The second installment of AllHipHop.com’s exclusive profiles on the new school of battle rappers shines a spotlight on Xcel. The former Yunified Mindz member’s early life included navigating the streets of the same city championship boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler called home, but X eventually converted his hustling ambitions into the lyrical version of prizefighting.
In a short amount of time, Xcel has upgraded his battle rap resume with matches versus Daylyt, Lotta Zay, and a close contest against Anubis in URL/BET’s Ultimate Freestyle Friday tournament. His well-received performances have placed X among the culture’s crop of up-and-comers to keep an eye on.
Xcel also united with producer Explizit One for the 2014 album The Difference. With both a battle rap and a recording career on the rise, it’s a great time to get to know the promising emcee through AllHipHop.com’s “Profiles In Battle Rap” series.
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I’m from Brockton, Massachusetts. It’s right outside of Boston.
In May, it’ll be two years competing in leagues. I’ve been rapping, battling, and making music since I was a kid. I was battling in the street. I was a fan of URL, Grind Time, and battling period. I was always watching, then one day I got up the courage to say, “I want to do this sh*t.”
Style Known For (aggression, wordplay, punchlines, freestyle)
I feel like I do everything, but what people know me for is my pen game and lyricism. If people were to categorize me, it would be as a real technical lyricist.
Team Homi along with Swave Sevah, Ill Will, Poison Pen, Sara Kana, Lotta Zay, J Murda, Ciroc. That’s my team.
“This nature. Death is God’s plan” and “Homi over everything”.
Leagues Competed In
Trap House, URL, Black Ice Cartel, Trap House Philadelphia, World Battle League, Spit Dat Heat, and the Quiet Room. I’m going to do King Of The Dot in California. I’m actually battling on KOTD twice this year. I battle P-Nut, and I battle Danny Meyers.
Favorite Battle (Participant)
It’s a toss up between my battle with Daylyt and my battle with Anubis. One, because it was Daylyt, and it was my first time ever being in the ring with a vet. So that was a big moment for me. Then with Anubis – not only because the battle was on BET, but also because we had a classic. We probably had the best UFF battle to ever happen.
Favorite Battle (Non-Participant)
I’m going to pick one that no one else picks. Lotta Zay vs Syahboy. It was a great back and forth. Them two n*ggas was on the rooftop. Them two young boys was in there trying to take each other’s head off. Three rounds of fire back-to-back.
If you want to go super top tier, I’m gonna go with Lux and Hollow. When I first seen it live, I thought Hollow one. But after I watched it again and again on camera, Lux beat Hollow.
One Of Your All Time Hottest Lines
“You gamble with your life. I’m not one to bet against. I show up with arms on your table like f*ck etiquette.” That’s one everybody quotes from my Daylyt battle. I guess that’s a fan favorite.
Your Battle Rap Mount Rushmore
This is Mount Rushmore, so this is the people that put on for their region. So I’ll say Mook and Lux for the East Coast. Aye Verb from the Midwest, and Dizaster for the West Coast.
One Mainstream Rapper You’d Like To Battle
Which New Battler Is The Most Serious Threat When They’re On Their A-Game
The most dangerous person I’ve seen in the last two or three years? Ill Will. He can do everything. He can freestyle you, he can joke you, he can bar you, he can wordplay you, he can be aggressive. There’s nothing he can’t do. But cats from my class, I’ll say Brizz Rawsteen. He’s probably the most dangerous from my class.
What Two Battlers Would You Most Like To See Face Off
I would pick Ill Will on his A-game versus Qleen Paper on his A-game. I think that would be the craziest f*cking battle ever.
Your Battle Rap Hit List
No order, I got Rum Nitty I’m trying to set up. I got Shotty Horroh on my hit list. These are guys I haven’t locked in yet. Danny and JC were on my hit list, but I’m locked in with them. Plus Cortez, Big Kannon, Big T, and anybody else can get it. And on some dream match sh*t, Math Hoffa. I would love to do that if I could.
Top 5 Emcees DOA
Big, Pac, Big L, Rakim, Kool G Rap
Do You Prefer To Participate In A Debatable Battle Or A Clear Victory?
That’s a double-sided question, because the fans want it to be a classic, debatable back-and-forth, so people can keep watching it. But the rapper in me wants it to be a 3-0, body bag. I’m gonna drag you across the street by your head.
I definitely don’t like when my opponent chokes. I want him to get his sh*t off as much as I want to get my sh*t off. I’m a fan of the sport, so I don’t like to see n*ggas choking. If I spit a crazy round and got the crowd going, it’s on you to keep that momentum going. If you choke, that f*cks it up.
What Has Been The Hardest Part Of Succeeding In Battle Rap?
It’s not even the rappers. It’s not even preparing for battles. It’s dealing with all the trolls, everybody having an opinion. N*ggas on Twitter saying, “You’re the wackest n*gga ever. Suck my d*ck.” Then when you respond to them they say, “Nah, you know I f*ck with you.” It’s dealing with crazy sh*t like that.
And dealing with the business part of it. It gets tedious at times. But mostly dealing with the trolls on the Internet is the hardest part. If you don’t have thick skin, don’t f*ck with battle rap. It won’t be the battlers that get in your head. It’ll be the fans, the trolls, and the Facebook groups.
Where Do You See Your Career Five Years From Now?
Five years from now I hope to be considered legendary. Five years from now I hope to have put together a body of work – as far as battles and music – that will put me in the top spot. That will put me with the Mooks, the Luxes. I want to do some business sh*t. I want to be the first n*gga to have a deal that still actively battles. I want to try to blend the gap, because that’s where the game is going. Why not bridge the gap?
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Read other “Profiles In Battle Rap” articles here.
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