Sometimes, you have to wait for the smoke to clear in order to truly assess something in a correct manner. By now, I am sure many of you have heard of the Canibus debacle. For those that may not have, here is the long, and short of it. Canibus, who is an established recording artist with 11 albums under his belt, decided on June 9th to hop in the ring with Dizaster, a previously relatively unknown rapper in the underground freestyle battle circuit. The results of this battle shocked the hip hop world. Canibus came out as the loser, being completely bested by Dizaster. It wasn’t even close. It came to be the stuff of legend, as Canibus would forfeit the battle, pulling out a notepad because he couldn’t remember his rhymes. http://blog.the-coli.com/the-canibus-dizaster/
It became a meme online. Canibus, the greatest battle rapper of the past 15 years, forgot his bars. It was the joke of the past couple of weeks. It shows that Masta Bus, the mechanical mandible, was completely unprepared to rip it, and the results were disastrous. While many can argue whether or not Canibus is done as an artist, I want to use this instance to point out one thing. The definition of freestyle has changed, and it is not what it used to be.
This is an opportunity to illustrate that the state of freestyling is pretty much dead in the rap game. True freestyle is not carried out. Nowadays, everyone is remembering stuff they write down, and weaving it in to their rhyme schemes along with personal jabs and off color jokes. No one goes into an a cappella freestyle battle nowadays going completely off the top. In today’s battle rap terrain, there are a number of rappers who skillfully work in rhyme schemes laced with jokes, double entendre, and put downs.
There is a reason why no one freestyles. Who would risk walking into a battle unprepared? If you can think of and memorize hard punch lines before the battle, learn about your opponents beforehand, why wouldn’t you? Would you go to war with no weapons? So, everybody lyrically arms up, and the primary emphasis is on getting the win, not proving who is nicer off the top of the head.
When you are a recording artist, you can have your own lines used against you. Much like what happened in this battle. Also factor in, that the crowd is being played in a battle, and who came the hardest is often determined by who won over the crowd. Why risk freestyling in this context when you can wow the crowd? Freestyle in the traditional sense is spontaneously rhyming and improvising while using stuff around you, and talking about any and everything.
What I am essentially saying is that the battle element has become more important, and the freestyle element has taken a back seat. It’s really not about the skill of the rapper nowadays. The underground battle rap scene has more in common with WildN’Out than the traditional Lyricist Lounge format.
Canibus and Dizaster are from two different eras. The freestyle game is changed from when Canibus was on the underground circuit back in the mid-90s Canibus was saying stuff in general that could have sounded like he was going against anybody. That is really his style of rap, while Dizaster is personal, in your face, and all his lines were aimed directly at Canibus.
In my opinion, the outcome of this battle does not invalidate the things that Canibus has done in hip hop.
And a note to those of you out there who think Canibus is “done” because of this battle, you’re wrong. Even though Bis completely imploded during the event, and embarrassed himself by pulling out a notepad, he’s not done. One battle gone wrong does not erase 14 years in the game, 11 albums, countless mix-tape appearances, and not to mention several collaboration albums.
The only thing we can say now, is that he doesn’t have to credibility to spit battle tracks like that anymore, but there is still his scientific, futuristic subject matter to continue on with. Although Hitler was extremely disappointed, and will throw away his copy of Rip The Jacker, I wont be.
I’ll still be checking for Rip The Jacker 2, and the album after that. I just will be smirking a little bit if he still talks about being the “illest.”
Most importantly, if you remember only one thing from this post, let it be this: don’t forget your bars.
(Note: The following video is explicit in nature and does not reflect in any form the opinions, nor is it representative of Eat Your Serial, Inc. Parental Advisory suggested)
The battle starts at 7:20
(Before the battle, a blogger predicts Dizaster will win)