My name is Pete. I am 39. I have grey hair, mild sciatica and occasional haemorrhoids. I get wheezy walking up hills. I enjoy pub quizzes and seaside away days. And I am also, at the time of writing, an unbeaten battle MC. In fact, I specialise in gun bars. FUCKING SICK ONES MATE.
In 2010, I started getting interested in, and then writing about, the Don’t Flop battle league, specifically their star, MC O’Shea, who I'd heard mentioned in passing in an article elsewhere. As I started attending the events more, I became involved with the movement more, covering it a couple of times and even contributing to Don’t Flop’s blog. When, in early 2012, it was mooted that I and the organisation blog editor Bentlegs, might enjoy an informal “battle” at their annual off-the-wall April Fool’s event, I almost wept. See, I’d recently added “doing a rap battle” to my bucket list, and now I was going to get to actually do it, but without all the unpleasant terminal cancer stuff.
So, on April 1st, almost gagging on my terror-swollen tongue, I stepped into the battle rap arena for the first time, when most of my contemporaries were probably laying into the post-roast dinner washing-up. I was shitting myself – and at my age, actually doing that is an ever-present worry – but no self-soiling was necessary because I smashed it.
My opponent was Welsh, so when I dropped the bar “I’m bringing slaughter to Wales like a Japanese harpooner” I brought the place down. I was a touch misogynist, a touch homophobic and absurdly aggressive – but it’s not for me to pay myself such compliments. All I know is, I was declared a narrow winner by the battle judges, and after that moment, my life would never be the same again. Which is fine with me, because it was fucking rubbish before. As I stood outside the venue in the moments after the battle, blowjobbing a calming cigarette (I don’t normally smoke) as men half my age fistbumped me and told me how 'sick' I was, I thought to myself: I could get used to this.
I have since got used to this. For me, the rush of battling comes, oddly, not from the adulation of the aforementioned men in their early twenties, but from standing in front of a room full of those self-same men, with a head full of insults knowing that you could forget the lot of them and die squirming on a pin like a wronged earwig. Have you ever seen a battle MC choke, badly? It’s excruciating. The fear of that is what drives me, because if it ever happens to me, I won’t just look like I am a young man forgetting his lines, I’ll look like the personification of the exact moment when Alzheimer’s sets in.
It hasn’t yet. My second battle, against the Runcorn MC Average Keith, happened to be in my hometown of Wolverhampton (it should be noted that you get to go to ALL the best spots when you are a battle MC of note – in two weeks’ time I am going to battle in Warrington, jealous?) So, obviously, I end-loaded my third verse with a load of gratuitous Wolvo references that he wouldn’t get, to counterbalance the first verse in which I draw upon the theme of being teabagged by, and then sodomising, his mum.
As a result of that triumphant coup de grace of wordplay – the Wolverhampton puns, not the mum-touching – you find me with a present battle record of two wins and no defeats. I’m like Floyd Mayweather Jr. A fat, old, withered Floyd Mayweather. Floyd Maywithered! See, I can’t stop myself. This is what it’s like when you’re a battle rapper. You’re always on the lookout for a shit pun from which battle gold threads can be spun.
Where will it end? Well, the unbeaten record will almost certainly end in Warrington, as I am up against the brilliant and experienced Liverpudlian battler Ricky Wiley. As for the battling, I intend to quit on my 40th birthday. Between now and then, I have lots of MCs half my age to fuck up. And when I am done fucking them up, make no mistake that I will fuck their mums. ALL OF THEM. After all, I’m just the right age.