Shuffle T vs Heretic, eh? This is a battle that, whenever I look back on it, I go “f**k me up the **** with a huge c*k, look how long ago this was” (look to the bottom of the page to see the uncensored version). 2015. I mean, what was happening back then? Charlie Hebdo, Conservatives winning the general UK election, Sepp Blatter resigned from FIFA. It was a HORRIBLE year. But out of the darkness shone a bright beacon of hope. Me.

This battle happened in Sheffield, the Steel City. Home to my mother-in-law’s dad, if you’re asking, which you obviously aren’t. It was a really fun one, actually. Great event. I understand somebody got headbutted? Great. Positivity.

Whispered Phrases.

Moments before entering the venue, I buttonholed Frankie Phraser and made him listen to my rounds. He liked them, but I think there was a bit of doubt. You see, when I rehearse, I’m never doing it to figure out how I’ll perform it, I’m simply trying to cement the fucking material in my brain. So, it’s usually a very underwhelming performance.

The 2nd round of this battle, which is a weird, conceptual thing about having a conversation with a stranger in a Starbucks, didn’t come across as well whispered in a car park. Luckily, the round went down really well in the building. It also gave birth to, what I sort of consider to be, my catchphrase: are you aware that all of this is rhyming?

I actually wrote the 2nd round about the Starbucks in a Starbucks, in Fleet the home of Marlo, my friend Helen Bauer and, now, my sisters and their families. Usually, when I’m writing a battle rap round, I pick and choose and swap and stop and start and rejig and write it all over a few weeks or more, but when I get an idea for a concept round, it tends to just tumble out onto the page and I, more or less, keep it the same, because they’re often narrative led, so there’s less room to move everything about in the same way and one moment naturally leads onto the next. It’s such a good feeling when the writing process is easy and the rhymes just match up with little effort, I absolutely love it.

I wanted to do something that was quite immersive. I was aware that there were barely any punchlines in the whole thing, but I was praying the story telling approach would work out for me. Writing it was a joy, and performing it was, too. This is back when I used to do an entire round for a concept, rather than just half a round as I usually do, now. I wanted to do it all on one rhyme scheme to make it a bit more impressive. I don’t think I would do that now, I think I’d make it more varied so that it would keep dynamic.

It’s a hard call to make in that regard, because variety is key, but I feel like the rhyme scheme was SO rich, that it would be cool to do it. Also, Marlo did this kind of thing first in his Josh Fox battle third round, which is great, if you haven’t seen it.


In the 1st round, there’s a lot of anti-vegan stuff and I’d like to take this moment to say that I fucking hate vegans. That’s a joke I made, there and not a very nice one. No, I’ve nothing against vegans, veganism or anything like that. Other people’s diets are none of my concern and I know they’re definitely on the right side of history.

I’ve never had it shoved down my throats, as everybody seems to say. Like, a vegan/vegetarian has never made me feel uncomfortable about what I’m eating. They’re usually very polite and careful about not being rude with it. The same cannot be said of carnivores and it’s so funny because the stereotype of the pushy vegan is 100% projection from meat eaters who feel judged when nobody’s judging them.


The whole narrative is backwards, because every time I’m in the company of a vegan and a meat eater and the vegan is eating something deliberately vegan (as in fake bacon, not just vegetables) the meat eater cannot help themselves but pass comments about it. “Does it actually taste like bacon”, “ooh, that looks dry” shut up, mate, you’re a clown.

And you know what I’ve never liked? That whole thing of “well, if you don’t eat bacon, why do you eat fake bacon, why does it have to look like it?” why do you care about that?! It’s probably in the hopes that you think it’s regular bacon so you shut the fuck up about it. And what should it be? Just a flavourless mush called rootmarm?

Anyway, the battle. So, yeah, I slagged off the vegans, because Heretic is one. They’re really fun to write about, despite the bollocks I just said in the previous paragraphs. There’s just so much to go on. I’ve since written some other stuff about vegans which you may enjoy. Here’s one, poorly performed with a blocked nose and a hangover:

I like this battle. I love that people enjoyed the 2nd round because it was quite a departure from my normal stuff and gave me confidence to do other concept-led rounds, such as the parent’s evening and the phone call to my mum with Raptor.

But I’ve also got some quibbles. I hate the bits where I fuck up. I’m pretty sure I mess up on the bit where I say “pinched the profit” in the third round. And also the bit where I say about ‘Light Work’ stealing all my stuff, very cringe. Hate it. Hate me. Awful business. There’s probably other bits I fuck up on, but I can’t remember them now, thankfully.


But yeah, some nice material, some fun stuff, some more barbed comments. Heretic was great, too, he really went in on me, had some brilliant concepts with the call centre bit he did. Great performance overall and he really is exceptionally handsome.

Sheffield is a lovely place, can’t remember the name of the venue, but it was cool, too. Crowd was amazing, these were the days, man! Every battle was just fun and buzzing and the footage always reflected that. It still happens now, of course, but this ‘era’, if we’re feeling pretentious, was particularly special.

So that’s Shuffle T vs Heretic. Hope you enjoyed it! And if you’re this far down and still reading, don’t forget to buy your tickets for Sounds Like LIVE, which is happening on the 16th October in 21Soho, London. It’s going to be a brilliant day full of great laughs and joy. We’ve sold 50 tickets already, which is amazing, because the full line up hasn’t even been released, yet! Cannot wait to see you all there.

*“funk me up the nose with a huge conk, look how long ago this fucking bullshit was”