(Photos from left: John Ricard/BET, Derek Reed / Picture Group)

By Dan Reagans

For years, battle rapping has been lurking on the outskirts of the hip hop’s limelight. Thriving on the underground scene, the early art form has never been able to break through to the masses because of its inability to generate income for its contestants, but thanks to MMG’s shining star Meek Mill, that breakthrough may come sooner than we thought. When asked during an interview with The Warner Sound about his battle rapping early days,  the “Amen” rapper said he’d still indulge in the forum provided the compensation made some real cents (about $100K worth to be exact). Subsequently, by challenging veteran spitter Cassidy and renowned battle rapper Murda Mook (who certainly are worthy adversaries), Meek may have pried open Pandora’s Box and signaled a change in direction for battle rap as we know it.

This move comes only weeks after Loaded Lux’s stellar performance during his battle with Detroit wordsmith Calicoe last month. Quickly becoming a viral hit primarily due to Lux’s showmanship, the battle has gained the Harlem MC notoriety and appearances on The Howard Stern Show and Sway in the Morning. While there’s always been talk of artists’ and execs’ desire to flip underground rap battles into an international pastime, there’s hasn’t been a red hot artist willing to take the reins until Meek. Philly has been known for its rough rap terrain and output of high caliber lyricists. So who better for Meek to battle than his predecessor Cassidy?

I personally could think of 100,000 hip hop lovers who’d gladly fork up a buck to see two of the city’s most prominent lyricists go at it in the hip hop ring. Without a doubt this battle would be intense since neither MC would be viewed as an underdog. Paralleled to Meek, Cassidy’s career isn’t blazing hot at the moment but his bars are still just as sharp as ever and cunning as ever. Both MCs have a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s lyrical ability and, with no clear cut winner to be predicted, this might just be the battle to help this underground art form break through to mainstream. No real beef, malicious intent or violence, just a pure test of will and skill. Yes indeed, the fall of 2012 is shaping up to be a progressive one for battle rapping. Make sure you’ve got your popcorn ready, because someone’s going to get that work.

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