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Latin American freestyle rap battle competition “Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos” offers look into what to expect in the International Final


Every year, the “Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos” attracts millions of people in Spanish-speaking nations to see who will be the best freestyler across Latin America. Inspired by the movie “8 Mile,” the competition started in 2005 in Latin America and has evolved to become the largest freestyle rap battle competition in the world.

Even though the international final will take place in a month in Madrid, the road has been exciting and eventful. The top three competitors from last year automatically advance to compete in this year’s international, and thirteen nations are sending representatives through regional competitions, semifinals, and national finals.

Who is going to the international final?

Since June, national finals have taken place in order to see who will represent each country. The top three competitors from last year are: Wos, 2018 international champion, from Argentina, Aczino, runner-up, from Mexico; and Valles T, third place, from Columbia.

Wos (left), determined to win the 2018 international final after losing the 2017 final to Aczino (right). After cries for another rematch from the public, we may see yet another contentious battle between the two legends. Credit: loqueva.

The competitors who are qualified so far through winning the national final go in chronological order: Teorema, who wrecked the Chilean final on June 22, Lobo Estepario, who crushed the Mexican final on July 7; Zasko, who took control of the Spanish final on July 13; Shield Master, who clutched the victory in the Dominican Republic final on July 20; Carpediem, who came back for revenge in the Columbian final on Aug. 10; SNK, who plowed through the Costa Rican final on Aug. 17; Tito MC, who killed the competition in the Cuban final on Aug. 25; Chang, who made sure that old school still has fight left in the Venezuelan final on Aug. 30; Franco, who lived up to everybody’s expectations in the Uruguayan final on Sept. 21. Litzen, who crashed the Peruvian final on Sept. 28; Minos, who continued his friend’s legacy in the Bolivian final on October 5th; Yartzi, who dominated the US final on Oct. 18; and Trueno, who earned a ticket to Spain on Oct. 20.

What are the battles like?

Battles are structured in plenty of different ways, but the general structure for Redbull’s battles are: four minutes total, each competitor gets two minutes each. They are called down by the host, who explains the rules and facilitates rock-paper-scissors to see who goes first. There, the host calls on the DJ to spin it, and the battle begins.

Minute one features the first competitor attacking his opponent, trying to make a good impression on the judges and setting the bar for the three remaining minutes. The second minute is the response from the second competitor, who tries to refute the first one’s claims and one-up him. The third minute is the attack of competitor two, who attacks competitor one, trying to finish strong. The fourth and final minute sees competitor one responding to everything competitor two said while trying to make some impressive closing statements. After all is said and done, the competitors face the judges, who, after a countdown, hold the name of whoever they thought won up to where the audience can see it.

Between two of the best freestylers in the world, there are plenty of opportunities to make a battle memorable and frequently referenced in future competitions. One of the quarter final battles from the 2018 international, Valles T vs Pepe Grillo, is one of the most memorable examples. With 6.8 million views on YouTube, the battle shows the two competitors with a high level, not holding back on attacking, and the beautiful responses that followed.

With only a month left until the main event, everybody is speculating what will happen. The international final has been known to be extremely unpredictable at times, which is what keeps many tuned in. But as expressed in Marithea’s opening lines in the Columbian semifinal against Carpediem, “I’m doing this for my family / especially my mother / who’s watching this right now through streaming,” the competitors will fight as hard as they can.

Seasoned veterans and rivalries are thrown into the mix as well, making the stakes even higher.

Although the judges’ decisions aren’t always agreeable, the events are always a fun watch. Viewers remain on the edges of their seats, and everyone ends up rooting for a competitor to win, whether they represent their nation or not.

The main goal for Batalla de los Gallos is to bring nations together in a healthy competition and show that nobody is better than the other. In the end, nobody is a Columbian, Bolivian, Mexican, or any nationality. Everybody is of the same, supporting whomever they want. 

2017 International final

Aczino, in his home country, savagely attacked Wos, confident in his own ability. While Wos gave his all, Aczino’s confidence in his prior victories, notably in the semifinal against the Spaniard Arkano, who beat Aczino in the 2015 international, and his superior style outflanked Wos in every way.

2018 International final

In Wos’s home country of Argentina, Wos came back with a vengeance, turning the tides against “The Devil.” He came back with a focus on an improved flow and emphasis on punchlines, winning a tug of war on the balance of power between the two. 

The International final will be streamed through youtube on November 30th through their main channel.

Feature Image: Teorema (right) faces his opponent, Jokker (left), in the Chilean final

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Latin American freestyle rap battle competition “Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos” offers look into what to expect in the International Final