Last Thursday, the largest Spanish freestyle rap battle in the world, Red Bull Batalla held an unprecedented virtual battle qualifier event that saw 36 of America’s greatest Spanish freestyle rappers going head-to-head in an exciting evening of one-on-one battles and after the dust settled from dynamic night of quick-wit, flow and versatility, Red Bull Batalla judges narrowed the field of 36 down to a top group of 16, all of whom now claim a spot to compete in the U.S. Finals taking place September 18 in Los Angeles.
For a detailed list of the top 16 competitors chosen to advance and compete in the 9/18 Red Bull Batalla U.S. Finals, read on. To relive the August 12th Qualifier Battle event on-demand, please visit Red Bull Batalla on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook.
This Year’s U.S. Competitors
Following a record-breaking 2020 season, Red Bull Batalla has selected the latest batch of top 16 Spanish-freestyle MCs from every pocket of the U.S. Each MC submitted a freestyle video flexing their lyrical skills during the application phase in April, and these submissions were judged and ranked by a panel of experts to determine the U.S. competitors. Rappers selected include Texas’ McBetho who won championships in Colombia and Mexico, but enters his first U.S. Batalla, industrial engineer by day, hip-hop pioneer by night Las Vegas’ RuRa and five-time Miami freestyle champion OG Frases. Below, please find a full list of finalists announced today.
In addition to these up-and-coming hip-hop stars, the top three finalists from the 2020 competition— Yartzi, last year’s U.S. Champion from Puerto Rico, El Dilema a 2020 finalist from New York and Jordi, who ranked third in 2020—are all invited to return directly to the U.S. finals.
U.S. Finals | September 18
The top 16 finalists who have emerged from Red Bull Batalla Qualifier Day will go on to compete with the three returning finalists from 2020 for the U.S. Red Bull Batalla Championship, on September 18 in Los Angeles. During the competition, 16 will become one as the 2021 U.S. Red Bull Batalla Champion is crowned. To stay updated on details for the Red Bull Batalla U.S. Finals, visit here.
World Finals | December 11-12
Following the U.S. National Final, the respective champions from over 10 countries including the U.S., Mexico, Spain, and Colombia, will square off for the Red Bull Batalla World Final –where only one contestant will be crowned the 2021 Red Bull Batalla World Champion.
The livestream of the 2020 Red Bull Batalla World Finals was watched by over 1.5 million concurrent viewers, making it one of the two most watched music live streams of the year (source). To relive 2020 highlights, head to the Red Bull Batalla website Red Bull TV Batalla.
To learn more information about the 2021 Red Bull Batalla season, go here.
For photos from Red Bull Batalla, head over to Red Bull Content Pool.
To get the official Red Bull Batalla merchandise to represent your passion for the largest Spanish rap tournament, head to Red Bull Shop US.
Full List of Top 16 Finalists Picked to Advance and Compete in the 2021 U.S. Finals in Los Angeles on 9/18:
- Adonys: New York, NY — IG: @adonys_ys
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Long Island, NY, Adonys started freestyling early on as a teen and continued throughout high school and college. He brings years of experience and passion to the competition.
- Boss: Los Angeles, CA — IG: @bossmtc
Boss, born and raised in Los Angeles, is eager to bring his west coast flow to Red Bull Batalla. Competing for a second year in a row, Boss is ready to represent his hometown while delivering his unique sound.
- Cuban: McAllen, TX — IG: @cuban.mc
Born in a diner in Cuba, Cuban’s first taste of freestyle came through offering his own spin to the music he listened to, changing the lyrics where he saw fit. The art and poetry of rap quite literally saved his life. Once he moved to Miami, Cuban discovered the “Red Bull Batallas de Gallos,” his first ever exposure to freestlye rap battles. Finding every local tournament he could come across, Cuban built a community around him, creating RGV Battles in Texas. He is committed to graduating from college and has ultimate goals of becoming an established Rapper and Freestyler.
- Eckonn: Orlando, FL — IG: @eckonn
Orlando’s Eckonn is a 23-year-old freestyle Florida champion. Born in Venezuela, the singer and songwriter is ready to launch his craft on a global scale.
- El Dilema: New York City, NY — IG: @el_dilema
Anthony AKA El Dilema is an MC who entered the world of Freestyle in the Dominican Republic in his youth. After moving to the U.S., his craft evolved as a result of the influences of the culture and hip-hop scenes in the country. El Dilema is currently a resident of New York City where he has been dubbed the “King of New York City.”
- El Poeta: Phoenix, AZ — IG: @pots.poeta
Blending the sounds of the U.S. and Mexico, El Poeta has crafted a signature sound since he began his hip-hop career at 16. Born in Mexico, but now based in Arizona, the hardcore MC is taking the stage in the states to exceed everyone’s expectations.
- G.I.O.: Houston, TX — IG: @gio.vsc
Coming from a world with no music around him, G.I.O. found hip-hop through Venezuela’s Mcklopedia. Through underground recordings and spontaneous street battles, G.I.O. brings his resourceful expertise to the stage, and has even moved to the states to prove his talents on a major platform.
- JAYCO: Yonkers, NY — IG: @yosoyjco_official
Dominican Freestyle Champion, JAYCO, has always had the gift for the art of freestyle. Jerry formed his own group called “Corto Circuito,” which led him to partner with DJ Demo to perform in a show called “Fatality.” He soon discovered and participated in the “Redbull Batalla De Los Gallos” competition, in which he won second place at the international finals in Venzeuela in 2007. JAYCO continues to collaborate and perform with artists in the Latino Hip-Hop Scene. He enters Red Bull Batalla for the first time and has already left a lasting impression.
- Jordi: Austin, TX — IG: @jordi.esparza
Jordi was born in Eagle Lake, Texas. At the young age of 2 years old, he moved with his family to Torreón, Mexico. Jordi returned to the U.S. at 16 and went on to study Psychology in college. He currently works in landscaping and resides in Austin, Texas. After finishing as runner up in the 2019 National Final, Jordi is anxious to return to the Batalla stage for a chance at the title once again.
- Klaze: Miami, FL — IG: @klaze_sr
Klaze represents Miami’s freestyle scene at age 18. One of the competition’s youngest competitors, Klaze is sure to show what new school has to offer.
- LinkOne: Puerto Rico — IG: @link_one
Getting his start in Hip-Hop through breaking and graffiti culture, Puerto Rico’s LinkOne is thrilled to compete against different generations of freestyle artists for the love of the craft. Ready to compete on an international level, LinkOne will be representing Puerto Rico worldwide.
- McBetho: Irving, TX — IG: @mcbethomx
Getting his start in Tijuana, Texas’ McBetho is an international champion competing across the U.S., and Central and South America. His love of freestyling comes from the mental skill it takes to succeed and the magic that improvisation can bring. Bringing that magic to the U.S., McBetho strives to showcase his talents internationally for his potential first win in Red Bull Batalla.
- OG Frases: Miami, FL — IG: @ogfrases
Five-time Miami freestyle champion OG Frases is an esteemed veteran of the freestyle world since his start in 2006. A Miami Regional Champion for Batalla de Maestros, and third place in 2019’s Batalla US Final, OG Frases has all it takes to potentially conquer the 2021 Red Bull Batalla Final.
- Reverse: Orlando, FL — IG: @reverse_mc7
Orlando MC Reverse’s freestyle specialty will be put to the test on his upcoming appearance at Red Bull Batalla. Making a name for himself locally, Reverse seeks to give his name national attention.
- RuRa: Las Vegas — IG: @rura.mc
Industrial Engineer by day and hip-hop pioneer by night, Cuban-born Rura gives 100% effort into every project he’s part of. Creator of the first Spanish freestyle league in Las Vegas and a participant in the first Red Bull Batalla in the US, RuRa continues to innovate in all aspects of his work.
- Yartzi: Puerto Rico — IG: @yartzirial
Defending US Batalla National Champion Yartzi returns with another win under his belt. Yartzi is a well-known trailblazer, having amassed many titles such as International Champion of 7 to Punch in Mexico, and second place in the world at the Double AA in Argentina. He most recently participated as the first Puerto Rican MC in the Freestyle Master Series. Yartzi is the one to watch at Nationals!
Red Bull Batalla is a global freestyle rap competition that, since 2005, has provided a platform for the best hip hop improvisors in the Spanish world to connect, develop and compete. Within the last few years, the Red Bull founded project has become the world’s biggest international freestyle battle competition, uniting Spanish Latin America and Spain. The roots of this improvised rap scene are as deeply connected to hip hop as they are to the improvisation styles of traditional folk troubadours. It has evolved into a style completely distinct from that of hip hop in North America. With Red Bull Batalla, Red Bull gives an opportunity for young MCs to train, perform and improve their improvisation and rapping skills.
© 2021, Seth Barmash. All rights reserved.