Physical Violence in Battles Gets Views – So, Why Doesn’t It Happen More Often?

This week, Don’t Flop crossed the  100 million view threshold, a remarkable feat considering the movement’s underground origins. But perhaps even more remarkable is that, despite having 1330 uploads, roughly 8% of those views can be attributed to just one battle – Shotty Horroh vs Arsonal.

More curious still, judging by the viral success of this week’s release – a two-on-two clash between Charron/100 Bulletz and DNA/K-Shine – Arsonal and Shotty could have taken Don’t Flop to their centennial anniversary much quicker if only they’d gone about the battle just a little differently…

As skilled as the two Canucks and their opponents are, there’s no question that the half-million views they’ve amassed in a matter of days has little to do with Charron’s freestyle ability. The reason this battle has so many views – the reason that Complex, The Source and everyone else in the world of hip-hop media has covered it – is because of the half-hearted slap K-Shine landed on Charron about 40 seconds before the battle was brought to a stuttering end.

All of which begs the question: if Don’t Flop are willing to do anything for views, as  suggested by KOTD president Organik, why is violence in battle rap so rare? After all, high profile violence in battling is so infrequent that you can count occurrences on the fingers attached to K-Shine’s open palm.

If battle rap organisers, Don’t Flop included, are so hungry for views, then surely it stands to reason that staff and battlers would in some way drive that agenda. If it truly was anything for the views, it stands to reason Shotty Horroh would have ‘banged out’ Arsonal, when the Newark rapper was so desperately disrespectful about Shotty’s dead uncle. It stands to reason that he’d have done to same to Fingaz at World Domination 3.

Not only that, but it stands to reason that Willzy should have stormed the stage when Big J said the n-word against Uno Lavoz, picked him above his head and tossed him into the crowd. It stands to reason that when Soul and Caustic reunited on stage a few weeks ago at the DF 7th Birthday, to settle the scuffle they shared in 2012, all hell would have broken loose.

Unfortunately, the truth is a bitter pill to swallow – and there’s none more bitter than the reality that sometimes the world is not as harsh as the cynical perceive it to be. For the cynics, it is nearly impossible to reconcile their perspective with the reality that the vast majority of battlers and fans alike, watch battle rap because they love the culture, not for the unseemly sideshows that occur whenever somebody loses their temper.

Make no mistake, that’s what this incident boils down to. Not a concerted effort to cultivate the views that come with a slot on World Star Hip Hop; not a plot to turn battle rap into the WWE and certainly not a set-up to put somebody in harm’s way – as was alleged when Dizaster struck Math Hoffa for (seemingly) no reason at all on the Fresh Coast.

In fact, if you actually watch the incident, there is little doubt that K-Shine’s swat (calling it a slap is a little generous) was impromptu and unplanned. Charron clearly didn’t expect to have the toy gun knocked out of his hand, K-Shine certainly didn’t expect to have his cap knocked off, and nobody anticipating the match expected it to end in a physical altercation.

But once word got out that things in Atlanta had taken the strangest of turns, fans the world over sat behind their keyboards, took time to deliberate and explain, at length, why Charron was to blame; why K-Shine was to blame, and how, if it had been them, they’d have put the smack down on the other guy right away. Because, as we all know, few things are more important than telling the internet how tough you are.

Charron has pulled out Grape Street Crip colours against Arsonal, he goes around pocket-checking everyone, and now he’s de-cap-itated a (former) member of Dot Mobb – it’s about time we accepted that ‘Ottawa’s Finest Freestyler’ doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions – so why on earth should we? Charron is prepared to take the risk of getting hurt, knowing full well that he will never escalate the altercation.

Love him or hate him, when Charron takes to the stage, he isn’t up there to protect his pride.  And it’s not like K-Shine flew to Atlanta looking to drink milk and cause fights but then ran out of milk. And it’s certainly not like somebody set up a battle featuring these guys thinking “yeah, this is how we’re gonna get those sweet violence views.”

No, the simple answer as why violence is so rare in battle rap – and why the ‘anything for views’ mentality is so misplaced – is that with few exceptions, the battle rap fraternity doesn’t write, rehearse, perform, pay to attend events or log into YouTube so they can be part of a watered down nightclub scuffle.

Maybe the mainstream media will only pay attention to battling when things descend into violence. With that in mind, it’s all the more impressive that the artists, organisers and fans are so committed to the art form we all love; and that violence in battling is so rare that a wussy half-slap thrown at the face of a guy who doesn’t even care, can become so rapidly notorious.

Words by Carl Kinsella

Follow me on Twitter: @TVsCarlKinsella

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