Courtesy of Superb Wallpaper
In 2003 my cousin told me that most people talk smack on the phone and in the car. Back then I agreed. Before the Facebook, YouTube, & Twitter boom, smack talking was limited to a few media outlets. Fast-forward ten years later, and I am refuting my cousin’s statement by emphatically saying that most people talk smack online, period. The Internet has become increasingly volatile in recent years, in the world of virtual communities & blogs, where say, Tom from Connecticut and Bill from Nebraska, who will never meet in their entire lives, can go head-up in a verbal Armageddon of slanderous commentary toward each other, and most of the time other people, about something that has no particular importance or value to overall society. In Internet jargon this is called Trolling. The Internet is the ideal place to do this because it creates a world of detached experiences, where bloggers can spew unrelenting hate purely for the sake of hating, towards an individual, groups of people, public figures and celebrities, from the virtual safety bubbles of their PCs and laptops, without having to ever meet face to face with the person on the other side.
Being a fan and critic of Battle Rap, I find this topic interesting, especially being entrenched in the Battle Rap world, where spewing hate is celebrated. Chris, who is arguably the most popular Battle Rap blogger, and the owner of “Unbias Review”, says that, it should be noted that fans have undoubtedly helped the culture to grow, but he explains that, fans have also help to ruin the experience of enjoying battles because of unwarranted insults towards battle rappers. He goes on to explain that in the early days of Battle Rap instigating factions didn’t easily sway fans’ opinions. “It’s the new people” to some degree, that aren’t familiar with Battle Rap that bring this element to the game, Chris says. The rhetoric of fans wasn’t that of discord and mockery of battle rappers a short time ago. For example, K-Shine’s last battle with Big T was his worst on record. Some fans were discounting him, not even taking into account his catalogue of work over the years. And this becomes the pattern. A battle rapper can have a slew of good battles and a couple of bad ones and automatically he’s the worst battle rapper ever. I admit that some criticism is definitely warranted, especially when battlers don’t come with third rounds, but the bulk of criticism that battle rappers get comes from an entirely different place. I call it the “band-wagon” effect. Someone sees a comment that has a few likes and all of sudden their in cahoots with the masses; they hop on the band-wagon.
Trolls do not apply to all fans. Battle Rap probably has some of the most loyal fans on earth, including the Trolls. It has gone from an underground phenomenon, starting off in city parks with low quality camera footage, to a recognized art form that’s slowly transitioning into the mainstream. Without fans this surely would not have happened.
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Trolls have unrealistic expectations of these Internet celebrities. They sit behind computers all day and find ways to stir up dissension. They vicariously live out their fantasies of being Battle Rap legends through battlers and when they’re disappointed they lash out as though they were failed. Let me be clear and say that I think that it’s cool to be able to poke fun at and tease some of these battle rappers because some of them need to be. But it’s not cool to hate for the sake of hating. Unwarranted criticism and slanderous commentary from Trolls won’t kill the game but it leaves a lingering stench that distracts us from what we love so much about Battle Rap and keeps us focused on the smelling the b.s.
Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group
Twitter @BttleRapHistory & @SavoyMediaGroup