48 hours into the new year and you already know what that means.

The time has come for The Source to announce our top 20 battle rappers and top 5 events of the previous year. Looking back, one thing is clear: The culture is bubbling to new heights. 2018 not only gave platform for the emergence of great talent, but produced some of greatest battles of all times.

Before we get into the list, lets review some of our favorite moments and bars of the year.

In 2018, we saw the return on a few battle rap veterans: Murda Mook , Jae Millz , T- Rex and Reed Dollaz proved that you can go away and do mainstream projects and still come home to an attentive audience. Some were able to deliver their classic flows to an anxious newby crowd that had only seen them on grainy YouTube, others seemed outdated and out of touch with the culture as it is now. Either way, these battlers created quite a stir on some of the top cards of the year.

We also enjoyed the stripped down, low production styled battles that we saw with URL’s new BANNED series and Smack Vol. series and the make-up battle between Ill Will and Calicoe on the RBE Lift His Soul 5.

Speaking of BANNED…

Lets revisit the Nu Jerzey Twork vs Chess for one of our first moments and favorite haymakers. A classic battle indeed, both men traded slick shots back and forth. While we appreciated the disrespectful tone of the bout, we doubt Smack appreciated getting his pockets tapped in round 3 as Twork got ‘strapped in.’

“I’m strapped in… Nah, Nah… I ain’t even strapped. I’m still on strike. Y’all gotta deal with that! All this pay-per-view shit, I don’t like what I’m hearing Smack. You made $2.5 million? Nigga where its at?”

Another bar that we loved also comes from the front man from The Goonies. On SMACK Vol. 2, against Aye Verb, at the top of round three, Twork attempts a kill shot with his trademark.

Let’s go in unison: “I’m strapped in! I’ll clap you in a coma! Madness! I could snap at any moment….”

“I pull a pound! 100 clip, he get the fully round!He don’t know who did it.. I’m over the body with the hoodie down”

Now lets get into the list. We surveyed over all kinds of battle rap enthusiasts for the last three months (including fans, league owners, bloggers/ influencers and the battlers). The surveys were done in s qualitative manner with special attention to what fans have said and what rappers outside of the culture believe. With over 200 submissions, here are the results.

Top 20 Battlers of The Year
  1. K Shine (Harlem, NY)
  2. Geechi Gotti (Compton, CA)
  3. Iron Solomon (Brooklyn, NY)
  4. Nu Jerzey Twork (Trenton, NJ)
  5. Pat Stay (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
  6. JC (Pontiac, MI)
  7. Rum Nitty  (Phoenix, AZ)
  8. Tay Roc (Baltimore, MD) 
  9. Aye Verb (St. Louis, MO)
  10. DNA (Queens, NY)
  11. T-Top (Fuquay-Varina, NC)
  12. A. Ward (Kansas City, MO)
  13. Loso (Tampa, FL)
  14. Shooney Da Rapper (Mt. Vernon, NY)
  15. Danny Myers (Los Angeles, CA)
  16. John John Da Don (Yonkers, NY)
  17. B-Dot (Pacoima, CA)
  18. Shotgun Suge (Newark, NY)
  19. Bill Collector (Norristown, PA)
  20. Math Hoffa (Brooklyn, NY)

Before you get your Twitter fingers moving, we’re not done. There is more…

Honorable Mentions
Goodz makes our honorable mentions because he was undeniably one of the best battlers of the year, though he only battle twice this year. While he was god-like against last year’s number one battler Tay Roc, his battle against Jimz was lackluster and ended in a fight. We look forward to an even better year from the vet, as he is scheduled to battle Cassidy on URL.
Ill Will has been cooking, showing up ready to battle and representing Pontiac to the fullest.  Those surveyed did not vote him on the list, but we could not let this listing go without noting that he did his thing and deserved to be on the list. His Calicoe and T-Top battles were not only entertaining but proved that he just ain’t anything to be “f*cked” with.
Goonies’ Ryda and female rapper QB Black Diamond also deserve honorable mentions.
This year we felt it was necessary to include top events as well. Check out our top events list below.
Top 5 Events:
URL’s Nome 8
RBE’s Rare Breeds
RBE’s Lift His Soul 5
URL’s SM8
URL’s SMACK Vol. 3
Honorable Mentions:
S.E.A. Cinco De Mayo
K.O.T.D.’s Massacre 4
RapGrid’s Atlanta vs. Everybody
Extra Special Mentions:
BANNED series…. all of them
Thank you to all the fans and survey participants. The culture is alive and well. See you next year.