The DJ Battle

The battle is an essential part of the Hip-Hop culture. MC’s, B-Boys, Graffiti artists and DJ’s have been battling each other for decades. Battling can show that you have the necessary skills to prove yourself in your field, but it can also display that you’re willing to go out on a limb and perform in front of a crowd or audience – even if you don’t truly believe you can win. Regardless, entering a battle should earn you respect especially if you came prepared and gave it your best.

Real vs Fake | I wish I could say that fake battles were born in the digital age but they have existed since I can remember. You know, the type of battles that club promoters throw and are nothing but a lame attempt at getting DJ’s, who don’t know any better, to perform for free. You can immediately tell is a fake battle if they ask you to do a set that’s longer than 3-5 minutes. Another sign is the famous guest list. Also, beware of entering a “battle” that is being judged on crowd participation. A battle should have judges who at least understand the fundamentals of what they’re judging.

The Benefits | The main benefit should be respect even if you’re not the winner of the battle but obviously a trophy or prizes are always nice. I’ve seen and been a part of battles where bragging rights are all you get – and that’s actually fine too. Remember, that is the essence of Hip-Hop.

The Elements Of The Battle | I’m not going to go too much into specifics because I believe you should be as creative as possible. But, in my opinion, a battle should have some kind of intro. It lets the crowd, judges and your main opponent know what’s about to happen. It can build suspense. Your battle set can be built around a theme. You can even use props and body tricks if you like, but they should show skill nonetheless. They should add to your performance and should be based on skills, not gimmick. I believe a battle set should definitely involve some scratching, juggling, anything to make your set stand out. Also, it should have some kind of ending. Program your battle set so it plays entirely in the amount of time you’re given. Finally, make sure you follow the guidelines of the battle if there are any. You wouldn’t want to lose on a technicality.

Accept The Result | Whether you win or lose, you should be humble and accept the judges decision. After all, if you’re not willing to do so, you’re better off not entering the battle in the first place. I’ve seen sore losers in my time, but even people who win and think they should have lost are losers in my opinion. This is why it’s important you know ahead of time who will be judging the battle so you can accept the outcome.