Wadeoradio.com event and concert recaps usually revolve around CHH concerts and events, but we decided to recap an event different from the norm. It is no lesser than the events we usually recap, but it is one that is unique. One in which not a lot of Christians are comfortable entering or are welcomed into with open arms. It is the battle league culture. Often plagued by references to gun bars, sex, money and drugs, there are other artists who are delivering thought-provoking bars that compel the listener and viewer.
If you’re familiar or have been keeping up with CHH as of recently, there have been Christian hip hop artists entering the Battle league arenas to not only showcase their skills but to be a light in a dark place. This is something that is not new, as others have done it in the past, but it does not mean that there isn’t some push back from both Christians and non-believers.
The most popular as of recent is New York artist and battle rapper Th3 Saga. He has been turning heads and impressing naysayers with his lyricism and word play on the highest battle league platform there is; The URL (Ultimate Rap League: The World’s Most Respected MC Battle Arena). In March, he went up against New Jersey rapper Shotgun Suge in the Rookies v. Vets matchup, and won the battle, with majority of the votes from viewers.
Then there is Grand Prairie, TX native Mitchell West aka Street Hymns, a newcomer to the Dallas Fort-Worth Battle League who is climbing up the leagues top-tier roster. The battle that propelled him to the top was against another up and comer within the league, named D.C.. Hymns’ battle against D.C. has been viewed over ninety-five thousand times.
On Saturday, May 23, Hymns recently participated in his fifth battle within the league and was placed as the main event against Plan Nein. An atheist rapper who is known for his cadence, wordplay, and aggression. Many were excited for this battle because both rappers have held their own and have become standouts within the league.
At first glance, in my opinion, the battle looked as if it were to be promoted as evil v. good. Whatever the plan for its promotion, it was one that delivered on its main event attraction.
It was a rainy Saturday evening, but many gathered to attend the battle. For some, the environment can be very intimidating or possibly uncomfortable, as you’re surrounded by smoke and people constantly cursing. But regardless of what might be occurring in the room, the battle league welcomes people into the fold. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves, hear some dope bars, support their favorite battle rapper, and my favorite, have “come to view the BODY!” (As said by DFWBL rapper Lio.)
Prior to the battles, Street Hymns, Ki’Shon Furlow, and supporters pray for the night and that the Gospel may go forth. It is a common practice that is done before each battle, as it is Hymns’ main reason he entered the battle league arena in the first place.
Five other battles occurred before the main event, as DFWBL rapper Ron Swish aka the Rookie Slayer, went up against B Will, and won the crowd over with his confidence and bars. Others were a little bit more comical as Txrill Chuco and Lio faced off against one another. Most of the content within the battles consisted of gun bars, sex, and rappers proclaiming that they are better than their counterparts. The crowd was very receptive to the battles and chimed in any time they heard a dope or funny line.
Plan Nein V. Street Hymns
Between each battle, people can talk or go out to get some fresh air. The battle between Plan Nein and Hymns took a little longer to start, as we were waiting for someone to show up. From those who remained inside, anticipation was building for the battle to begin. Well, for me it was.
The crowd finally came back into the venue and anxiously gathered around. The battle’s host for the night hushed the crowd and began to speak. The two rappers introduced themselves for the camera and audience, flipped a coin, and Hymns was set to start his round first.
Hymns has become known for his lyricism, punchlines, and word play. And during his rounds, he held nothing back, seeming more confident than past battles. His delivery was stronger and his lines wittier. So witty, that Hymns brought along props. Street played upon Plan Nein’s name and dunned a skull cap and gloves, similar to what Nein was wearing. The crowd enthusiastically egged him on. And a slight smirk could be seen on Nein’s face for Hymns rendition of him. The crowd excitingly shouted, “Talk that CHURCH!” any time Street delivered a nice line.
Hymns delivered a great performance, and Plan Nein delivered as well. Some could say that it was an even match. Depending on which round you choose. Nein’s aggression and wordplay painted a canvas of darkness. The crowd’s reaction varied from shouts of agreement, to shock and confusion. Plan Nein also added some clever funny lines that had the crowd hype. Some even shouted, “Talk that Non-believer!” It was definitely an entertaining battle.
After the battle ended, both rappers dapped one another up and talked with the crowd, as other battle rappers within the league encouraged them and gave them respect for their bars. The battle league culture is an interesting one. It is where bars, flow, and delivery define your skill set, and where one mistake can cost you the battle and respect. No one ever wants to choke, because they will continue to remind you in the next battle you decide to take.
From a distance, we can judge individuals easily. We can look at their sin or the way that they live their life, and think that we’re better than them. But we’re not. These are individuals who are made in the image of God and are also in need of the Gospel. And for those who are confident enough to engage them regardless of the push back, are making a difference, even if they know it or not.
Those who came to support Street Hymns engaged in conversation with others and were even able to preach the Gospel, one-on-one. Beautiful are their feet for taking the Gospel to those who may have never heard or refuse to hear it.
Romans 10:14-15 – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?”
Battles like Plan Nein and Street Hymns bring more to the table and to the rap battle culture. They brought opposing views that challenged the listener to think outside of what they’re used to hearing. And I’m not down playing any of the battles that occurred, because they all provided some pretty dope bars, but this may have been a heavier, content wise, battle viewers or even the league was expecting. Hymns came from a Christian worldview as Nein came from an atheist, sometimes evolutionist, point of view.
There are no judges who judge the battle; it is all up to the crowd. It was a good battle in which both rappers went toe to toe with one another. The crowd fed off of them very well, and I believe that it depends on who you thought brought the heat better to determine the winner.
Stay tuned to Wadeoradio.com for the release of the video between Plan Nein and Street Hymns.