With hip-hop artists like Paul Wall and Rah Digga taking their hustle to smartphones by launching their own battle rap applications, SOHH hit up West Coast cypher champ Locksmith for his take.
While he sees the monetary benefit of selling battle raps on mobile devices, Lock said his love and admiration is with its original form.
“Hip-hop is a culture, first and foremost,” Lock told SOHH. “Battle rapping is something I’ve been able to get in and be succesful with, getting recognition and kind of getting that initial notoriety. It’s something that’s popular to a certain degree, especially with the underground. So anything that gets popular in hip-hop, you know we’re going to try to get money off of it. As hip-hop artists, we’re like, ‘If we can make money off of it, let’s try it.’ They’ll have video games and apps. That’s a check. I see why people do it because it’s a check but I don’t know how you can really do it by having a battle rap game or application. I don’t see how that would really be dope. To be honest. Even online, people would have online battles where you type out the words and to me, that’s something I never was interested in…I want to hear the music and the lyrics. The whole idea of being in a battle rap is being surounded by a bunch of people. But if someone can do it and make money off of it, f*ck it, more power to them.” (SOHH)
Earlier this week, Houston’s Paul Wall launched his own battle rap application.
Known for his Billboard chart-topping radio hits and the diamond-encrusted “grillz” he made synonymous with hip-hop in 2005, Paul Wall is now the emcee to beat in the new mobile game “Battle Rap Stars”. Using patent-pending voice analysis, the game app can evaluate received vocals and assign a score based on a user’s rhythm, rhyme and vocal presence. The game features five real rappers that users will need to out-perform in order to eventually face Paul Wall in the final round. “Battle Rap Stars” has been developed as a game everybody can play. It even features a karaoke mode for those who cannot come up with an original rap, which feeds lyrics to users as they need them. (Sac Bee)
In September, Rah Digga hit up SOHH and gave five reasons why fans should purchase her own battle rap mobile game, “Straight Spittin.”
“The biggest reason is because you can download it for free. So that’s the top reason there because it’s free. There are Pay-For options but for the most part, you can get into it for free and test it out. You get free trials and are alotted a certain amount of free battles in the free version. You’re allowed to browse through it but I do believe those free trials do expire after so many times. You can go to the $1.99 version which allows you to communicate with everyone else. There’s a little chat community that we have. It also allows you to go to different beats. I believe there are different beat packages you can get if you get tired of rapping to the default beats on there. So you can actually go and purchase a beat from known producers. I believe the $4.99 version allows you to practice in a rehearsal mode and you can store those onto a memory card. So whatever is going on in the App, you can store it on that version. The $1.99 version is a step below that. And with the free version, you get some trials.” (SOHH 5 Reasons)
Locksmith is most known for building a buzz in the battle scene around the early 2000’s.
Locksmith first gained mainstream notice in 2003 when he made it to the final round in the MTV’s Freestyle Battle Championship. After qualifying locally at an event hosted by Bay Area radio station KMEL, Lock flew mostly under the radar until he made it to the final round to battle Reignman. Controversy erupted following the announcement that Locksmith had finished second to Reignman in internet and phone votes, though the official voting figures were never revealed by MTV. (Wikipedia)
Check out some recent Locksmith footage below: