Classic hip-hop, especially that of the late 70s and early 80s, is not known for battle rapping. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist, as Grandmaster Caz explained in a recent interview with VladTV.

Caz cites the beef between Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee as a turning point in the evolution of battle rap.

“Battling became a little more personal, man-against-man, when Kool Moe Dee battled Busy Bee at Harlem World back in the day. That was really the first definitive battle. Directly ‘I’m talking about you. I’m talking about how you lied about such and such. And who you think you are. And such and such. And you ain’t the.’ That’s when that really [happened].”

Before this, battling was more about a test of skill and who the better emcee was. Rather than directly insulting your opponent, Caz says it really was about who was more lyrical; who was fresher?

“It’s about me being a better emcee than you,” he said. “Not how much I can talk about you, disrespect you, downgrade you. It’s about how lyrical I am. That’s what an emcee battle is supposed to be about. 

This feeds into the on-going debate on how hip-hop has evolved, and the comparison of modern artists to those of past. Join in and let us know what you think!

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