The utmost strength on Earth resides within intellectual property. Earning a seat at the table, executing a gameplan and wearing out your opponent goes hand in hand with freestyle rapping.
Artists aim to find pressure points to exploit with lawyer esque precision. El Dilema spares few words yet speaks mightily. He automatically qualified for the Finals due to his strong finish last year and shared intellectual intangibles with our FNN cohort.
Fresh News Now: Can you tell me a little about yourself, your brand, and what you’re looking forward to the most during the Red Bull Batalla 2021 season?
El Dilema: What I’m looking forward to the most during this season, is the ability to gain exposure to ultimately catapult my musical career. As far as my brand and style, I simply try to come off as a strong competitor with a strong attitude, who always makes sure to pack a punch with strong content in my bars.
As competition remains paramount, skills begin to sharpen
FNN: What would winning the competition mean to you?
El Dilema: Besides the fact that I always try to win every competition I enter, for Red Bull Batalla, the exposure is key. Every round that you advance, means more viewers, more social media followers, more opportunities. Winning is always what any competitor should try to do and whoever says otherwise is simply not a competitor. Every freestyle competition you win, you instantly see more support behind your music, more followers on social media.
FNN: What is your go-to freestyle style and what are some techniques that you use while competing?
El Dilema: My favorite style is 4×4 battles, where competitors go back and forth with each other 4 bars at a time. It’s my favorite style because it really gives you the best chance to show how witty and clever you are with rebuttals on the spot. My favorite technique or skill is my ability to execute punchlines, especially punchlines with double entendres.
FNN: How do you get a feel for when to deliver your strongest punchline? Is it from the crowd, is it just from instinct, what do you think?
El Dilema: When I’m battling, self-consciously I’m looking to hear a keyword that sticks out to me from my opponent, and then I strategize around the keyword to build punchlines around it. I then stick to the keyword or theme and go at ’em from there. A lot of the time as well, I just try to use the last word that my opponent used and flip it against them with a punchline.
Throw particular preference out the window, flexibility is key
FNN: Do you have a preference in beats whenever you’re battling?
El Dilema: In terms of a preference between beats, I don’t really have a preference. There are some beats that have double tempos and allow you to show off your flow a little better, which can be good sometimes when you don’t want to come off as a super aggressive rapper. But to no surprise, it’s evident that I like beats that are a little slower, those 90’s slow beats that really allow you to express your true essence but honestly, whatever beat is played will be accepted from me either way. I can flow to them all. Even a bachata beat.
FNN: When it comes to outside influence, how much does the crowd influence your battle?
El Dilema: The crowd definitely influences me during battles, especially when it’s Plaza battles (battles on a corner or local park/plaza) and you have some familiarity with the crowd and see the reactions up close. It can be really frustrating when the crowd goes against you though. It happened to me recently at a battle event that I attended with Yartzi, and he had to calm me down, because it really bothers me when I know I’m doing a good job and delivered a well thought out punchline and the crowd purposely doesn’t give you credit or react to it – and they all come in union to celebrate your opponents punchlines despite them not being as strong as yours. I took that experience as a learning lesson and don’t think I’ll let my emotions get the best of me like that again.
Stick to your strengths, remain positive
FNN: Do you remember the “Yo Momma” show with Wilmer Valderrama and the jokes? How do you compare that to rap battles? Additionally, do you ever dig up dirt on your opponent to use against them during battles?
El Dilema: No, I’ve never dug up anything on any of my opponents because we’re freestyling so you don’t really need to go into the battle with dirt. If I were to go into battles with written material, then I’ll probably do some digging but I don’t. I think writing and digging up dirt takes too much effort, then you have to memorize all of the lines. In our freestyle competitions, we usually get themes or words that we need to rhyme with so we have to freestyle off the top.
FNN: What does your pre game routine look like and how do you guys prepare to be in the most optimal shape for these events?
El Dilema: I don’t do anything out of this world, I just disconnect myself from my phone and social media, I try not to speak to a lot of people and relax my mind. I also like to listen to some of my favorite music to relax and ultimately try my best to relax honestly. I just try to stay as clear-minded as possible.
FNN: What country are you representing and who would you like to shout out?
El Dilema: I represent Dominican Republic, and I always try my best to represent my culture and background. And my shoutout would be to everyone who always supports me, especially my close friends and family, and all of my boys from Dioses de La City!
El Dilema hopes to prove himself as a disruptor and one who can eclipse the first place title during this edition of competition. Regardless, his exposure and collaborative qualities ensure that win, lose or draw his career will continue to elevate.
The Red Bull platform continues to prove extremely noble through mutually beneficial opportunities such as these. It is up to the artists to determine their destiny and navigate through the rings of the music business.