Mexican triumphs at world’s first rap competition set in fully virtual world.
Mexican freestyle rapper Rapder overcame a strong line-up of the world’s best to claim his first Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos International crown – the first freestyle rap battle competition event to take place on a fully virtual stage. Here is all you need to know:
– Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos adapted to the unique 2020 worldwide situation with over 17,000 entries to the global competition – double last year’s total – whittled down to compete in 11 National Finals.
– Alongside facing one of the strongest line-ups of competitors ever seen – including three previous champions – Rapder also faced an unprecedented situation; an international final filmed on a fully virtual green screen set without a live audience.
– The December 12 event took place at Pinewood Studios in the Dominican Republic, which led to over 14 million streams from fans eager to see their heroes.
– An NBA-inspired bubble was created 10 days before with a studio, battle ring and spaces to relax on hand like a basketball court, pool and gaming rooms.
– To give the MCs added energy, screens with live projections of friends, family and fans were set up offstage and the green-screen set was so large, the Dominican Republic alone did not have enough paint to cover it so had to be brought in from Connecticut, USA.
– Hosts Queen Mary and Serko Fu welcomed the audience onto the mind-bending virtual structure set in a parallel world, referred to as ‘the flow dimension’.
– After a first-round repeat of last year’s final saw Bnet overcome Valle-T, the likes of Spanish champion Skone showed their prowess behind the mic to progress.
– The quarter-finals saw Dominican newcomer Exodo Lirical defeat reigning international champion Bnet in a shock result as Rapder, fellow Mexican Aczino and Skone also made it through to the last four.
– The semi-finals began with two former world champions, Aczino and Skone, meeting for a fiery battle in the ring with Skone earning his final spot against Rapder, who ended Exodo Lirical’s dream run.
– After Aczino fended off Exodo Lirical for third place, the final started off with an acapella battle, where MCs Rapder and Skone were tasked with rhyming about random objects in a trunk.
– The virtual scene then transported them to a desert environment and one in the snowy mountains where they were both asked, ‘Who would you take with you?’, with both responding in thrilling verse.
– Skone came up with this slick line, “I am like a polar bear in the desert, champion, they all rap the same and I am in danger of extinction”, while Rapder delivered this gem, “I am like the desert if you can capture it / I leave your brain dry and never stop shining”.
– As casters Taty and Tess La guided the audience through the play-by play, the panel of judges – which featured Arkano (2015 International Champion) and Muphasa (Argentinean freestyler) – decided Rapder’s superiority in every round was enough for the title.
– Rapder revealed: “I’m really happy – it hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m really proud to have won this. It’s knowing everything I’ve gone through in my life, knowing you can make mistakes, fall down and keep going. I can’t wait to be back in Mexico and celebrate with my family.”
– Event director Paulí Subira Claramunt added: “Last year’s Red Bull International Final had 14,000 attendees and was the most livestreamed Spanish language music event of all time. It became clear that having fans on site wasn’t going to be possible in 2020, but we wanted to still give the fans and MCs something spectacular.”
2020 Champion Rapder
Real Name: Eder Ernesto Lozano Arias
Mexico National Final Winner
From: Guadalajara, Mexico
The two-time Mexican champion climbed onto the finalist podium after winning the 2020 Mexico National Final, through an intense last battle against Yoiker. The freestyler started on the circuit in 2017 when he competed in the National of Mexico, reaching the end where he battled Aczino. Although Aczino won, Rapder became more known in the freestyle world. In 2018, he competed in his first International Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos final in Buenos Aires.
– He often takes inspiration for new rhymes from the news.
– He is commonly referred to as ‘La Bestia De Occidente’ (The Beast of the East), after a battle in Guadalajara against his friend el Gallo de Jalisco.
– He released a solo album ‘Posdata’ in 2019.