Battle rapping is part hip hop, part comedy roast, and part verbal MMA fighting. Two rappers take the stage to compete in a war of the words, from witty puns to lacerating “personals”—attacks on their challenger’s character (and girlfriend). Both parties generally show love to one another once the battle is over with as a sign of respect, but there’s anything but that during the bout. The battles typically last three rounds, and very few of them are actually judged; it’s left for the viewers to decide.
One of L.A.’s great battle rappers is Dumbfoundead, a K-Town native renowned for hilarious rhymes that he honed at open-mic nights in Leimert Park. “First, I was booed off, but then there was one night where I killed it,” he says. “After that, they respected me.” Back in 2007 he made a name for himself at the World Rap Championships and added to his reputation a year later when he took on Tantrum—another Asian rapper—in a battle that currently has more than 2 million views on YouTube. After taking an extended hiatus to focus on his career in music, standup, and acting, Dumbfoundead is performing once again. His recent clash with former Wild ‘n Out star Conceited has eclipsed 3 million views and is currently the most watched English-language battle that dropped in 2015.
Consider this a primer on Dumbfoundead’s best battles, including one of his most notable L.A. rhymes.
Who: Dumbfoundead vs. Dizaster
When: Uploaded September 2015
Dumbfoundead’s best L.A. diss: “You are not from L.A.— I rep the city proper. Clippers, Lakers, Dodgers. You’re from Ventura County: dentists, lawyers, doctors.”
Who: Dumbfoundead vs. The Saurus
When: Uploaded March 2009
Dumbfoundead’s best diss: “Someone should have given me someone more challenging! I mean at this point The Saurus battling is [as] relevant now as The Source magazine.”
Who: Dumbfoundead vs. Kid Twist
When: Uploaded November 2009
Dumbfoundead’s best diss: “I saw that battle with you and Fresco. That shit was very mean. It was hands down the most vicious catfight I’ve ever seen.”
And for your viewing pleasure: the best of Dumbfoundead