Battle rap: The good, the troubling and the future of the art form

David J. Dennis Jr., A. Harmony and Addi "Mindbender" Stewart join Tom Power to unpack battle rap's history, evolution and some of its controversies.
Bodied is a battle-rap comedy-drama produced by Eminem. (YouTube Premium)

As with a lot of people, your first introduction to battle rap might have been from Eminem's 2002 film 8 Mile. Battle rap is where two opponents go head-to-head and use their lyrics to taunt each other in front of a live audience who decides which one wins. 

The battle rap scene started out in little hole-in-the-wall venues, but in the last few years it's exploded into a huge industry. Now, heavyweights like Drake and Diddy are involved. 

This month is a big one for battle rap in Canada. A famous league called King of the Dot just turned 10 and there's a new battle rap movie out called Bodied, produced by Eminem.

Culture critic David J. Dennis Jr. and Toronto-based writers and rappers A. Harmony and Addi "Mindbender" Stewart join Tom Power to talk about the history of battle rap, its evolution and some of its controversies. 

Produced by Tyrone Callender

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