Welcome to the darkside. The man playing the role of battle rap’s Sith Lord is Northeast/Down South representative Brizz Rawsteen. Frequently dubbed one of the brightest rising stars in battle culture, Brizz is earning praise from the fans and his peers.
It was actually a veteran battler that helped put Brizz on. John John Da Don saw the young rhymer’s match against Lotta Zay and referred him to URL recruiter Norbes. With that endorsement, Brizz’s email inbox was flooded with interests for his talent.
Brizz says he was set to be part of the Smack/URL Proving Ground class which featured Jay Rell, Prez Mafia, Steamz and Ty Law, but his scheduled bout against Dice-Roller was cancelled at the last minute. Rawsteen had to wait in the wings for his time to rise to the major leagues.
The up-and-comer finally got to the big stage in March as part of URL’s “Rookies vs. Vets” card where he took on top tier battle rapper Aye Verb. This year also saw the release of his The RawTape mixtape in January.
AllHipHop.com tapped Brizz Rawsteen as the latest subject of the “Profiles In Battle Rap” series. The rap version of Anakin Skywalker discusses his Darkside crew, names his top five emcees dead or alive, reflects on facing off against fellow Tar Hell State native T Top on BET, and more.
My hometown is Wilmington, Delaware, but I represent North Carolina to the fullest, because I spent a whole lot of time down there. That’s where I got on as far as battling. I spent 13 years in the Raleigh-Durham area.
My first battle was in March 2012 in Raleigh. I battled a guy named Africa. Prior to that I was doing street, playground battles. So about 3-4 years.
The Africa battle was hosted by Hitman Holla. He was the first person to tell me, “You’re gonna make it. I guarantee it.” So when I see him now he always says, “I told you.”
Style Known For (aggression, wordplay, punchlines, freestyle)
I think my style is unorthodox. I’m not known for one thing. It’s a style of fighting without fighting, like my man Bruce Lee said. I just like to be different. I’m not a clone. I don’t like to sound like other people.
Darkside. We’ve actually been around since before battle rap. It’s Me, Blu-Ray Blade, Billy Dutches, and Strata Gize. All the guys have battles that are on YouTube. They’re very reputable guys in the south, and we’re not done yet.
Out of the squad, I was the first one doing it on this level. Now we’re doing it. Blu Ray Blade is one of the best guys I’ve heard doing this. We’re really trying to put on for North Carolina and the south. Darkside.
I don’t have a slogan. Right now it’s just “Darkside.” You might randomly hear me say “Darkside” in the middle of a conversation. I thought about having one, but I don’t want to take the time to make up a slogan. But if one comes to me…
Leagues Competed In
I started out in a league called R.B.C. in Raleigh. It was started by this guy named C-Dub. Shout out C-Dub. Then I showed my face in the 7 City Sharks League which is Norfolk, Virginia. Shout out to them and Showtime.
After that I battled in Pit Fights in Baltimore. After that I battled in Spit Dat Heat for about three battles straight. After that I did K 100 which is a Midwest league. After those it was pretty much straight to the URL. I also did Go Hard Or Go Home and MeleeTV.
Favorite Battle (Participant)
My first one versus Africa, and my battle versus Lotta Zay done in Atlanta. And then probably the BET battles as a whole. That opportunity was dope.
[T Top and I] are real guys. We’re both kings of Carolina so we agreed we’re not going to be on national TV and try to tear each other down personally. We’re just going to come with these bars and may the best man win. Everybody thinks, “Brizz, you gave it to him.” Nah, I ain’t give it to him. That’s just how it worked out.
Favorite Battle (Non-Participant)
Lux vs Miles
One Of Your All Time Hottest Lines
I got a lot. “The bullet in the tech is toe size, that’s no lie. I put em to your neck from both sides like bow ties.” I have one where I say, “It’s hard picking. From your b*tch, I’ll leave parts missing like Saw 6. But I make all of her [Oliver] twist like Charles Dickens.”
I said that against DC. I’ve said a lot of sh*t that’s going to go unappreciated. I ain’t tooting no horn, but if you watch my battles prior to URL, you’ll see I said a lot of sh*t. I’m not scheme heavy, but I can do it. I said, “I’ll catch you at the Waffle House. As soon as I hop [IHOP] on the scene, then he’s [Denny’s] dead.”
Your Battle Rap Mount Rushmore
I gotta go with Beloved [Loaded Lux]. I’ll take Murda Mook. It’s hard to do the greatest of all time. I gotta rock with Arsonal. I guess I don’t have a fourth guy.
If you were to ask me my favorites right now, I’d probably say Lux, Big T, Verb, Ars, and Pat Stay. And B. Magic, I got to have a punchliner.
One Mainstream Rapper You’d Like To Battle
Probably Kendrick or Royce da 5’9”. I would want somebody that really does it. Not just somebody that got a name because of their money.
Which New Battler Is The Most Serious Threat When They’re On Their A-Game
I’d say Tink The Demon, and – he’s not really knew – but like I said Blu Ray Blade. I think he’s the biggest threat in battle rap period. He’s one of those diamonds in the dirt. He’s really not in the dirt, but for some reason they’re not seeing it how they should. I got him as a threat against anybody he stands in front of.
What Two Battlers Would You Most Like To See Face Off
I’d want to see Lux and Verb face off. That’s a Pacquiao-Mayweather for real. I’d give Verb six months to prepare.
Your Battle Rap Hit List
I don’t necessarily have a hit list, but when they send that list – whoever is on it can get dealt. Just hope you ain’t on it. That’s what I tell everybody.
Top 5 Emcees DOA
I don’t listen to no new rap. My top five is the same as it was in ‘99 – Pac, Big, Nas, Jay, and AZ. Right now my favorite rapper outside of those guys is Joe Budden. I’ve been a Joe Budden fan since the first Mood Muzik.
Do You Prefer To Participate In A Debatable Battle Or A Clear Victory?
Debatables are more classic and have more replay value, so I would probably rock with those. Body bags – I don’t really like seeing a guy get killed.
What Has Been The Hardest Part Of Succeeding In Battle Rap?
Just knowing the ropes, because there’s no manual for this. And it’s not like the guys that’s been around for years are showing us the ropes. I don’t blame guys, but they don’t really reach back and say, “This is how you want to do it.” And if they do that, they’re not doing it in the open. I have had guys drop some jewels though.
Where Do You See Your Career Five Years From Now?
Hopefully, five years from now I would have dropped an album. Hopefully, I will still be relevant and able to live off displaying my talent. In the battle world, I hope to be a legend. I hope to be one of those dudes where when they bring up battle rap, they have to bring up my name. From Delaware to Carolina and everywhere in between.
Stream/Download Brizz Rawsteen’s The RawTape below
What other new battle rappers would you like to see featured in AHH’s “Profiles In Battle Rap” series? Hit them up on Twitter and share your picks in the comments section below.