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Top 10 Battle Rappers From New York City

Melusi Jeisal Ngwenya has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Psychology and has been a fan of battle rap for years.

New York City is home to a lot of battle rap legends. Read on to see who are the best in the game.

New York City is home to a lot of battle rap legends. Read on to see who are the best in the game.

New York City's home to a lot of battle rap legends. Below you'll find who the public think are the best battle rappers in the game today.

Top Battle Rappers From New York City

  • Chess
  • T-Rex
  • K-Shine
  • Goodz di Animal
  • DNA
  • John John Da Don
  • Charlie Clips
  • Hollow Da Don
  • Loaded Lux
  • Murda Mook


Origin: The Bronx, New York

Years Active: 2016—Present

Raekwon Jenkins (known by his stage name, Chess) is an American battle rapper from Bronx, New York. Chess is one of the youngest rappers to be on the URL stage. He solidified his ascent when he battled Tay Roc, who is among the most respected artists in the MC battle arena. His aggressive performances are one of his strongest attributes. He first came to the main stage when he was booked on URL’s Rookies vs. Vets, when he battled DNA, a veteran of the rap battle scene.


Origin: Harlem, New York

Years Active: 1999—Present

Randy Sullivan, otherwise known by the pseudonym T-Rex, is an active battle rapper with the group Dot Mob. He has faced off against countless popular battlers (on and off camera), including Charlie Clips, Hitman Holla, and Math Hoffa. He began competing in rap battles in the late 1990s. One of his most popular on-camera battles was against Yung Ill. The 2012 showdown earned more than 3.5 million views after it was posted to YouTube by Rap Battle America. His father died when he was very young and his mother hails from Accra, Ghana. His cousin is fellow battle rapper Murda Mook.


Origin: Harlem, NY

Years Active: 2014—Present

K-Shine's real name is Kashawn Davies. He is from Harlem, New York. K-Shine started battling as a member of a clan called Dot Mobb, which housed most of Harlem battle rap's legends, including Murda Mook, T-Rex, and Tay Roc (just to mention a few). K-Shine has many classic battles under his belt, including matches against DNA, T-Rex, Hitman Holla, and Geechi Gottiii. His latest classic battle was against a fellow Harlem native, Charlie Clips. His battle versus Aye Verb is considered one of his best performances. K-Shine is also a part of battle rap's most dangerous team, NWX. Besides being a battle rapper, K-Shine is also a recording artist.

Goodz da Animal

Origin: The Bronx, NY

Years Active: 2010—Present

Goodz is a battle rapper from The Bronx, New York. Goodz has showcased his unparalleled lyricism in different battle leagues, such as Ultimate Rap League, Lionz Den, King of the Dot, Rare Breed Entertainment, etc. Goodz is well known for his swag, often drinking Hennessy during his battle. One of Goodz’s classic battles was against Cassidy. Many critics and battle rap fans say Goodz won the battle. He has a lot of classic battles against battle rap veterans like Hitman Holla, K Shine, Tayroc, etc. One of his earliest recorded rap battles was against Conceited in June 2010 in the Ultimate Rap League.


Origin: Queens, NY

Years Active: Late 2000s—Present

Born Eric St. John, DNA is a battle rapper based in Queens, NY. He is a reoccurring battler in several different leagues, including SMACK/URL, King of the Dot, Don't flop, and formerly Grind Time. He is known for his incredible freestyle abilities, which have made him prestigious. Time and time again, he has exhibited that he's one of the best freestylers in the world. DNA is a stone-cold veteran. Along with his partner, K-shine, He helped make the two on two battle format popular. Their group, NWX, contains talent such as Rain, one of the owners of SMACK/URL TV, Beasley, Big T (a Chicago native), Th3 Saga (a Queens native), and last but not least, Official, the only female in NWX (she hails from parts unknown).

John John Da Don

Origin: Yonkers, New York

Years Active: 2008—Present

John John Da Don's real name is Jonathan Magee. He hails from Yonkers, New York. John John is one of the best lyricist in battle rap. He quickly rose to fame after his battle against Hitman Holla on Rookies vs. Vets, where he shocked the world by giving Hitman a run for his money. His slogan, “Please don’t say the John if you ain’t saying it twice. And if you don’t add the Da Don you ain’t saying it right," is arguably the best slogan in battle rap. He is also a recording artist and you can get his music on all streaming platforms.

Charlie Clips

Origin: Harlem, New York

Years Active: 2008—Present

Born Charles Leon Brown III, Charlie Clips hails from Harlem, New York. Most know him for his consistent wins in the rap battle community, where his jokes, wordplay, and topical lyrics made him a star. He first joined the battle rap community around 2008. Within only a few battles, he was quickly considered one of the best in the game. When it comes to two vs. two battles, he usually teams up with Goodz da Animal. Some of his most classics performances were against T-Rex, Shotgun Suge, Arsonal, and many more. Charlie Clips is signed to Nick Cannon’s Incredible Record Label and he is a cast member on Nick Cannon’s TV show Wild 'n Out.

Hollow Da Don

Origin: Queens, New York

Years Active: 2006—Present

Born Nigel Bennett, Hollow da Don is regarded as one of the most versatile American battle rappers of all time. Hollow da Don may not be first in any particular category, such as writing, performance, or cadence, but he marries them all unlike any other battler (this is what makes him the G.O.A.T.). One of his biggest battles was on Eminem’s Total Slaughter, where he defeated platinum record seller Joe Budden. He has many classic matches under his belt, including battles against Charlie Clips, Tay Roc Arsonal, etc. He is also owns a clothing line called LOM, which stands for Loyalty Over Money.

Loaded Lux

Origin: Harlem, New York

Years Active: Mid-2000s—Present

His real name is John Lucks and he is from Harlem, New York. John John is undoubtedly on the Mount Rushmore of battle rap. His battle against Murda Mook is considered by many to be the greatest battle of all time. He is known to use both double and triple entendres on a regular basis. His large vocabulary and versatile delivery distinguish him from his peers. His battle against Calicoe cemented his position as one of the all time greats.

Murda Mook

Origin: Harlem, New York

Years Active: 2002—Present

Considered by many to be the greatest of all time, Murda Mook (real name Jonathan Ancrum) is a battle rapper from Harlem, New York. Murda Mook’s word play is out of this world. He is a complete MC, demonstrating profound lyricism, rock solid performance skills, beastly aggressiveness, and stunning charisma. His art is of the highest calibur. He shook the world when he challenged Drake in front of the URL stage. He has appeared on the Hot 97 Funk Flex morning show several times, where he performed outstanding freestyles. On top of being a pro on the battle rap circuit, he is also a recording artist. You can find his music on all streaming platforms.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Melusi Jeisal Ngwenya

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