Eyedea's five greatest freestyle rap battles of all time
|Photo by Denis Jeong Plaster|
Last month, I put together a list of the ten greatest rap battles of all time for our sister paper, LA Weekly. Included on that list was Twin Cities hip-hop icon Eyedea's unforgettable 1999 Scribble Jam finals with Freestyle Fellowship member P.E.A.C.E. My inclusion of it led to something of a debate as to which Eyedea battle was truly his best. While the late Eyedea was much, more more than just a battle MC, his legacy of utter domination within the battle circuits cannot be overstated or ignored.
With Soundset this coming weekend -- a stage that he loved and that loved him back -- is in remembrance of his accomplishments that we look back at Eyedea's five greatest freestyle battles.
5. Eyedea vs. RK 2000
HBO broadcasted the Blaze Battle across worldwide premium cable airwaves back in 2000. At the tender age of 18, Eyedea faced the champions of various individual regions and took home top honors. While his showdown with RK isn't the best overall battle of the night, it did birth one of the top three most-revered battle moments of all time. Earning Eyedea a favorite spot within circles who aren't the fondest of battling, it's impossible not to be impressed by Eyedea's infamous "back-up dancer" comeback, a line so flawlessly executed that even opponent RK had to give him props.
4. Eyedea vs. Mic T. 2001
Before King of the Dot, Grind Time, Smack or even 8 Mile, the rap battle circuit wasn't nearly as organized as it would become a decade later. As a result, anybody claiming to be a "battle MC," especially a noted champion like Eyedea, would have to be on-guard 24/7 in the event a challenger called him out. One such instance occurred in the Bay Area in 2001 when Mic T. challenged Eyedea for a duel after a show. Undeterred, Eyedea answered the call and, while things started out fairly even, he eventually showed the endurance and creativity that made Eyedea a master. This was a frequently traded MP3 in the Kazaa/Limewire days, so getting to finally see the actual footage over a decade later really captures what a spontaneous rap battle was like at the time.
3. Eyedea vs. PackFM 2000
Being Eyedea's battle career pre-dated the YouTube-era, it's surprising how much footage of his battles exist. Sadly, footage for all these classic encounters haven't surfaced, but the fiercely traded audio remains. Lucky for us, since half of this battle consists of Eyedea rhymes, hearing him is really the next best thing. Proving how off-the-dome his extemporaneous rhymes were, hearing to Eyedea describe and dis all of QN5 member PackFM's movements and attire paints the perfect picture of what transpired on-stage.