On Saturday, July 12, Total Slaughter became the first battle rap offered by means of traditional terrestrial pay-per-view carriers. The event was headlined by mainstream recording artist Joe Budden, who stepped in against battle mainstay Hollow da Don, and also featured the long-awaited rematch of one of the all-time great battles in Loaded Lux vs. Murda Mook.
But the biggest story of the night seems to be Watts rapper Daylyt, who showed up for the battle dressed head-to-toe in an elaborate Spawn costume. After two fairly straightforward rounds of rapping, he spent his third round feigning a seizure, as he ripped the latex from his body, stripped down to his boxer briefs, mimed defecating on the stage by dropping a candy bar, then proceeded to eat it.
Was this good for battle rap?
Total Slaughter as an event and as a league has faced a number of criticisms from the battle community at large. Along with the debut event presumptuously promoting itself as "the king of all battle leagues," there were technical issues with the iPay-Per-View stream and the feeling that some of the performances didn't quite live up to the hype.
While it's hard to dispute those shortcomings, other criticisms seem somewhat misguided. Some were angry that the typically gritty and minimalist battle rap atmosphere suddenly had an elaborate set design, and that half the crowd seemed like they had never seen a battle before. A lot of people were there just because they love Joe Budden.
But as inexperienced as the crowd may seem, every battle is someone's first. With the thousands in attendance and viewing at home getting their first taste of battling by being exposed to some of the all time greats like Hollow, Mook and Arsenal, that hardly seems detrimental to "the culture of battling."
But they also saw Daylyt strip to his underwear and mock-eat his own poop.
Daylyt's no stranger to controversy. Along with being outstanding at rapping, Day's ridden a wave of shock value in a way no other battler really has. The past two years have seen him do everything from showing up to battle a blind MC dressed as Batman to wiping the sweat from his testicles on an opponent's face. He's not just a loose cannon, he's the captain an unstable battleship.
But perhaps the most compelling element of Daylyt’s eccentricities is how he seems to be entirely in control of it all. He entered Fuse’s battle rap reality show Road to Total Slaughter in the middle of a hellacious New York winter wearing only his boxers and promised to be the most talked-about name in battle rap by any means necessary.
Now he's doing just that by being Total Slaughter’s most talked-about participant. Had he been half-hearted with his antics or winking to the crowd, his final round Saturday could have been chalked up to just Daylyt being a troll. But his motionless body on the floor as the packed Hammerstein Ballroom booed him and Hot 97’s EBro yelled at him to “get the fuck up” spoke volumes about his dedication to his craft.
It’s understandable why the battle community at large is split over Daylyt’s actions. Longtime battle fans tune in to see passionate performances, masterful crowd control, intricate rhyme schemes and innovative flows. They don’t typically see coprophagia, and from the sound of things, they don’t want to see it.
But while most proponents of battles will proudly exclaim the importance of rhymes, Daylyt’s sheer commitment to his third round antics — which, given his history as an impressive rapper, he didn’t have to do — should at the very least earn him some credit for pushing the limits of what can be done in a battle.
Hardcore battle fans who appreciated the stunt have been fervently attempting to deconstruct its various meanings. King of the Dot’s Troy Daniels posted to that battle league's Facebook group these parallels between Daylyt’s performance and the Spawn character itself:
“Did you know that Al (the person inside the suit) constantly battled his Spawn suit for control? Did you know during the Bloodfeud storyline Spawn fears his suit is feeding off blood and rips his suit off his body? 'Mother gives the power of the Forbidden Fruit to the lifeless Spawn, resurrecting him in a new form — his cloak and chains are gone, replaced with shining white wings. ?Mother explains that Cyan was right; Spawn needed to die in order to be resurrected and gain the power to rival God and Satan.’"Now with all this in mind — can you see Daylyt's third round vs rex in a different light? (suit = antics etc)”
While to the best of our knowledge, there’s no ingestion of feces inSpawn
(we could be wrong, we’ve always been more of a
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kinda crowd), Daniels’ reading of Daylyt pulling off his greatest caper on the biggest battle stage ever could be interpreted as him shedding the gimmicks as he catapults himself into rap stardom. But only Daylyt seems to know what’s next for Daylyt.
There’s an old adage: “You can recognize a pioneer by the arrows in his back.” It should be updated to mention tattered spandex and a face tattoo as well.
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