Ancient rap battles

Ancient rap battles

Whoever says rap is not real music, take note. Even before jazz, blues and soul music originated, there was rap. The YouTube channels, Epic Rap Battles of History, and Shuddh Desi Raps had dopplegangers of famous people spit verses against each other to emerge as the victor in the end.

Little did we know that the idea vaguely comes from flyting or flitting, a form of rap that was a contest during the 5th century. The concept of exchanging verbal insults in poetic verse was so sought after that the fad continued till the 16th century. The term, however, originates from the Old English word ‘flitan’ which means to quarrel.

Earliest records show flyting exchanges between the Norse, Celtic, Anglo Saxon and Medieval literary figures that were deemed to be immensely accusatory.

The accusations were more or less related to sexual perversion and cowardice. In present times, the same thing is called ‘beef’ in hip-hop terminology. Popular hip-hop artistes take each other out in rap battles that have verses that are insulting in nature; perhaps, the inspiration comes from flyting itself.