Perspective is an easy thing to lose. Especially so when you immerse yourself in a culture and start to see its protagonists not as character-driven entertainers, but targets which form part of your own process of self-affirmation.
If you have ever insulted a battle rapper online for no other reason than you thought they could take it, I’m here to tell you that I comprehend the thought process which allowed it to happen. I really do. As most people only experience one aspect of (for example) Unan’s life; namely that he insults and gets insulted on stage.
The human brain is a magnificent creation but one so powerful that it can fool itself. For in the recesses of even the most feeble and deluded mind is the realisation that Unan is Tommie Villis and that Tommie Villis, does not exist as a communal punching bag for the lonely and destructive. Psychologically the mind is readily duped by video into believing that it has a closer relationship with the distant and pre-recorded than it actually does.
And, propelled by the false assumptions that; Tommie is always Unan, that Unan can take whatever is thrown at him and that being a battle rap fan legitimises whatever opinion they’ve found the energy to develop; they choose to insult the man for being himself.
Unless you have been directly offended by a rapper, you have no right to do this. It’s basically the equivalent to slide tackling a professional footballer you happen to see in Waterstones because his day job “should have prepared him sufficiently.”
Battle rappers are not stoic statues devoid of emotion. The rarefied air of the battling ring may give the impression they are inured against personal attack. But just like a genuine Powerbomb would cause serious spinal injury, real insults cause real hurt.
However, Battle Rap exists as a source of perennial motivation; motivation to write, motivation to search for new rhymes and wordplay, motivation for devotees to analyse bars in a manner alien to the casual rap fan. But because of this constantly surging source of inspiration it’s easy for fans to get carried away and believe that they are funnier, cleverer or more relevant than they actually are. Trust me, this is a natural phenomenon of cerebral chemistry. Ego drives our very existence, so letting it get out of control is not always an act of volition.
When I say that this is easy to do, I am not being facetious or false. I myself have fallen foul of this breakdown in comprehension. Once, I believed I knew a battler better than I actually did. So I insulted him on ViewPoint. For a moment I was smug; revelling in the self-satisfied haze of my own hilarity. Then I received a message from the battler in question. The full weight of my own stupidity came crashing down around me. I grovelled in apology, my scale-less eyes now able to comprehend what a idiot I’d been.
So I know how stupidity can be far from intentional.
But there is a simple dictum, which if adhered to will prevent any unnecessary unpleasantness.
If you wish to insult a battler you have 2 options.
- Do it face to face so that, if they are so inclined, a fight can ensue.
- Become a battler.
There are people who may say that Unan was a bad example to cite. That he brings it on himself. Well, unless he genuinely singles someone out for abuse, then his life needs no extraneous commentary from random individuals. Yes, he provides angles aplenty for various opponents but they never, let me repeat, never fail to take advantage of this.
So having said my piece, I think I’m ready for my try-out.