Here it is! Shuffle T vs Raptor. This was released 6 years ago, I mean, Jesus Christ. It’s one of my favourites to watch back, as it was a really fun one to write for and also (I think) the first battle my then girlfriend, now wife, ever saw me perform live, which is nice, isn’t it!
It’s a real style clash and one of my favourite things about Raptor’s approach is that he basically doesn’t bend on his style at all, he just goes all in and attacked me with full force. This made for a very interesting style clash, which, I think, makes for the best battles.
SO HOW DID IT GO?
Great question, thanks for asking. It went really well. The aforementioned style clash worked brilliantly and, I think, to my advantage a bit. I think it’s a lot easier to undercut a serious performance with a stupid, fun, silly one, than it is to do the other way around. I think that’s the benefit of being the joker.
The good thing is, however, that this means there’s a little something for everyone in this clash. If you’re into the jokey style, then there I am, being an absolute prick. And if you like actual aggressive and hard-hitting rap, being rapped by a rapper then you’ve got Raptor going at it from his side. These are the things that make the best battles in my humble as fuck opinion.
I’m mostly focusing on my own stuff here, not to be conceited but it’s my fucking website and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off, no disrespect. At the start of the first round I did what I like to do in most of my battles, which is just to say the name of my opponent as if I think it’s the stupidest thing in the world. 60% of the time it works 100% off the time. It was a bit stumbly, which makes me want to eat my own face, but not TOO bad.
My first round was designed to be a bit silly, making him look as small as possible, making out that he’s a childish, aggressive thug and hammering away at that image so that I can put a juvenile delinquent image in people’s heads. The idea being that it would lead naturally onto the second round.
The 2nd round took a more conceptual approach, acting out a scenario as if I was Raptor’s teacher at school at a parent’s evening. Having laid the groundworks for this in round 1, I knew that the jokes had a better chance at landing as I took the parents through each class Raptor has at school and going into detail about why he’s so troublesome. Leaving the main punchline at the end, to take everything I’ve said and flip it on its head… Only annoying thing being a couple of stumbles and the punchline of the round got a laugh a bit too early, but HEY THESE THINGS HAPPEN DON’T THEY!
This is a point worth making, actually. The momentum is SO easily fucked up in battles. The tension is already, naturally, so high because of the nature of what you’re doing that ANY moment when the tension can be broken, it WILL be. When I stumbled over the ‘nuclear reactor‘ bit, I thought “well, that’s that ruined, isn’t it?” And I probably should have written the last 4-bar of the round differently to coerce people to laugh RIGHT at the end and not just before.
Round 3 was also conceptual, being the phone call I have with my mum talking about Raptor but also getting sidetracked. In a way, it fits into this whole parent/child theme that I tried to keep running throughout the battle. This is one of my favourite ‘bits’ I’ve done for one reason…:
FINISHING OFF THE JOKE IN YOUR HEAD
One of my favourite things, not just in a rap battle, but in comedy, generally, is when you can tell a joke where the audience have to fill in a missing part that you omit.
I had a joke from my terrible stand up days: “the other day I came home and I traipsed mud all through the house. My mother said ‘Why would you do that? You can see I’ve just cleaned’ and I said ‘Well, my BASE jumping instructor told me to.’ and she said ‘oh… and if your BASE jumping instructor told you…”.
Now that joke might not work written down as well as it does read aloud, but the idea is that you have to fill in the last bit in your head “if if your BASE jumping instructor told you… to throw yourself off a cliff, would you do that?” the answer, of course, in this one, specific instance, being ‘yes, of course I would, mum, you twat’.
This is what I wanted to do in round 3. Make a series of jokes in a row where the audience has to retroactively conjure up what the other side of the phone call might have said in order to complete the joke. Like when I say “Raptor… he’s the one who looked like he was near death…… yeah, fair point, the one without the beard, then…” in your head you KNOW that my mum must have said “they BOTH look like they were near death!” And that delayed realisation makes you laugh. It’s definitely something I really enjoy writing and I’ll certainly try to do more of it in the future, but it’s tricky to get right.
A rematch is always enjoyable when enough time has passed from the original to make it interesting, but nothing is better than the fabled rematch from a singles to a 2v2! We had THIS battle in 2016 and then rematched years later in 2021 as a 2on2. Shufflo vs Scapegoats and let me tell you, it was bloody brilliant. One of my favourite battles I’ve ever been involved in. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you pop it on.
In the rematch, Raptor and Bobby Rex took the totally opposite approach and mimicked mine and Marlo’s style to show that they could and they absolutely nailed it. The roof was blown off the venue so many times it was like a mad scientist’s lab. A proper preference battle. And we all got a bit more serious in the 3rd round, it was SO much fun!
ANYWAY. TO WRAP UP.
This is one of my favourite battles I’ve been involved in and, to be honest, one of my favourite approaches towards me an opponent has had. Just no bending, no pandering and no compromising of a style, just giving everything. It was great. The venue (Brixton Jamm) was electric. I loved every minute of it… except for the stumbles.
Get different takes on this battle from legends of the game, Hollow Da Don, Avocado and Illmac.