Part of the “American Dream” is the idea that anyone can rise from being a worker to a boss. Jay Z did it. Michael Jordan did it. And in the battle rap world, New Jersey’s Arsonal Da Rebel did it.
Ars started off battling for leagues like Grind Time and Smack/URL, but those companies were reluctant to book events in his hometown. So Arsonal decided he needed to start his own battle rap organization to provide an outlet for Jersey. He studied the other leagues, pulled in investors, and then in 2012 the U Dubb Network (formerly the UW Battle League) was born.
U Dubb managed to break into the business in a major way. Just this year the company presented one of the most anticipated match-ups in battle rap history – Loaded Lux vs. Hollow Da Don. Other top-tier battlers including Calicoe, Charlie Clips, K-Shine, O-Red, T-Rex, and Tsu Surf have appeared on U Dubb as well.
Even though he holds an ownership position, Arsonal has not called it quits as a competitor just yet. The self-described “#1 Most View Battle Rapper In America” is still giving the culture classic show downs against some of the game’s best emcees.
As the 8th subject of AllHipHop.com’s “Profiles In Battle Rap” series, Arsonal discusses his method of attack against his opponents, shares one of his of all time favorite bouts, and explains why battle rap will take over Hip Hop within the next two years.
Newark, New Jersey
On camera, it’s been six years. A lot of people don’t know I was on 106 & Park as well in 2004. I won five weeks on that s**t. I was always battling – out in the street, in high school, and in college.
Style Known For (ie aggression, wordplay, punchlines, freestyle)
Disrespectful. Pure disrespect. I want n***as to be mad, hurting, and feeling some type of way. In the disrespect comes the lyricism, freestyle, wittiness, the punchlines, the schemes. But it’s all a part of being disrespectful.
I’m not associated with no crew. It’s every man for himself in this industry, but some of my comrades that I rock out with from the city are O-Red and Shotgun Suge.
My general slogan is just “HPWT,” and that stands for “Haters Pivot Winners Travel.” When it comes to battling I got a few. My opening slogan is “Once again I’m here in another n***a’s state, on a another n***a’s stage, up in another n***a’s face.”
My ending slogan is “My s**t is real. My s**t is raw. My s**t is authentic. And you can’t spell ‘bars’ without putting the ‘Ars’ in it.” I used to use back in the day, “I motherf**king hate midgets.” I don’t really use that much no more, but I might bring that back if I battle somebody under five feet.
Leagues Competed In
All of them really. Lion’s Den, Fight Klub, Grind Time, U Dubb, URL, King of the Dot, Don’t Flop, Ozone, Guerrilla Warfare, Street Status, Gunline Battlegrounds. I have battled in more leagues than any other battle rapper has.
I got five mixtapes on Datpiff.com. From Rebel Muzik 1-4 and then my latest mixtape H.P.W.T. Look out for me at the end of the year like around wintertime – late November, December. A lot of s**t should really be cracking as far as my music career.
Favorite Battle (Participant)
I would have to say me versus Shotty Horroh, because of the experience. That was my first time in London. I didn’t know I was going to be able to get there and control the crowd the way I did.
It was no bulls**t. No cutting me off. No “time.” It was a slugfest. To this day a lot of people say it’s a debatable battle. That might be the one rematch I might do. I’m open to some negotiation if they’re trying to see part 2. Let’s get it done. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFQcyAHCT9s]
Favorite Battle (Non-Participant)
Rest in peace. One of my favorite battles is Party Arty versus Murda Mook. R.I.P. Party Arty. That’s one of my favorite battles to date. A lot of people are not really up on Party Arty. A lot of the new cats don’t really know who he is, but he was a New York cat. He was a legend. He passed away a couple of years back. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeFkA1w62FU]
One Of Your All Time Hottest Lines
If I had to pick one, I guess I’ll go back to the Shotty battle where I said, “I’m glad your uncle’s dead, fathead/He was nothing but a knucklehead crackhead/With a head full of ringworms and face full of blackheads/He deserved to get caught in the crosshairs when the mac spread/And God if gave him a second chance at life I’d wish him back dead.” I have a bunch of them though.
Your Battle Rap Mount Rushmore
Lux, Ice, Goodz, Me
One Mainstream Rapper You’d Like To Battle
If I had to pick one it would be Eminem. Just because he really comes from that background. I wouldn’t want to take on somebody else that really don’t know how to do this s**t.
Artists You’ve Worked With Musically
On my new project coming up I got a couple of beats from Grammy-nominated M16 (Lil Wayne, Jeezy). Shout out to him. I’m actually waiting on a verse back from Joe Budden and Royce Da. 5’9’’. In 2007, I did a collab with Scarface before I even started battle rapping. I got Kid Capri producing me some s**t.
Your Battle Rap Hit List
The n***as I want to battle now are industry cats that may have had a battle background – Cassidy, Eminem, even Joe Budden. I don’t have no picks on battle rappers. I’ve battled everybody I wanted to battle. As of right now, I’ve done it all. There’s not one top-tier battler I haven’t battled. I don’t really care for none of the rest of them.
Top 5 Emcees DOA
No order – Jadakiss, Eminem, Nas, Hov, and Biggie
Do You Prefer To Participate In A Debatable Battle Or A Clear Victory?
I’d rather a debatable battle. All battles are debatable, because if it’s not judged it’s going to be a debate. Even if you lose clearly, your core fans are going to stick behind you and make it a debate.
But I’d rather it be a competition. I don’t want to just go in there and smoke him. I want him to bring the best out of me. Just because what I wrote is already premeditated, but when a n***a come at me better than I expected, that’s what makes me animate my lyrics more.
I don’t mind going first or second. I’m way more dangerous when I go second. But if I go first, and I go crazy, then the other guy goes and he doesn’t go as hard as me, I’m not even going to try to freestyle. I’m not gonna do no extra s**t, because I already know my first round killed him. I know what my second and third is gonna do, and he ain’t shown me no competition. But if I go first, and this n***a comes with some crazy s**t – now I got my mind working.
I would rather a competitive battle, but a lot of people really ain’t on my level.
Where Do You See Battle Rap Going In The Future?
It’s been elevating every year. I hope and pray that it doesn’t lose it’s authenticity. It just stays real, stays street. I’m 103% behind it at all times. This is where I come from, and I’ll never forget it. Whether I pop or don’t, I’m riding with battle rap til the wheels fall off. I do think it’s gonna be the number one form of Hip Hop within the next two years.
You got all these mainstream cats wanting to battle. You got the biggest comedian in the world, Kevin Hart, calling himself a battle rapper – Chocolate Drop. These are all the people paying attention to this.
You got one of the biggest and best-selling emcees ever, Eminem, talking about he might come back. He put us on a reality show. You got the biggest NBA players showing up to battle events. You got Puff Daddy at events giving out $10,000 to battle rappers. Busta, Cassidy, and Lloyd Banks are showing up and giving us respect.
This is what battle rap is doing. So I see it elevating to the max.
Follow Arsonal on Twitter @ARSONALDAREBEL and Instagram @arsonal103.
Read other “Profiles In Battle Rap” articles here. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NDZq9-kCzI]
What other battle rappers would you like to see featured in AHH’s “Profiles In Battle Rap” series? Share your picks in the comments section below.