Pretty Much Pop #71: Rap Battles w/ Sacrifice (Tyler Hislop)

Mark, Erica, and Brian are rejoined by our audio editor Tyler to discuss a form of entertainment close to his heart: Priming the rhymes to deliver the crimes: an attack on the character, caring not what-you-wear, anywhere, hug-a-bear… man, battle rap is difficult!

So what are the rules? How does modern battle rap compare to free-styling and the beefs aired on rap albums (and insult comedy)? What’s the appeal, and is it because of or despite the aggression involved? Battle rap is regarded as a free speech zone, where anything’s fair game, but does that really make sense?

A few relevant films came up in the discussion:

  • Bodied (2017), a film written by Alex Larsen (aka Kid Twist) and produced by Eminem, featuring several current battle rappers doing their thing along with discussion by the characters of the ethical issues involved
  • 8 Mile (2002), a semi-autobiographical film starring Eminem, which displays the older, free-styling over a beat type of battle rapping
  • Roxanne Roxanne (2017) a biopic about Roxanne Shante depicting hip-hop rivalries of the 1980s.

Here are some matches Tyler recommended that also get mentioned:

More resources:

Hear Tyler talk about his many rap albums on Nakedly Examined Music #24.

This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by

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