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Did he just rhyme Samuel Pepys?
February 4, 2012 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Kids, don't ever challenge your English professor to a rap battle.
posted by timsteil (75 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great stuff!

The britishisms give this extra win.
posted by etherist at 8:27 AM on February 4, 2012


For those of you that know the UK education system the line "I hope you drop dead. If I punch you in the face, who are you going to call? Ofsted?" is brilliant.
posted by alby at 8:28 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


They really should teach Shakespeare this way in schools. The verse and riposte is so lovely once you get past the gulf of 400 years of language change. Plus it's full of dirty jokes.
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on February 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Intellectuals should do more verbal taunting. Real life, face to face.
If you're so snotty; prove it man to man.
posted by joost de vries at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was amazing. Thank you for posting.
posted by Fizz at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2012


Second Link:
Infection Details
URL: http://www.markgrist.com/
Process: file://C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\...
Infection: js:Redirector-NT [Trj]

The third link, the YouTube video, was pretty amazing.
posted by Xoebe at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2012


Extreme babysitting. Lol.
posted by delmoi at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's a line from Gibson's "Burning Chrome" - "The street finds its own uses for things" - that's extremely relevant here.
posted by mhoye at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anyway getting through "blizzard"s segments were painful.
posted by delmoi at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


They really should teach Shakespeare this way in schools.

At least one man has done this with Chaucer.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2012


Ok, oddly, I return to the second link, and there is no reaction at all from Avast. I don't have a certain explanation for this behavior; Avast isn't known for scaring people unnecessarily.
posted by Xoebe at 8:41 AM on February 4, 2012


Intellectuals should do more verbal taunting. Real life, face to face.
Actually, In Galileo's time, that's (in part) how 'science' was done. Each city would have their own intellectuals and they would try to bring honor to their city giving lectures where they badmouthed the ideas of intellectuals from other cities. Galileo came up with the idea of scaling laws but didn't release it until the end of his life, and Bertrand Russel thought it might have been because he put down the ideas of another intellectual (about the shape and location of hell) using arguments that relied on scale invariance.
posted by delmoi at 8:45 AM on February 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Indigo Jones: That's just embarrassing.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:55 AM on February 4, 2012


There's some pretty serious yo' mamma pwnage in the second round of the battle.
posted by FunGus at 8:56 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like the sequal to 8 Miles: 12.87 Kilometers
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 8:57 AM on February 4, 2012 [37 favorites]


Wow. The professor directly addressing disgusting sexual remarks to his opponent's mother (looking into the camera)? That's hardly fair play.
posted by kozad at 9:02 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


that's hardly fair play

Call the rap police!
posted by omnikron at 9:12 AM on February 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Are you kidding? It's a rap battle. Of course it's fair play, it's one of the most traditional moves you can make. That's basically how the form started, in playing The Dozens.

My question is, what do you do with your life after you get taken to school like that by a middle aged guy in a blazer and tie? Do you just never rap again, or is it more of like a move to a monastery and undergo years of intense training to one day redeem yourself type of situation?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:12 AM on February 4, 2012 [51 favorites]


Indigo Jones: That's just embarrassing.

Perhaps, but is it effective? I'm willing to bet that a better proportion of his students remember those lines than their peers do.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:15 AM on February 4, 2012


My question is, what do you do with your life after you get taken to school like that by a middle aged guy in a blazer and tie? Do you just never rap again, or is it more of like a move to a monastery and undergo years of intense training to one day redeem yourself type of situation?

You're a poet and you don't even...actually, you probably knew it. Carry on.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:16 AM on February 4, 2012


That was incredibly sweet, revealing a depth of knowledge about and faith in his students I am in awe of.
posted by ~ at 9:17 AM on February 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Flagged as the most fun I've had online all week.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:23 AM on February 4, 2012


Tibetan smack-down. (short SLYT)
posted by kozad at 9:30 AM on February 4, 2012


Mark Grist is a beast. I don't know how I got hooked on Don't Flop, but he is always good for it. Though I do sort of roll my eyes when he trots out the Oedipal references, which he's quite fond of, but it's better than most of the "yo momma" tropes.

Blizzard is also not that good.
posted by kendrak at 9:33 AM on February 4, 2012


I'm surprised people are so hard on Blizzard. He did a really good job, especially considering that he's seventeen years old. His line about teachers like Mr. Grist being the reason people like him are so angry hit home more than any of Grist's lines about his mother being easy. He may not deliver the punchlines you like (or that you get, not having access to some of the references), but he still delivers enough punchlines to be interesting. And his delivery is far better from a musical perspective that Grist's, who rhymes like he's speaking, not like he's rapping. I still think Grist won, but shit, I give the kid a lot of credit.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2012 [35 favorites]


I'm surprised people are so hard on Blizzard. He did a really good job, especially considering that he's seventeen years old.
He was just a bad rapper. Listening him was just annoying, even before I heard the Mr. Grist stuff I was already annoyed.

Maybe he's a nice kid but that doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy listening to him rap badly.
posted by delmoi at 9:50 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree, the kid did well. I know it's just a boy's room rap battle, but I hated Grist for first calling Blizzard out for sexism and then proceeding to lay hatred on female anatomy generally and reinforce heteronormism. And his screed felt more rehearsed, which brings me to the question (lifelong ad hominem-o-phobe that I have been): How much preparation do these dudes do? Is it all written out in advance? It does not feel as spontaneous (or as genuine) as the (entire crowd plus performers) want to feel it is.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:53 AM on February 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Blizzard wasn't that bad. he got owned, but he definitely had his moments. The beautiful thing is that they both seemed to get through to each other. Blizzard seemed to gain some respect for Grist and some perspective on what Grist actually hoped to do as a teacher, and Grist seemed to understand the tirade building up to the line about teachers like him making him angry inside.

I do wonder, though, how much actual animosity there is there. I was pretty precocious and anti-authority at that age, but had a sort of mutual understanding with some of my favorite and best teachers that resulted in us seeming to give each other a pretty hard time.
posted by cmoj at 9:53 AM on February 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


They were shaking hands between battles and showed, from what I've seen of DF, an unusual degree of obvious good feeling. Blizzard looks both shamed and proud at the same time by the end.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:03 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man vs kid and the man wins. Or doses he? I mean he beat a kid.
posted by humanfont at 10:22 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man vs kid and the man wins. Or doses he? I mean he beat a kid.

Teaching 16 and 17 year-olds is not easy, and they are very good at winning in a classroom setting surrounded by their peers.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 AM on February 4, 2012


I got the windows security shield virus from the second link. My computer is unusable at the moment and I'm typing this from my phone. If anyone would be so kind as to memail removal instructions, I'd be grateful.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:28 AM on February 4, 2012


Blizzard had a much better flow at a couple of points, and some terrific wordplay a few times (although he really didn't need to pause to point that out, like he did). Grist was just way better on the entertainment front, with punchline after punchline, and a great framing for the "Mrs. Green" segment. I would have even said it was close until the last round, at which point Grist dominated with superior wordplay.

I do wonder, though, how much actual animosity there is there.

I get the feeling it's absolute zero. They actually seemed relatively friendly for a rap battle...it's very rare to see competitors admiring their opponent's lines mid-verse. At least in American rap battles, they usually act a lot more antagonistic.

...but I hated Grist for first calling Blizzard out for sexism and then proceeding to lay hatred on female anatomy generally and reinforce heteronormism

I'm afraid that this is just the wrong art form for you...it only gets worse from here.
posted by Edgewise at 10:30 AM on February 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


It does not feel as spontaneous (or as genuine) as the (entire crowd plus performers) want to feel it is.

It's partly spontaneous, partly prepared. Your verses have to be partly tailored to your opponent, with even some rebuttal, to show that you can think on your feet. You think Blizzard showed up with a whole lot of prepared remarks against teachers? Very doubtful, unless this was literally the only battle of the night (and Grist referred a couple of times to Blizzard beating some Australian girl earlier, presumably that night). Trust me, most people there have a very solid idea of how spontaneous things actually are. The reality is amazing enough.
posted by Edgewise at 10:35 AM on February 4, 2012


Ha! I was waiting to see if this would get posted on Mefi. I know Mark well and chatted to him before and after the battle - this has been a really weird week for him!

His background's in performance poetry, which he does full-time now after quitting his position as a full-time teacher. To give up a well-paid, safe job in the middle of a recession to go into performance poetry, of all things, is a pretty ballsy decision. I think after that competing in a battle league is small beer.

He did his first rap battle over a year ago, as a challenge from an MC he was doing a show with. It was supposed to be the culmination of his education in hip-hop. He could have just sent himself up and acted like an embarrassing dad, but instead he took it really seriously and - to his (and the audience's) surprise - he won. Since then, he's kept it up, and although he's not an MC, he's gaining huge respect on the Don't Flop circuit because he's genuinely giving it his all.

He has another battle in about an hour, in Leeds, against a guy called Zain Azrai. Should be up in a few weeks. Anyway, I take my hat off to him. I had a beer with him a few days after the video went up, and he said rewatching it was painful, because he can see the sheer terror in his eyes. I was shocked - I thought he looked cool as a cucumber.
posted by RokkitNite at 10:40 AM on February 4, 2012 [27 favorites]


It's partly spontaneous, partly prepared. Your verses have to be partly tailored to your opponent, with even some rebuttal, to show that you can think on your feet. You think Blizzard showed up with a whole lot of prepared remarks against teachers? Very doubtful, unless this was literally the only battle of the night (and Grist referred a couple of times to Blizzard beating some Australian girl earlier, presumably that night). Trust me, most people there have a very solid idea of how spontaneous things actually are. The reality is amazing enough.

Actually, in DF you know your opponent a couple of months in advance. The whole battle is prepared - there's almost no freestyles, unless someone fucks up and forgets their bars. Yes, you might write a rebuttal line that you could drop in if someone uses a particular insult on you, that you've anticipated, but otherwise this is all worked out and practised long before showtime. The battle with a female MC happened at a previous night.
posted by RokkitNite at 10:44 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Listening him was just annoying, even before I heard the Mr. Grist stuff I was already annoyed.

If his voice was an octave lower, you'd have no problem with it.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 10:44 AM on February 4, 2012


Lesson: wearing a suit and tie to a rap battle ensures that you'll look respectable, even when describing indelicate acts performed by your opponent's mother.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 10:56 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't suppose these ever get transcribed? This sort of wordplay and political incorrectness is just the sort of thing I could see myself getting into, except I can barely understand three words in ten.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:02 AM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


RokkitNite: Cool! Please tell him to fix his website though. At best it's badly programmed and I had a bunch of errors escaping from it. More likely its seriously infected with something.
posted by msalt at 11:04 AM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like how the english professor has a drink in his hand, just because he's the only one in the room who can, and then makes sure to make a point about it in the battle.
posted by yeolcoatl at 11:07 AM on February 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


That almost gave me hope for modern British education. Bloody hilarious.
posted by Decani at 11:49 AM on February 4, 2012


I don't know why, but whenever I hear rap in a british accent it almost always annoys me. I really don't get it, because I don't have this reaction in a non-rap context.
posted by utsutsu at 12:06 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like how the kid genuinely liked some of Grist's lines. That was cool.
posted by Neekee at 12:25 PM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got this from the second link. It tried to download a PDF from an Indian (.in) domain... it's a wordpress site and looking at the source I'd guess he's got a dodgy template script installed.

Category: Exploit
Description: This program is dangerous and exploits the computer on which it is run.
Recommended action: Remove this software immediately.
Items: http://[some domain].in/[somePath]/lsff.pdf

posted by rh at 12:51 PM on February 4, 2012


Next up for Grist, a battle with Mad Skillz, Danja Mowf, and Saafir.
posted by reenum at 12:52 PM on February 4, 2012


utsutsu: "I don't know why, but whenever I hear rap in a british accent it almost always annoys me. I really don't get it, because I don't have this reaction in a non-rap context."

What do you feel about Rap: The Musical?

"I'm goin' on a drive by, just my posse and me...
I'm a gangster of the old' school, you can call me O.G."
posted by symbioid at 12:57 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's another battle: Mark Grist vs. Mos Prob.
posted by reenum at 12:57 PM on February 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


This was the first rap battle I really enjoyed - mainly because all the rest of them seem to reuse the same material over and over again.

I have to say that I think this ability to speak in poetry is intrinsic in humans if they allow themselves to relax and practice a little. I started adding a third verse in a cover song that I do and simply make up lyrics, usually something to do with the event I'm playing at, and it's worked easily every time. It's bizarrely easier to do on stage than it is to do in practice, too... because you're basically forced into keeping going. And having a tune helps too...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:05 PM on February 4, 2012


With the second link being so dodgy, why is it still up?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 1:06 PM on February 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Here's another battle: Mark Grist vs. Mos Prob.

The bit at 8:00 where Grist takes down Mos Prob "with a single vowel" is pretty amazing.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:57 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy shit Reenum, that link is outstanding. It's not his best minute by any means - he's clearly improved since then. BUT HIS LAST ROUND ONLY USES THE LETTER O.

" Mos-Prop's low on dosh, so cops two goons. Moss-Prop follows goons down to loo. Controls throb of knob how mos-prop's mommy do. Goon looks down. Moss prop shows shock - no! - Gordon Brown?"

Also, "Moss-Prop mops to Bono." might be the best insult in the english language
posted by metaculpa at 2:12 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dammit, Moss Prob.
posted by metaculpa at 2:13 PM on February 4, 2012


The bit at 8:00

I bet that guy's really good at crosswords.
posted by cmoj at 2:21 PM on February 4, 2012


Well, he wins at board games
posted by metaculpa at 2:23 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


[potential malware link removed, carry on.]
posted by pb at 2:34 PM on February 4, 2012


Guess you have to be really forgiving/tolerant to see this as good-natured ribbing and verbal jousting, instead of outright hateful speech. I'm wondering what the subsequent class atmosphere is for these two, although "Blizz" seems to imply that he's foregone his continuing studies because he hates Grist so much. But, if I were him, this battle would certainly instill in me a grand respect for my elder, despite the content...

And, just when I was devising a comment along the lines of "what would Socrates think of this teacher/student interaction..?" Mr. Grist spits:
"I don't have to rap like Socrates to expose your mediocrity."
HEAVY. Love this, thank you for the post!
posted by obscurator at 2:47 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering what the subsequent class atmosphere is for these two, although "Blizz" seems to imply that he's foregone his continuing studies because he hates Grist so much.

It seems like Grist is no longer teaching - which I was wondering about as well: doing this with a current student would feel like a breach of ethics, and even doing it while still teaching would seem to be a pretty risky thing to do.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:33 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would Blizzard Vs H-Bomb be the previous battle that was referred to?
posted by mrbill at 4:37 PM on February 4, 2012


The only thing that bothers me about Blizzard is that he does way too much waiting for applause/feedback after every line and looking to the audience or camera as if asking for approval.
posted by mrbill at 4:53 PM on February 4, 2012


I'm afraid that this is just the wrong art form for you...it only gets worse from here.

"Here" being, where boys are enabled in their chauvinism by their superiors and then proceed to abuse women for the rest of their lives ("there")?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:24 PM on February 4, 2012


"Here" being, where boys are enabled in their chauvinism by their superiors and then proceed to abuse women for the rest of their lives ("there")?

Or maybe it's some people having fun saying disgusting things in complete jest.

Lighten up.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:30 PM on February 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Here" being, where boys are enabled in their chauvinism by their superiors and then proceed to abuse women for the rest of their lives ("there")?

Oh Mefi, you never let me down.
posted by Decani at 6:17 PM on February 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, I started femi-trolling there. Sorry.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:42 PM on February 4, 2012


The "your mum" stuff isn't very original, though - it's the standard well-water of the rap battle. What does make this one a bit weird is that presumably this guy has met Blizzard's mother, probably seen her at parent's evenings... it's sort of odd, from that perspective. The mother in the average calling of the dozens is more of a hypothetical mother.

So, that was odd. Sandals-Gandalf-Porn Stash-World of Warcraft, on the other hand, was beautiful.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:52 PM on February 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was a little on the fence about the "your mum" stuff although the camera setup was novel, but basically it was all a setup for the Pokemon punchline which was like this amazing flurry of direct hits. I actually applauded involuntarily after it despite being alone just now.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:59 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess you have to be really forgiving/tolerant to see this as good-natured ribbing and verbal jousting, instead of outright hateful speech.

I'm gonna go ahead and agree with this sentiment. The casual use of the homosexual as an insult is really just, um, not okay.
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 PM on February 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Guess you have to be really forgiving/tolerant to see this as good-natured ribbing and verbal jousting, instead of outright hateful speech.

Yeah. I briefly toyed with the idea of making a trip to Brixton to see one of these battles in person—and quickly decided that as much as I enjoy the skill shown here, actually being in the same room as that sort of hate speech is going to be deeply unpleasant for me.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:32 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I rise above your hate
Though I hate above your rise
Your simple words deny you my prize
As I sit here, synthesize
from the top of my head, not prepping lyrics in bed
That your mom tucked you into, she said
"get a good night's sleep son, and try to keep it clean
like that andreaazure and avoid the mean."
Oh dammit, I invoked "your mom"
Sinking down to the level of your vocal pipe bomb
instead of a surgical knife, you cut wide like a machete
or you would, if your words weren't so forgetty
while I spit it Natural like Tom Petty.
Palms are sweaty? Been there, done that
Like your f-bomb popgun going tat-tat-tat
A failure of imagination, you lack the mental tool
Guess the teacher done took you to school.
(Time.)
posted by andreaazure at 9:17 PM on February 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


(I would love to do this, even if I am not that good at it. Here is probably how I would try -- I would want to rap like Jelly Donut. By the way, that video is almost six years old on YouTube... and YouTube is only about seven years old. Woah.)
posted by andreaazure at 9:17 PM on February 4, 2012


Actually, in DF you know your opponent a couple of months in advance.

Oh, really? That's a bit of a disappointment, then. I mean, for spontaneous stuff, that would have been pure top shelf. For prepared material, it was definitely good, but my mind isn't quite as blown as it was.
posted by Edgewise at 9:19 PM on February 4, 2012


I think I knew which way the wind was blowing right after the

"extreme babysitting" line, and Blizz just covers his face

I was waiting for the thought balloon that said...

"Oh shite."
posted by timsteil at 9:48 PM on February 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with hot soup girl - this was extremely clever in some places but made me very uncomfortable in others. Maybe this is just me, but I thought the "your mom" parts and that sort of thing were also significantly less funny, in addition to the whole misogyny thing.
posted by naoko at 11:03 AM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Agreed with outlandishmarxist that, in musical terms, the kid won, no contest. Not for nothing is this called rap music. The prof - obviously brilliant - would not have gotten over in, like Queens, where it's about music and balls rather than iambic wit.

But as a middle aged dude, I root for my own. Smart to wear that blazer. Wouldn't have worked nearly as good if he'd come in all Sandleresque in a baggy t-shirt.
posted by Quisp Lover at 4:53 PM on February 5, 2012


Who pulled the string on this clichéd hip hop minion?
Who's this underage knockoff with his store bought opinion?

posted by subbes at 8:04 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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