MC Rapder takes the crown in first Rap competition to use a virtual stage

MC Skone (ESP) and MC Rapder (MEX) perform at the final of the Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos International Final in the Dominican Republic on December 12th, 2020. Editor's note: Image is a live feed screengrab // Red Bull Media House // SI202012130096 // Usage for editorial use only //Rapder wins Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos International Final at Dominican Republic on December 12, 2020. // Marcos Ferro/Red Bull Content Pool // SI202012120950 // Usage for editorial use only //MC Skone (ESP) and MC Rapder (MEX) await the winner's annoucement at the final of the Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos International Final in the Dominican Republic on December 12th, 2020. Editor's note: Image is a live feed screengrab // Red Bull Media House // SI202012120941 // Usage for editorial use only //
  • Rapder from Mexico wins
  • Skone (Spain) took second, Aczino took third place – automatically qualifying for next year’s International Final
  • The world’s first rap competition event to take place on a fully virtual stage took MCs to space, the desert and beyond
  • Over 14 million streams from fans across the globe

Dominican Republic- December 12, 2020 – On Saturday, millions of fans tuned in live to witness the most ambitious International Final of Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos yet. Taking place at a TV set at Pinewood Studios in the Dominican Republic, Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos celebrated the victory of Rapder in the world’s first rap competition set in a completely virtual world.

Speaking about his victory, Rapder said:
“I’m really happy – it hasn’t really hit me yet. It’s not the happiness in winning, it’s knowing everything I’ve gone through in my life, knowing that you can make mistakes, fall down, and keep going. I’m really happy. I’m really proud to have won this. I can’t wait to be back in Mexico and celebrate with my family.”

There were tough challenges between Rapder and his win. Alongside facing one of the strongest line-ups of competitors the competition had ever seen (containing three previous international champions) they also faced an unprecedented situation; an international final filmed on a fully green screen set without a live audience.

Speaking on this challenge Rapder said:

“It was a little bit complicated and hard to get used to at first- but I calmed myself down and ultimately felt comfortable because having no audience gave me more space to focus.”

The International Final came at the height of a busy year. Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos held 11-National Finals. Adapting to the challenges faced, the world’s largest freestyle rap competition has continued to grow this year. Over 17,000 entries to the global competition, doubling last year’s total and the number of fans watching at home has continued to climb

The Play-By-Play

Competition hosts Queen Mary and Serko Fu welcomed an international audience onto the virtual stage for the first time. The mind-bending virtual structure was set in a parallel world, referred to as ‘the flow dimension’.

The first round, named ‘octavos’, began with a familiar pairing, Bnet and Valle-T, who had battled each other for first and second place in last year’s final. Bnet took the round after a tie. Other winners of the round included the Spanish international champion Skone against Tata, Uruguayan rapper Naicen against Costa Rican SNK, Acertijo against the Bolivian champion from the prior year Minos. Also passing the first round: Exodo Lirical, Rapder, Aczino, and Yartzi.

The quarter-finals were full of surprises – with the Dominican newcomer Exodo Lirical defeating reigning international champion Bnet after an explosive battle. Exodo exuded charisma and a promise of a bright future in the competitiong. Also crossing the quarter-final line was Rapder (Mexico), Aczino (Mexico), and Skone (Spain).
Semifinals began on a tense note – as two former world champions, Aczino and Skone, met in the ring for a fiery battle, with Skone ultimately taking it, earning his spot in the final. Exodo Lirical faced Rapder in a tough-to-call battle ultimately ending in Rapder’s victory.

Exodo Lirical faced Aczino to determine who would take third place, with Aczino taking the title.

In the final round, Rapder and Skone faced off in a battle unlike anything ever seen before in the comptetition (or in the history of rap competitions for that matter). The round started off with an acapella battle, where each MC was tasked with rhyming about random objects in a trunk. Both were then transported as the virtual scene changed to a desert environment After the desert, they were taken into the snowy mountains and asked ‘who would you take with you?’- they responded in verse.

Throughout the night the impressive panel of judges featuring Arkano (International Champion 2015), Blazz-t (Chilean MC, National finalist), Jony Beltrán (highly regarded freestyler from Mexico), Muphasa (Argentinean freestyler) and Mozart La Para (Dominican Urbano legend who got his start in Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos) used their years of experience to make difficult and charged decisions. Casters Taty and Tess La guided us through the play-by play of the experience while hosts Queen Mary and Serko Fu kept spirits high, making sure no punchline went unacknowledged.

Talking on why they selected Rapder in the final round, judge Muphasa said ‘Rapder was the obvious choice – Skone was tough but Rapder won with everything he had, he was superior in every single round – it was clear’.

The Road To The Virtual Stage: The Bubble + Production

Assembling such an ambitious event in 2020 came with some surprising challenges and innovative solutions:
An NBA-inspired bubble was created 10-days before the event for competitors and staff. Aiming to meet the needs of the MCs the bubble featured a studio, battle ring and a spaces to relax like a basketball court, pool and gaming rooms.
To give the MCs added energy, screens with live projections of friends, family and fans were set up off-stage.
The green-screen set was so large, Dominican Republic alone did not have enough paint to cover it. It had to be brought in from Connecticut, USA.

Speaking about the event, the director Paulí Subira Claramunt said:
“Last year’s Red Bull International Final had 14,000 attendees and was the most livestreamed Spanish language music event of all time. It became clear that having fans on site wasn’t going to be possible in 2020, but we wanted to still give the fans and MCs something spectacular. A month and a half before the event, the Dominican Republic was chosen as the destination and the brilliant team went to work. Shipping equipment from Europe and Asia and bringing together the best team from across the world, I think we delivered that!”

About the 2020 Champion

Real Name: Eder Ernesto Lozano Arias
Mexico National Final Winner
From: Guadalajara, Mexico
Age: 25

The two-time Mexican champion climbed onto the finalists podium after winning the 2020 Mexico National Final, through an intense last battle against Yoiker. The freestyler started on the circuit in 2017 when he competed in the National of Mexico, reaching the end where he battled Aczino. Although Aczino won, Rapder became more known in the freestyle world. In 2018, he competed in his first International Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos final in Buenos Aires.

He often takes inspiration for new rhymes from the news
He’s commonly referred to as ‘La Bestia De Occidente’ (The Beast of the East), after a battle in Guadalajara against his friend el Gallo de Jalisco
He released a solo album ‘Posdata’ in 2019

For more information and to download audio/visual material head here: https://www.redbullcontentpool.com/redbullbatalladelosgallos

Punchlines

Some of the best punchlines from the final battle include:

“Con esta cuchara comparan a Rapder, porque gracias a mi madera de rapero es que hoy en día puedo comer” – Rapder
[“With this spoon they compare Rapder, because thanks to my skills I can eat today” – Rapder]

“Yo soy como un oso polar en el desierto, campeón, rapean todos igual y yo en peligro de extinción” – Skone
[“I am like a polar bear in the desert, champion, they all rap the same and I am in danger of extinction” – Skone]

“Yo soy como el desierto si lo puedes captar/ té dejo el cerebro seco y nunca dejo de brillar” – Rapder
[“I am like the desert if you can capture it / I leave your brain dry and never stop shining” – Rapder]

ABOUT RED BULL BATALLA DE LOS GALLOS

Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos is a freestyle rap competition that, since 2005, has provided a platform for the development of the best hip hop improvisors in the spanish-speaking world.

Within the last few years, it’s become the most important international freestyle battle, uniting the Latin American countries and Spain. The roots of this scene are as deeply connected to hip hop as they are to the improvisation styles of traditional folk troubadours, evolving into a style completely distinct from the hip hop in North America.

With Batalla de los Gallos, Red Bull gives an opportunity to young artists (MCs) to train, perform, and improve their skills and improvisation talents.

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