The Russian battle rap - MS competitions in which participants should humiliate the opponent as efficiently as possible - is experiencing its heyday, videos on Versus Battle and #SLOVOSPB YouTube channels are gaining tens of millions of views, and the number of subscribers to their public posts on VKontakte is steadily growing. But at the moment, rap battles remain male territory: girls in this environment are considered a rarity. Life around talked with the participants of the #SLOVOSPB battle about how it feels to be a woman in the masculine environment of Russian battles and why vulnerability is not a barrier to victory.
Who and how does rap battles in St. Petersburg
I am 24 years old, I come from Moscow, but always really wanted to move to Peter. For half a year now I’ve lived, looked closely, felt terrible St. Petersburg frosts, but I didn’t change my mind to live there permanently. I had to return to Moscow because of my pregnancy, because I have parents here. I studied at vocational schools, as such, I do not have education, and now I do not work. I’m sitting at home, taking care of myself before giving birth.
My passion for rap began with the fact that I sang. Once my friends noticed that I was muttering a melody under my breath and invited a vocalist to the group. Then they offered to read out already under the finished bit and text - I liked it. It was an online battle, and it so happened that my three friends, who also applied, did not qualify for the second round. Only I escaped. At the next stage, I had to write the text myself - it was just awful, I had no idea how to do it, but then it dragged on. And rushing on this topic so far.
Then online battles lost their relevance and offline battles - Versus Battle and #SLOVOSPB - entered into fashion. Then the video was not as popular as it is now: computers were weaker, no one really watched videos on YouTube, just sat on the forums and discussed each other's tracks. And Versus Battle and #SLOVOSPB really changed the layout. I liked this format, so I decided to try it too.
Online and offline battles are completely different things. Offline battles are closer to stand-up, poetry or even boxing.
And online battles are a bit of a music contest where they choose the best out of many applicants. At first, the organizers of offline battles made a very serious mistake. Restaurateur and Den Cheney (organizers of Versus Battle and #SLOVOSPB, respectively. - approx. ed.) They took guys to real battles who showed themselves well exclusively on the Internet, and in no case should you do this. At Versus, you need to invite people who are primarily able to play on the camera, and not pick up good music for the text.
You can not compare online and offline battles. It’s like asking what you like best: go shopping or cook. In preparation for the real battle, you need to stand in front of the mirror, look at your facial expressions, dig info on the person, try to find some kind of locks. That will offend or unsettle him. I think that if a person decided to go to the battle, then he should be ready for absolutely everything. It is strange to go to fight and take offense that you were hit somewhere in the wrong place.
When I battled with Julia Kiwi, I tried not to take her text at my own expense, but to evaluate it from a third-person perspective. I could check out the jokes - terribly tough, of course, but, damn it, funny! For example, there was a punch that I accidentally became pregnant from my father because I confused him in the dark with my grandfather. I think if my grandfather or dad hear this, they’ll just go nuts. But I understand that this is all a show and there are no forbidden topics for battles. There are a lot of taboos in life, and battles just exist to destroy them.
The so-called womanish rap really sucks, and I have not yet proven the opposite. As for discrimination, there are two sides to the coin. On the one hand, nobody takes you seriously. Imagine that I am calling Oksimiron with a serious face to the battle - it's just a dog’s laugh. On the other hand, it’s easier to attract attention because you are a girl. I hope that even if I do not become the best battle rapper, then some girl will see my videos, be inspired and do something really cool. There is women's football and boxing, because the girls are all different and they also want to be realized in life, and not just cook and sit with the children.Video contains profanity
It’s hard for me to talk about Russian rap in general, because now I don’t really listen to anyone. I love rock more, I study its history and all in that spirit. But I really like battles, for example, Oxymiron. He has amazing energy, which makes it clear that he is the face of the Russian battle rap. For me personally, the battle of Oksimiron and Johnnyboy is something transcendental, I reviewed it four times, I guess.
The most difficult part in preparing for a battle is to remember all the words. Although at first it seemed to me that it was more difficult to write the text. In battle recitative there should be a maximum number of shock lines that people will remember. You can still talk some nonsense in the song, and here every syllable is important. To the battle with Julia Kiwi, I wrote the text somewhere in a week, but this was not enough. In addition, when I began to teach him, it turned out that I was pregnant, and it morally crippled me. These are two completely different states - something very feminine and fighting readiness for the fact that you are now in front of a bunch of people who will carry another girl and tell her nasty things. At that time it was hard to learn the text and speak. I smoke and drink alcohol when I'm worried, but because of the child, I could not do either one or the other. Therefore, I went to the battle sober. And everything flew out of my head, I didn’t even read the half of the text. In general, at the battle you feel like a shooter after school.
I still have not watched my battle with Julia Kiwi, although more than six months have passed. It seems to me that in that video I have a nervous tick, it's just a pity. But next time it will be easier, because I will not be pregnant anymore.
The girl on the battle may look as she is comfortable. If you participate in such competitions, you won’t have any thoughts on how to dress, because most likely you are a person who does not care what they think about him. I am amused by girls who put on battle dresses. Oh look, I'm a girl! And then we did not notice. Also, I do not understand girls who dress like men. One must be a woman, but not rush to extremes.
There are no men with whom I would like to battle. With the girls it’s somehow funnier. And what's the point of doing this to a guy? This is the last thing. If you win the girl - do not care for everyone, and if you lose - they will call them a moron.
There are some typical insults that can be used against a girl in a battle. The first is to crap your appearance: you have small tits and a mustache, for example. The second is, of course, to call a whore. Third - we can say that she is a lesbian. Well, the fourth is to mention sex with her dad. I use all these cliches, but I try to touch on the characteristics of a particular person. This is exactly what Oxymiron does, literally breaking down each opponent in pieces.
I am 22 years old, now I study and work. I entered a magistracy related to information technology, and I work as an engineer of the first category. In general, among those who engage in battles, IT specialists are very common - Purulent, for example.
I started to get involved in rap at the age of 15. I tried to record the tracks myself, but they were terrible. Then she entered Petersburg and started watching battles on the Internet. There were very few girls in this area, and those who were doing such banal nonsense that even I could have been no worse. Therefore, I decided to go and try.
When I just started to get involved in rap, I listened to SD, Creep-a-Creep, Kazhe Obojmu, Oksimiron. Now there are too many performers. Previously, the tracks were either emotional or hard, but now everyone is chasing trends. Every month, rappers try new styles without settling in any of them. Everyone is trying to attract the attention of social networks, not creativity. I don’t listen to Scriptonite at all. I do not like it when it is impossible to make out what the rapper read out there. But he, of course, is a stylish man, so colorful. ATL is also interesting. That's about bees and twerk - some kind of perfect game, but there are a lot of good.
There is such a tradition: battle rappers write tracks worse, and those who write tracks cannot always perform normally on a battle. There are unique people who can do everything, but their minority. I also tried to record something, but I did not like the result. Maybe because she did everything herself: she sat at home, wrote down, mixed. Now, of course, you can try again, because they listen to it. After all, people are constantly asking to record a track, they throw me minuses, beatmakers offer cooperation. But when I start thinking about what exactly I want to say, nothing comes to mind. And to produce shit is reluctance about anything.
It’s really hard for guys to fight against a girl - just like for me to fight against them. At first, I had to prove all the time that I was not just a girl, but a real rapper. Many girls on battles initially misbehave: "Ah, I'm so cute, do not judge strictly!" By this they immediately belittle themselves. Therefore, I tried from the first battles to show that I came not to show off, but to fight on equal terms. It’s hard to prove it, because nobody takes you seriously.Video contains profanity
When they say something bad to me in a battle, I understand that this is a competition, and I am tuned to skip my ears because it is confusing and you can forget the text. Guys, when they hear insults from a girl, take it closer to their hearts. They are also very dependent on the noise of the crowd. If my opponent read some punch and the crowd rejoices, then I do not understand this as joy about my moral destruction. They just appreciated his joke. And if I say some kind of punch and the crowd explodes, then the guy thinks that everyone is opposed to him: worries, loading, this is very noticeable.
And so we have good guys at #SLOVOSPB. They perceive me not just as a girl in their midst, but as a highlight.
I used to look at the opponent’s page on VKontakte in front of the battle, interrupted notes and photos, but over time it became a vlom to do this. If they tell me something or show me, I will take into account and use in the text. But poking around in someone else's life is no longer so interesting. At first, just jokes were relevant in battles, then battles on facts from the biography, then they began to prepare long flips-answers - everything goes in a spiral. Now it’s fashionable to smear famous people who came to the battle to see.
And in general, it’s one thing to say that your mother is not good. And another thing is to say: "I found your mother on VKontakte, her name is Olga Gennadyevna, and she went with some left-wing man to Turkey." You need to know the line. So far, there are no forbidden topics on battles, but, I think, censorship will soon reach us. In principle, opponents can pre-agree on what topics should not be addressed, but this is rarely done. That's when there were these battles on the facts of biography, all around were digging up nonexistent things or lying. They invented something themselves and as a result no longer understood what they were carrying.
I am a pretty secretive person and I have a lot of tough things in the past. If someone knew about them, he could use it in a very unpleasant way. I always remember them and am afraid that this may come up on the battle, but so far this has not happened. Here was one fairly well-known battle in Rostov, on which the girl burst into tears. She was about 16 years old, she came to the battle to bargain with her face, and she did not particularly hide it. She didn’t seem to read so well until a certain point, and then the opponent said that her father left the family because he is an alcoholic. And that’s all. She burst into tears and ran away. In the comments, everyone defended her, but, in my opinion, this is nonsense. Where did you go? What did you expect to hear?
I'm generally quite vulnerable. Even if a stranger tells me something bad in passing, I can boot up, cry. It was very annoying all my life. But battles help me to relate more critically. When you are repeatedly told nasty things in the face and 200 people are happy about this, you begin to perceive everything easier.