When Shotty Horroh and Arsonal faced off at Don’t Flop’s 4th Birthday Weekend event there was a massive buzz around the battle. Arsonal was the most viewed battler in the world, and Shotty Horroh was one of Don’t Flop’s finest up and comers.
Even then, the most optimistic fans wouldn’t have thought it would be where it is now – far and away the most popular mainstream English-language rap battle.
Arsonal himself boasted within the clash that “In a few days the whole world will see what these cameras capturin’, a million views guaranteed and I bet you they want me back again”. Little did he know that nearly four years later this battle would be sitting on 9 million views and still growing.
Some people believe the battle is so highly viewed because it got off to a great start, and casual fans are attracted to the high view count, which results in an endless cycle of growth. Others believe it is down to mainstream endorsements from massive names such as Rizzle Kicks and Deadmau5. Others are under the impression that it is so highly viewed simply because it is the best battle of all time. I am one of those people.
Before this battle, nobody had ever even heard the phrase “They said I wasn’t gonna show up, well that’s what the talk was about”. Shotty’s graveyard was just a plot of land other, less imaginative battlers, had ignored.
Shotty’s rounds perfectly blends humour and seriously clever writing, while the crowd hang on his every word. The most impressive thing about Shotty’s performance is the effortlessness. A lot of battlers can rap. A lot of battlers have fantastic writing. But it is the combination of the two at their peak in this performance that makes Shotty Horroh stand out above the rest.
Arsonal’s performance in this battle is arguably his best of all time, which is a testament to how seriously he took this battle. His rounds are not only longer than Shotty’s, but they are perfectly polished, with Da Rebel at no point looking in any way uncomfortable.
One of the most impressive things about Ars’ performance here is the accessibility of his content. His bars in this battle are impressive to “seasoned” fans but also impactful to the average rap fan who is watching their first ever battle.
These bars mixed with his top-notch delivery are shown perfectly when Ars goes into a rapid-fire mode, getting right in Shotty’s face and rapping “You a herb, I’m a smoker though/I’m walking round with a Pinocchio/ That’s a long range with a long nose so I’m hitting targets in Tokyo” There is no extremely complicated wordplay but the way Ars delivers this bar shook the foundations of Cable.
Fans still argue to this day who the winner of the battle was, some change their mind every time they watch the battle. The closeness of the battle adds to the replay value with some fans feeling they have to watch it again until they decide on a definite winner.
Don’t Flop is known worldwide for their high-energy crowds, and this battle is a perfect representation of why they have such a good reputation. The crowd react accordingly to every bar with both performers feeding off the energy the crowd brought. The fans were there to react and the battlers were there to perform and both did their job brilliantly. With many people claiming this is the best battle of all time, the fans that were there on the day played a massive part and add a special vibe to the battle.
With battle rap fans being such an opinionated bunch, there is never going to be a definite best battle of all time. But with the views still growing on this one, and the debate as strong as ever as to who won, when compiling a top 5, it would be near impossible to ignore this one.