I’m happy to welcome everybody to the first installment of what I hope can be a prosperous series. The purpose of Heck Media is to give everybody a platform and to promote a diversity in media so we hope this will be a good way to introduce our community to some unique and wildly talented artists.
For our first profile I’ve brought in friend of the site and up-and-coming battle rapper, Blackademiks. He’s a relatively fresh performer having been in the game for just over two years now, but you could never tell by his already packed resumé. Blackademiks hails from Schenectady NY but already he’s performed in battle leagues reaching from Massachusetts, NYC, San Jose, and even the canadian epicenter of culture Toronto. But even after all this success, at the end of the month he’ll be headlining an event in Albany NY, catering to his hometown fans for the first time since the very first performance of his young career.
So I sat down Blackademiks to get the 411 on the whole deal.
-What is battle rap?
Battle rap, on it’s surface, is two rappers who get in the proverbial ring and come with their own rhymes and flow trying to be a better rapper than the opponent by attacking the opponent directly, but that’s just the basics. Battle rap can be for anyone if you take the time to find what works for you. If you like the hard street shit, there’s a rapper out there for you. If you like a “lyrical miracle”, word play, dances on the flow of a rhythm type of person there’s a rapper for you. And if you’re somebody who likes to hear a guy rap about his cats and macaroni and cheese there’s Carter Deems out there for you. It’s such a varied form of entertainment that there’s something there for you if you’re just willing to go looking.
-You have a history in other forms of entertainment such as the theater, so why battle rap?
Battle rap is always something that’s been on the back burner for me it was a niche thing for me. People know about battle rap because of stuff like 8-mile. And there were other random things that you saw, like fight club videos or smack battles on Youtube or WorldStarHipHop and you thought “that’s cool but whatever,” but when I was 21 I was in a friend’s car on our way to pick somebody up and a friend in the front seat ask’s “you into battle rap” and some of my friends were like “yeah, it’s cool I guess” not head over heels or anything but I say “yeah battle rap is cool” so he puts on the first battle I was really conscious of listening to battle rap, Iron Solomon vs Math Hoffa. Which to this day I have like eighty percent of that battle memorized and Iron Solomon was doing what I learned were schemes about Math and different classes and majors. The wordplay was something that I’d never heard before and even though my friends were just like “oh this is cool” I was thinking this is dope and I wrote down their names and once I got home I looked up all of their battles and here we are in 2016 and now I’m a battle rapper.
-You have a unique style, but is there somebody you strive to be like or would that hinder you?
Yes and no, it does hinder you in a way. There are different eras in battle rap, you have people where you have whatever rhymes and you freestyled and you battled whoever in your neighborhood or in clubs or parties and those people are who you see in early smack dvds or fight club or early URL. Fast-forward to somebody like me who watches battle rap and saw these people and said “I want to be like these people,” so my favorites were my influence. I’d probably say Iron Solomon stylistically is one of my biggest influence to what I am as a battle rapper. There are a lot of people who I draw from but if I had to pick one as my biggest influence it would definitely be Iron Solomon.
-So you’ve mentioned some of the leagues, how do they play into battle rap?
It’s a lot like sports in a way, though it’s an art form and not judged any more, I lean the way that it’s kind of a sport because if League of Legends can be a sport, why can’t this be a sport? But essentially the way it works, leagues are the platform you perform on. They set up events where it’s kind of like a boxing card where you have x number of battles leading up to a main event and these battle are usually recorded and put up on a leagues youtube channel which gets you your views and your followers and helps you move up in the ranks. These can range from some guys with a camera in a community center or club who film some battles. Then you’ll have the “farm” leagues which farm talent to move them up to the next levels. Then you have the biggest leagues like URL (Ultimate Rap League) the biggest English speaking league, KOTD (King of the Dot) a league based out of Canada and in my opinion the best league at the moment, and Don’t Flop which is the biggest league in Britain. These are the goals of where you eventually want to get your career to, this is where people get signed.
-If battle rap is a sport, give us a hot take! No hedging! Tell me who’s the best in the game
Who is the Michael Jordan of battle rap? You have to say Murda Mook.
-How did it feel to elevate so quickly in this field?
I did jump up a lot faster than I thought I would but I’m friends with a lot of people who have moved up pretty far in the ranks of battle rap and they’re at a level that I want to be at. I think the jump that I’ve made so far is good, I think I got opportunities where I wasn’t ready yet but looking back I can say “okay, I know what I have to do next time.” Battle rap like many things, is being in the right place at the right time.
-Given the opportunities you’ve had; is there a time you’ve felt overwhelmed?
Probably my biggest example that I kick myself in the pants for all the time, even though people tell me it’s not as bad as I make it out to be happened earlier this year. 413 battle league had their flagship event, the Superbowl, which is when they bring the big names in to battle people on their roster. 413 isn’t my main league but they’re like a home away from home. So they told me for the Superbowl they would fund me getting a bigger name, Lu Cipher, and I liked a lot of what he did I thought he would push me to my limit since he was such a good writer and I said yes. He came out and even though people argue with me, I think it was a pretty clear loss but it taught me a lot about who I am and who I should be moving forward. For a while it was really painful since it was the first time I was on a pay per view and had a lot of friends coming out to see it but I always say you learn more from losing than you ever will from winning a battle.
-When was it that you first felt you were really on the right track?
When I got my King of the Dot GZ. Their GZ (ground zero) league, run by Gully TK is a separate league from King of the Dot proper, and it’s used for farming talent and grooming talent for getting up to the bigger stage. Think minor league baseball or college football. You even get former King of the Dot champions or other known battlers who for whatever reason hasn’t battled for a while. This league gives you a chance for the big league owners to see you on their platform. I had a round of a battle against Em_Are that was all nose jokes because there was a time where I thought, “oh I should just do funny shit.” I shared that into one of the King of the Dot groups and a staff member saw it. By the end of that month I was offered a spot to do a GZ battle.
-So now we enter the promo section! You get to shout out one other battler, who do you chose?
Who do I want to shout out…hm. I’ll shout out Jack Casserole, he’s a good guy.
-Give us one battle of his to check out?
Well he battled me once upon a time!
-Is that the one you want to send the readers to? I won’t judge.
Well… Let me pull up his verse tracker because that’s the easiest way to do this. I would recommend watching Jack Casserole Vs Jay Wirth. It’s a battle he really wanted and it was pretty good.
-So, you mentioned verse tracker. What is that?
Verse tracker is the definitive look up for battle rap. If you’re looking for somebody specific, for instance Jack Casserole, all I had to do was go to versetracker.com and type in Jack Casserole and it linked me to all his battles.
-So what would you like to plug today?
Check out Blackademiks on Verse Tracker. Just search my name on Versetracker.com and it’ll link you to all my battles, show you my total views, and the average views on my videos.
Thank you so much to our first guest, Blackademiks. He was a great sport and a blast to interview! You can find links to every Blackademiks performance at his verse tracker page, and they’re certainly worth the watch!
-Mitchell K. Drummond, contributor and Co-creator of Heck Media