He's either really, really good, or he's on bath salts.
That's what may come to mind when one considers Queens battle rapper, DNA. It's not that he hasn't proven himself in the battle ring before - he's battled Dizaster and a lot of other big names in his lane. It isn't that he isn't a good and worthy opponent in his URL battle circuit.
It's just that Meek Mill is that good.
Long before the MMG days of pissing off pastors and bottle-throwing incidents, Meek Mill was known in those streets. Those streets are Philly, a hard-nose city with a propensity for kickin' *ss. And he was a dope battle rapper as a kid - a kid who might make you cross the street if you saw him coming your way.
Meek is all grown up now, and his skills are sharper than ever. The battle stakes are high with $100,000 and his good, mainstream name on the line. So, is DNA on bath salts, or did Meek Mill just make the worst wager of his life? Check our interview with DNA and get ready for the rumble:
AllHipHop.com: So, I just wanted to catch up with you because we've been keeping up with story about this upcoming battle between you and Meek Mill. The first thing I want to ask you about is just the battle topic itself. I know it has always existed, but it seems like lately, there's been a few battles that are sort of bringing it to the forefront again. So, what are your thoughts on the way the battle has returned lately?
DNA: I feel like, you know, Summer Madness Two, I think that's what really opened a lot of people's eyes to the battles, because Loaded Lux made a return, Murder Moot, Serious Jones, and others. And then, ever since the battles, it's been crazy loud. But since those battles got released on the Internet, it's just so many celebrities, so many people that wasn't in tune with battle rap - they're back in tune with it. And a lot of new people that never used to watch the battles. So, I think it's good that we actually starting to get liked, and a lot of websites that wasn't really into battle rap is picking it up now. So I think it's a good thing.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah. For sure. So let me ask you about a couple of battles that stick out for me this year. The first one was Canibus-vs-Dizaster, which was a disaster for one of them. So, what are your thoughts on that?
DNA: I mean, I had battled Dizaster last November in Canada, and Drake hosted it. So, just me battling Dizaster - it was a close battle - and you know, he's very talented. So, I knew going into the battle with him and Canibus that, you know, Canibus wouldn't be able to get by if he rhymed like he did 10 years ago.
AllHipHop.com: Right. OK.
DNA: Once the battle started, and he's rhyming the same way, it was kind of like, almost like, he was past his prime. An what made it even worse was that, you know, a lot of people know the rules to Hip-Hop. Even though there aren't really any, but it's that imaginary handbook. You know, when you choke, you're always supposed to keep going. And then it wasn't even that he choked; it was just him pulling out the notepad. He almost, to me, it's like he made a battle rap, because to me, my question was unless you have the intent of doing that from the jump, like, why would you bring your notepad to a battle? So that also was just crossing my mind. Like, is this guy trying to be funny? Is this a publicity stunt? Did he just do it for the money? So, overall I think if Canibus would have respected the battle, it would have looked good for us and battle rap. But because he didn't, I think it almost hurt what we was trying to do. If anything, it didn't help us at all.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, 'cause the notepad did seem kind of like a violation. But when you think about other violations - and I don't know if there are really rules to this battling thing, per se - but how you mentioned the Calicoe and Loaded Lux battle, which I did see also. And Loaded Lux clearly was the winner, but he was going in so hard on Calicoe's father - who you know, we know from BMF (Black Mafia Family) or whatever. But, are there rules to that? Are there places that you shouldn't go as a battle rapper, or are you just being disrespectful?
DNA: I mean, to me, and this is also how everybody should feel or don't battle...in those nine minutes or whatever time limits you battle, I feel like anything could be said because it's a battle. There are no rules. But at the same time, I mean, me being a conscious person of what I'm saying, I got my own rules. Like I won't talk about somebody being dead, or I won't talk about anybody's kids or family members with disabilities or illnesses. That's just not what I do. But, I mean to me, I feel like Calicoe was glorifying his father in a way, you know, negatively. Negativity, with negativity.
And then Loaded Lux brings just, he brought, he brought like a new act back to battle rap. He was almost like a Malcolm X. What he was telling Calicoe was like a sermons. Like, to be gangster isn't cool. Which is something that we all know, but a lot of people glorify it instead of talking about it in that way. So, I felt it was actually hot, but that's just me as a battle rapper. A lot of people told me, though, that they felt like he crossed the line. So, to me he didn't, but maybe he did. I don't know.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah. It was kind of a fine line. So, let me ask you a question about the big battle with Meek Mill. I heard Meek Mill on Power 99 in Philadelphia last week with DJ Cosmic Kev, talking about trying to get them, seeing who could get the money up against you. The $100,000 or whatever to do a battle, and Meek had some things to say about you as a battle rapper and a few other people. But tell me how this really evolved, because the amount of money you guys are putting up is major.
DNA: Well, I mean, the way it goes is that it used to be back in the day where you bet. Like, let's say we battle for $5,000. I put up $2,500, and the person I'm battling puts it up, and then the winner gets the $5,000. Now it's almost like boxing - you get paid, win or lose.
So when people want a certain amount of money, they find sponsors. So, I mean, that's what we doing right now. We been in talks with a few people that's willing to put up the $100K because they know how big the situation could be for a battle rap. So, I mean, that's all we're really waiting for because Meek said he's with it, and then I asked some people I know who spoke to him and spoke to his management team, and they said that if the money's right, they would. So, right now we just waiting for the sponsor, and if that goes through, then, you know, nine times out of 10, it should happen. If it goes down, you know it's gonna be on URL, Smack. So, it's definitely gonna be on the right track.
AllHipHop.com: So obviously, you know, you think there's an opportunity for you to beat Meek, or you wouldn't be putting yourself out there like that. But what do you see? You know, I think a battle is like fighters in the ring. What do you see as Meek Mill's weakness in the ring if you had to say that for a battle rapper?
DNA: Number one, he hasn't battled in this day and age. Like, that's the main one. Like, you know, like, a lot of people could say they could play golf, play basketball. But if you're a baseball player and never played basketball, I mean you could do it but it's just not gonna, you know what I mean? You gotta see it to believe it. So, I'm not underestimating nobody, because anybody could do anything on any given day. But for me that's just like my main thing. I've never seen him battle in this type of atmosphere, because a show and a battle is two different things - and he does shows. He's going and performing in front of a crowd that knows everything he's about to say, so they with him. In a battle, you gotta make people cheer for something they don't even know that's about to come. So, it's way different.
AllHipHop.com: OK. So, you know, this could potentially destroy you if you lose. So what's your strategy for winning?
DNA: I mean, I wouldn't look at it like that. I mean, I'm 100% sure thinking that I'm gonna win. But if anything, I'm the one that has nothing to lose, everything to gain. It would destroy him if he loses. You know what I'm saying? Like, it's almost like the underdog effect, because even though people in the battle world will vote for me, the majority of people that be knowing about the battle and be watching it, they'll be in Meek Mill's favor because he's more popular than me. So, you know, if anything, I feel like I'm the underdog in that situation, but I won't be approached like that or rated like that. So, I don't plan on getting destroyed. I mean it hasn't happened yet at any battle so, I repeat that.
AllHipHop.com: OK. I hear that. All right. So, in terms of what else you're doing, after Mill's battle comes, what else do you have on your plate and where else can people check you out?
DNA: Well, we'll be in London from October 20-22, and we'll be in Australia November 2-4. I got battles ands shows out there. and, you know, y'all can reach me at twitter.com/DNA_gtf0h, facebook.com/DNAgtf0h, and we're featured in Bookins, - bookDNAnow@gmail.com.
AllHipHop.com: OK. So the real fighters always have some sh*t to talk to their opponent right before the battle. So, if you could say anything to Meek right now, what would you say to him?
DNA: You know, just get ready. I'm not the one, you know, boast or talk sh*t or say much. I just want to make the battle happen, and let all my sh*t talking and everything I'm trying to do happen when we battle. So, if he's serious - which I think he is - like I said, we spoke to numerous people that's close to him. And let's make it happen.
AllHipHop.com: OK. All right. So we're gonna stay tuned to see when this battle materializes, and keep us posted until then. And, definitely once it does happen, I'm hoping you'll give an exclusive to AllHipHop so we can let people know what the whole situation was like.
DNA: Oh yeah. Definitely. As soon as it's confirmed - if it is confirmed - y'all be the first to know.
AllHipHop.com: All right. Cool. So have a good trip to London, and we will talk to you soon!
Stay tuned to AllHipHop.com for DNA vs. Meek Mill battle updates!