The current Battle Rap renaissance has notched a number of classic bouts in the seven years since GrindTimeNow introduced the combative subgenre to the online opportunity. While the men maintain the majority of the attention, female Battle Rap leagues are growing rapidly. The largest women’s league, Queen Of The Ring (QOTR), has amassed 9 million-plus YouTube views and roughly 43,000 subscribers since its launch in 2010 while boasting a number of must-see lyrical contests.
Founders Debo and Vague created QOTR as a spinoff from King Of The Ring—a tournament for aspiring battle rappers where the winner secured a shot in the market-leading SMACK/Ultimate Rap League (URL). “After that was all said and done, they pretty much broke apart and kept King Of The Ring, and did King Of The Ring on its own without URL,” QOTR CEO, Debo says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “After that I came into play. We became partners and the idea was brought up to do Queen Of The Ring. So we went looking for girls, found some girls, did two battles just in a sneaker store and the response for it was actually good due to the fact that people knew who we were through King Of The Ring.
"So when we did Queen Of The Ring, we put it up on YouTube," he continued. "We got a quick 5,000 views so we knew we was on to something so we continued to do it. Next thing you know, I found a boxing gym. I used to box, so I know boxing gyms all over the Tri-state area. So the next card we did was at Aaron Davis Boxing Gym and that just elevated the look of what Queen Of The Ring had to offer. We brought Babs Bunny in around that time, and now here we are.”
Although female Battle Rap leagues are relatively new, Debo says that their battles remain entertaining because women “can use both sides of their brain.” “They use more brainpower than the dudes do,” he says. “They’re more interesting.”
According to Debo, it’s not uncommon to see 400 people packed into a venue for QOTR battles. And much like the men, women battlers also receive a purse for competing. But while reports of some making upwards of $10,000 per battle, Debo is tight-lipped about how much he pays each battler to step into the ring.
“I’ll give you an ancient Chinese secret on that,” he says to DX. “I never say [how much money the women receive] because females are sensitive. That’s probably one of the secrets to my success, because I remember, no female wants to be overtopped by any other female and be like, ‘Yo, she better than me,’ in anything, whether it be Battle Rap, whether it be just life in general, or how she dress, or how she look, how big her titties are, how big her ass is. No female wants to be like, ‘Yo, you’re uglier than her. She’s prettier than you. She makes more money than you. She done this more better than you.’ And I never did that. And that’s one of the key elements that I held high in Battle Rap that’s kept me going with Queen of the Ring to this day.”
On May 4, Queen Of The Ring held its Barz Over Everything event in Brooklyn’s Judah Bros Boxing Gym featuring Ms. Fit versus Ms. Hustle, 40 BARRS versus Young Gattas and headlining battle, Chayna Ashley versus E Hart. QOTR is hosted by Vague and former cast member of Diddy's "Making The Band," Babs Bunny. Chayna Ashley battles E Hart below.