Welcome Back: Lord Of The Mics 4
Battle rapping started in the 70’s in the inner cities in America, then as grime was born in the UK, artists created their own version of battle rapping, known as clashing. This is what Lord of the Mics is all about. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner recently went to east London's Boxpark to speak with founders Jammer and Ratty as well as three of the MC’s on Lord of the Mics 4 - Discarda, Jaykae and Lady Killer...
With chart-topping names previously being featured on LOTM such as Wiley, Kano, Tinchy Stryder and Skepta, it shows how big of a platform it is. Jammer tells me, “It helps the artist get out to a wider audience and be accepted in a wider audience. It’s what they do after that, its bringing awareness to the artist, once that’s there they can use it.”
Discarda agrees with Jammer that it helps push MC’s into an audience where they might not have been seen before, as he explains; “There is a new fanbase now, a young fanbase that will hopefully see me. If they like me they like me... they might not like me but it still introduces me to their fans.”
Lady Killer also spoke to me, revealing what she wants to do next: “I’m not going to let this opportunity slip; I’m going to use it to its full advantage. I’m going to release a mixtape in early 2013. I’m in the studio recording tunes and making sure they are good enough for the people.”
So what does it take to make it onto the DVD? Co-founder Ratty tells me simply, “You just got to be making a buzz for yourself and have talent. If you’re being noticed then we’ll take notice.”
Jammer says if you are working hard, then you “deserve the chance to be on there and get the promotion to the wider audience.” Other factors for him that come into it are ‘work ethic, talent, flow, and quirkiness.”
With clashing, it’s also about entertainment and how MC’s can use their lyrics to get to their opponent – usually giving the audience some laughs along the way. Last year’s edition saw a few of those ‘incidents’ and Ratty reveals, "There are loads of funny moments.”
Jaykae, who clashes Discarda, says he doesn’t take the disses personally: “I know it’s not true. Obviously he’s going to have to say a few things he don’t mean and I’m going to say a few things I don’t mean. Invasion are the best in Brum.”
In terms of preparation and content, some of the MC’s I spoke to had been clashing for a long time and weren’t nervous at all. Jaykae said, “A lot of people say that’s what I’m built for and that’s where I shine the best, I’m real good at clashing. I made loads of food in my house and smoked weed, chilled out and wrote loads of bars.”
Lady Killer gave an insight into the content she focused on for clashing Shocker, saying: “I wanted to focus on the fact that I wasn’t going to call her a tomboy and what people expected; I was going to say that ‘you’re not really that, you’re a girly girl and you wear skirts and nail varnish so don’t pretend.’”
Discarda went for a different approach and used his humour: “I’m a bit of a comedian, I just think of funny things. He’s got Sox in his crew, who’s well known established MC; I brought him into a couple of bars to hype it up a bit.”
This year will be the first time that LOTM feature females, namely Lady Killer and Lady Shocker. I ask Lady Killer why she thinks she was picked as one of the first: “I think I’m versatile; I’m different to a lot of female MC’s. I’m a unique MC. I’ve got a totally different flow; I change my flow every two minutes."
However, she admits: “It’s a male dominated game really. I do think males don’t take females as seriously as they do other males MC’s.”
One of the most talked about clashes this year is between Jaykae and Discarda; Jay explained why the pair were put against each other: “I understand why they put us together because in London he is the person who will shut down the raves and in Birmingham I’m the person who shuts down the raves. Us two banging heads automatically - that’s going to go off.”
Whilst many participants on Lord of the Mics went on to release commercial hits, such as Wiley, Jammer says he is not interested in diluting their music: “It is bringing back the element of the big underground smashes, unmixed, edgy bass music. It just brought back that element, it’s the raw talent in its raw form and it’s exciting again.
“People are into it because it’s natural, it’s not manufactured. That’s how it was back in the day… someone would make a track then it would go through to the clubs, blast there and a major would take it on. Then it would come out in the mainstream and cross over.”
Ratty concludes: “It keeps the real essence of grime; we don’t try and make it into the mainstream. Hopefully the fans will buy it and it will get into the charts.”
You can pre-order your copy now.
Words: Shireen Fenner (@Shireenxoxo)