, for starters - reminding us that what was once a niche interest has turned into a lucrative and respected art form (and business) within its corner of the music world.
Some of the biggest companies now have a decade or more under their belts, and we expect this year to only be better. So, here are five upcoming battles that have fans salivating in anticipation. They're all far from L.A., unfortunately, but you can still order a pay-per-view stream for both UW's High Stakes
and King of the Dot's Blackout
See also: Top 10 Rap Battles in History
5) The Freestyle Mondays Off-The-Head Gameshow Battle Tournament
February 3, Spike Hill in Brooklyn
Known for traditional off-the-top rapping, Freestyle Mondays spent 2013 on hiatus. But now, following a strong victory by reigning champ Bobby Moreno, the eight-MC tournament, backed by a live band and including numerous challenges - including a spinning wheel determining the type of battle - returns.
4) B Magic vs. Daylyt
January 26, UW Battle League's High Stakes at ENVY in Elizabeth, New Jersey
A throwdown between two of battling's most consistently-unpredictable superstars: B Magic is a battler with a penchant for making each line sound like a knockout blow. (Alchemist is a fan.) He takes on the eccentric and endlessly influential Daylyt. Both men are promising a classic, with B Magic calling Daylyt his "oldest son," and Daylyt boasting he's making a one-million dollar bet on his own victory.
See also: Controversial Watts Battle Rapper Daylyt Slays His Opponents
Last year was triumphant for the battle rap world - with the launch of a battle