Rap battle can be intense and the best of the best go head-to-head at Smack Ultimate Rap League.
It is widely regarded as the major league of battle rap. What began as a popular DVD series has grown into a league featuring the best MCs, who are judged in a variety of categories.
MC battles used to be judged on who could rock a crowd the best but in 1982 the Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy Bee battle in Harlem pioneered a completely new style of battling in which they took personal shots that their opponent. Advancing the idea of lyricism and bars, the battle became one of the most important moments in Hip Hop history.
Another pivotal moment was when Queens' Mc Shan faced off agaisnt the Bronx's KRS One in the infamous Bridge Wars.
Over the years the mainstream rap world has seen scores of heavyweight matchups: Ice Cube vs. NWA, LL Cool J vs. Canibus and Biggie vs. Tupac, however, some of the biggest battles involved women. Nikki Minage vs. Lil Kim is one example.
Although battling has been mostly an underground phenomenon, freestyle battling experienced a resurgence in popularity int he early 200s due to its showcase to mainstream audiences in things like the movie 8 Mile.
Rappers Eminem, Cassidy, Joe Budden, Freeway, DMX and Jay-Z all went on to have successful mainstream careers.
In this current style of battle rap, participants don't get paid to win, they get paid to perform and it could be anywhere from $500 to $40,000.