Poet in Residence, Mark Grist, left a secure 9-5 teaching job to become a full time poet. Although some have criticised him on his decision he believes his passion for words is worth the risk.
We have been following Mark’s wacky word journey over the past year and have enjoyed every strange challenge he has taken on. The most memorable one to date has been his rap battle with a 17 year-old boy from Manchester, Bradley Green AKA Blizzard...
What Is a Rap Battle?
Each battle is made up of three rounds each lasting around 90 seconds. The aim of the battle is to outwit and lyrically slate the competitor. At the end of the battle the judges will decide which rapper outwitted the other in each round and then give their overall opinion on the battle. The win goes to the rapper with the most rounds given to them.
Poetry vs Rap
Last year Mark was invited to take part in one of the UK’s largest rap battle events, ‘Don’t Flop’, hosted by Rowan Fife. He was asked to write material to battle a 17 year-old rapper from Manchester, Bradley Green AKA Blizzard. Although people within the industry thought it wouldn’t work due to their difference in age and lifestyle, Rowan believed it would make an interesting battle.
Mark Grist and Blizzard both decided to use their different lifestyles as the main focus of the battle. Blizzard opened with references to Mark’s lack of teaching abilities and not being able to control the class while Mark approached it with references to his age, where Blizzard’s from and the fact he looks like Deborah Meaden!
Mark was clearly expected to be the ‘underdog’ of the battle, however it was clear after the first round that Mark’s obsession with words was overlooked and he could, if not had after the first round, win the battle! Blizzard stepped up his game in the second round with more intense heated lyrical teacher vs student comments but Mark shattered all remembrance of Blizzard’s bars by choosing to dedicate his second round to ‘Mrs Green’, Blizzard’s mother!
Blizzard used round 3 to express his hate for the education system and teachers like Mark Grist, but he also managed to cleverly compare his talents by referring to Samuel Pepys, Martin Luther and Oscar Wilde and how he makes these figures of the past look like ordinary people compared to him. Mark finished the battle by slapping Bradley with an ‘F’ grade.
The judges awarded Mark Grist the win!
The battle took place on 19th November 2011 and was put onto YouTube in early January. Since the clip has been live it has received over one million hits! It now holds the record for the most viewed ‘Don’t Flop’ rap battle.
‘Don’t Flop’ battle clips have been viewed eight million times to date, making the Mark Grist vs Blizzard battle a massive contributor.
The battle has hit local and national press with The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday making an article about it! The strangest part of it all is even American online blogging sites shared the YouTube clip which contributed to the amount of hits received. The battle literally went viral!
The clip will not be hosted along with this article due to its adult content, however if you are keen to see poetry used in a new form the clip can be found at www.youtube.com
Follow Mark Grist on Facebook Mark Grist and/or Twitter @montygristo
Follow Blizzard on Facebook Bradley 'Blizzard' Green and/or Twitter @iamblizzard