Interview by Jasper intern Jasmine Ranjit
Battle rap is an art form unlike any other, combining insults with beats and boasts with rhythm. None do it better than the Barbarian Rap League from Columbia, S.C. The BLR, founded by rappers Marvolus and Gemstar Da Goldenchild, aim to create a platform where talented musicians can reach a larger audience. I interviewed BLR and asked them a few questions about rap battles, their ongoing feud with SEBL, and their performance this weekend.
How did the Barbarian Rap League begin?
The Barbarian Rap League was founded by the artists Marvolus and Gemstar Da Goldenchild, out of Columbia, S.C. The League idea came up by us watching URL SMACK battle rap on YouTube all day, and we wanted to bring that kind of platform to talent from our city. We got a venue and booked 3 battles. The event was a success, and the rest is history.
What is a major goal for BLR?
Our goal is simply to create a platform for talented battlers that want to pursue a career in battle rap and get them the exposure that they deserve whether it is locally or nationwide. For example, helping them get on URL SMACK stage the biggest battle rap platform in the world was a big accomplishment.
So you have Rap Battles between other groups including SEBL…?
Well, it's just friendly competition between leagues, SEBL, a league based out of Greenville, and us, based out of Columbia. It's pretty much City vs. City, their best vs. our best. We've had two big events: ‘Civil War 1’ which was in Columbia and ‘Civil War 2’ in Greenville. After the first Civil War, we gained a lot of respect for each other. There was a lot of animosity between us, but now those guys are like our brothers, shout-out to SEBL.
Is the environment of the event different from a concert setting?
Yes and no, because the music is like watching spoken word, boxing, and a comedy show combined. You’re still putting on a show. It's a different feel, but a good feel because you’re up there watching raw skill and talent. Any fan that has never been to a battle event live that finally comes becomes a constant fan.
Why is it important that your music is introduced through a rap battle?
It’s a new audience. You have battles that reach 1,000-6 million views…that market of fans that are interested in you as a battler will be interested in your music too.
There’s a battle this Sunday; what should the audience anticipate from this performance?
This is going to be a hard-hitting, super dope event on Sunday. The co-owner and talent scout from URL SMACK, the biggest rap-battle stage in the world, will be in attendance and will be looking to give these guys a shot. Everybody will be coming with their absolute best.
The Barbarian Rap League is hosting a battle this Sunday at New Brooklyn Tavern. The event begins at 7:00.