Shuffle T vs Kinell. This is one of my recent favourites. Is it arrogant to have favourites of your own battles? Do I give a shite? All these things we don’t yet know. Regardless, this is definitely one of them.


In my head I separate my battles into different categories. I haven’t got them written down, or anything, they just fall into certain types. These are: formative battles, this is 2012 to about 2015 when I was still figuring out how to develop my own style, from the underwhelming, uninteresting performances against Liquid, Sergio, Rikky Wiley Jack Sexton, to the more interesting performances vs Anton Murphy, Soweto Kinch, Bad Bars and the doubles matches.

Then, there’s the mid-way battles where I started to get more into my stride vs Heretic, Raptor and Dunn D, alongside the teething problems of Unanymous, 100 Bulletz and Carter Deems.

Next, a bit of a coasting period, where I felt like I had done everything I needed to in battle rap and didn’t put as much effort in as before. I wasn’t really concerned about winning at all and just took battles to do them, this is Chris Leese, Jaz the Rapper, Rob Mulholland.

Lastly, there are the pandemic-era battles. This is Soul, Nugget, Craft D, Scapegoats, Georgie and, of course, Shuffle T vs Kinell.

To me, these aren’t just different because of their timing, but also because of how I started to approach battles again. I wanted to come back to performing, after an imposed 2-year gap, with something a bit different. Not to rely on concept rounds, something I was concerned would become a bit of a crutch, but add more variety. I avoided using them as much in the coasting era and went more for theming rounds, rather than making them purely one concept.

HIATUS HELL (sung in the tune of highway to Hell)

Also, I wanted to use all the material I had been coming up with in the 2-year break. I had come up with so many long, complex rhyme schemes I couldn’t wait to utilise in a battle and Kinell came bang in the middle of this era. Therefore, I was waiting to use my favourite stuff in this clash because the winner got the title match. This made me want to take it more ‘seriously’ than other performances. Essentially, I put, what I considered my best writing, all into the 2nd round.


Round one started off with a concept-led narrative for the first half, which I was happy with. It was silly, but it got a point across and I got to do an impression of Kinell, which I really wanted to do. Then I got a bit more serious and wanted to put in some fun wordplay into it. Now, I do sometimes think that wordplay is a bit overrated in battle rap. Don’t get me wrong, when it’s employed effectively, succinctly, uncliched, well-rhymed and sparingly, it can be one of the best tools. However, the majority of the time I do think there’s a case of quantity over quality going on and it just tires me.

So many times I hear the same old bits of wordplay and I just think “what’s the point?” Why say something others have said before in 1,000 different ways. I’m sure I’m guilty of it, now and then, who isn’t? But I do try to only use wordplay elements that I don’t think I’ve heard before or that have some originality to them.


In this battle I had some ones I was really happy with, and some rhymes I was proud of, too. The 2nd round was all about showcasing my rhymes, really. I had some long schemes and I wanted to weave them together and then break it up with some personal attacks at Kinell mixed with some general thoughts about the scene as a whole, that could’ve been said to anybody, really. It felt right to bring it up in a title contention match.


The third round I went punch-heavy and paired back any extra stuff. There’s a couple of lines in there now that I don’t like. For example, the ‘you couldn’t hold a candle to me if you were at my vigil’, Illmac had said something really similar to Soul which I must have subconsciously taken in and forgotten about. I hate when that happens. You can’t always help it. And sometimes I think of a line and search it on Google, Twitter, Facebook forums, just to see if anybody else had written about it. It’s very frustrating when something you think is unique turns out not to be.

Anyway, the third round was a little different for me. I still did the thing that I usually like to do, which is finish the round off with a long multi-scheme, but I don’t think I had really done a rapid-fire set-up, punchline, set-up, punchline round to finish on, before. I wasn’t sure how it would go down, but I was really pleased with how it was received and how it felt to get good reactions from most of the punches.


Also, it goes without saying that Kinell was really good in this battle. I remember speaking to him, afterwards, outside and he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance, but I said to him then that I thought he smashed it, and I still think that now, watching back. The Stephen Hawkins analogy was great, the rebuttals, which are always impressive from him, he is good.

So that’s Shuffle T vs Kinell! I ended up getting the win and that meant I got to battle Craft D for the title, which is another blog, coming soon. But I enjoyed that clash, too. Just not as much as this one where I got to put about 2 years of consideration into something.


And in the Fiddler’s Elbow, in Camden, too, I mean, what a venue. I love battling there. I love walking down from Archway, where I usually park, and where I used to live with my wife. That part of London is very dear to both of us and will be for the rest of our lives, I imagine. If you’re ever in Archway, and looking for good pubs, be sure to visit the Oak and Pastor, the Junction Tavern, St John’s Tavern and Aces and Eights if you’re looking for somewhere open late.

Thanks for reading! Go check out some of my other battles and blogs, check out the book, available anywhere in the world and all my other services, and check out Sounds Like, which is going LIVE live very soon!