Top 5 Battle Rappers From The Midwest All Time

Editorial written by LTBR Staff writers:  Q Moody, Titus Majors, Justin Smolenski

The MidWest is one of the most important and legendary regions in Battle Rap history. The MidWest Movement is one of the most key periods in that same history, ushering in tons of later to be legendary talents, a plethora of new fans, leagues, and a whole new piece of culture into Battle Rap. After 15 years and many different careers out of multiple states and cities, there’s been more than a fair share of great battler’s careers that have created a hierarchy of Midwestern talent over their careers. With Max Out 3 on the horizon, one of the biggest MidWest talent based cards of all time, we thought it would a great time to really see where these guys rank compared to each other after all the work they’ve given the game.

Honorable Mention: B-Magic

Our 6th Man and sole Honorable Mention, Magic is just outside our Top 5 All Time MidWest Battlers. The best puncher in MidWest history, The St Louis legends first 3rd of his career is some of the highest highs you’ll see a puncher reach across Battle Raps history. Generational flow, laid back demeanor, and of course rapid fire punching that pushed writing in Battle Rap forward in his era. Part of the 1st PG class, Magic’s rise from 2011-2014 is one of the most fan loved and prolific peaks in the sport. Magics 2013 specifically can showcase why his peak is so revered, battling Tay Roc, Charlie Clips, DNA, and Ill Will all in the same year. Although long before COTY, there’s a very real argument that Magic was the best battle rapper in the world in 2013. That’s not even mentioning his classic for the punching crown with Conceited, great battles with the likes of Iron Solomon, Daylyt, ENess and more.

Even with all this greatness towards the front half of the career, there’s a reason Magic barely misses the Top 5, and that’s cause of the other half of BMagic’s Battle Rap lifespan. 2014 the cracks started to show a little, his NOME 4 battle vs Big T being an example with a horrific choke and footage from both battlers that may have showed the writing was on the wall for both. Although you still have highlights like the Con battle to follow, eventually fall into years of choking and losing battles would follow. Talent was never the question, but it looked like a mix of motivation leading to a lot of forgetting of material turned what was once the Best Puncher alive into a talent who looked beyond his best years, for years. Glad to say in 2022-2023 Magic has been doing some of his better work in years, so goes to show when you’re that great your never out of it. But the years of inconsistency can’t be ignored, and that’s why Magic narrowly misses the list. 

Career Accolades:

1X Summer Madness Appearances

2X NOME Appearances 

1X Volume Appearance

4X Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube)

Top 5 All-Time Puncher 

Resume Highlights: Conceited, Charlie Clips, Tay Roc, Iron Solomon, Illmac, Ill Will, DNA, KShine, John John Da Don, Qleen Paper, Daylyt, Big T, Chilla Jones, Charron, JC, Danny Myers, Pass, Bill Collector


#5 JC

Heralded as one of the best pens in Battle Rap, JC serves as the placeholder of our list and the starter of the Top 5. Another career we watched from the ground up, JC style has evolved and changed so much from the first time we saw him back in 2010. A pen with rapid punching, and layered writing, and later developed an elite level of crowd control. JC has spent over a decade in the game battling across all tiers and stamping himself as one of the hardest-working battlers the culture has seen.

Early dominant showings vs battlers like TimeBomb and Rosenberg Raw helped build up his buzz, even a battle on the 2nd NOME vs Young Kannon showed a belief in his talents. But all changed on SM2 weekend, where JC vs Chilla Jones would redefine writing in Battle Rap as they had to this day one of the most classic battles of all time. Aside from just being fire, the OBC/bar concepts that hundreds of battlers have taken from that battle goes to show the impact this simple one off had on the entirety of the game. 

Although the next few years of his career aren’t the most prominent, good showings vs JJDD, BMagic, and Clips (1 rder) all add to his legacy plus a slew of wins against some lower-level comp, a staple in the career of JC. But around 2014, JC took a hiatus from URL and moved over to be a regular talent at RBE. One would argue this was the start of the JC most people consider the most dangerous, as he went on an absolute rampage from 2015 till around mid-2017 off the biggest league in the game. Battles like Craig Lamar, Mr Mills, Big Kannon, and Ah Di Boom built him as an insanely dangerous talent on RBE, while also having great battles such as vs Quantum Physics on Black Ice and vs Born on Guerilla Warfare. Of course, his URL return in 2017 is pretty much recognized as his peak, with his winning streak of Chef Trez, Chess, and finally Rum Nitty on SM during his iconic campaign to battle Loaded Lux. 

This would also start a new part of JC career where he became great on big stages, a common critique of his career. Great showings like Rum Nitty, DNA, Iron Solomon, Suge, ORed all show proof of an extreme improvement in these larger rooms. Since 2017, the creation of COTY, JC has 2 Top 5 Placements, 3 Top 10 Placements, and 4 Top 10 Placements. He also was the winner of UM5 and 120k. Plenty of accolades to look back on in his career.

Career Accolades:

2x        URL headliner

2x        RBE Headliner

3x        Summer Madness Appearances

4x        NOME Appearance 

4x        Smack Volume Appearance 

9x        Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube)

        -Ranked #2 in Wins on the URLV App -Ultimate Madness 5 Champion

Resume Highlights: Tsu Surf, Tay Roc, Charlie Clips (2x), Iron Solomon, KShine, Geechi Gotti, Rum Nitty, KShine, Yung Ill, Ave, Illmac, Chess, BMagic, Cortez, Charron, Swamp, Head Ice, Chilla Jones, Danny Myers, DNA, John John Da Don

#4 Ill WIll

One of the textbook “All Around” talents in Battle Rap, Ill Will comes in at the #4 spot. Since his breakout performance vs. Johnny Alcatraz way back in 2012, Will has developed one of the most diverse skill sets any battler has had. The ability to perform, punch, scheme, freestyle, jump into different flows, angles while also being highly comedic and conceptually creative. There is not a single thing in Battle Rap Ill Will cannot do and it’s led to having classic battles and wins vs. a variety of elites with different styles. 

Hopefully, there’s no one who thinks Ill Will doesn’t belong on this list, because if they did then I’d have to really question their understanding of battle rap and the greatness Will has displayed. From arguably the best PG battle performance of all time, dominating UFF and his fast track to Summer Madness and NOME, he’s another guy who’s rise to prominence was as explosive and sudden as anyone else’s in history. There’s a strong argument to be made that Ill Will also lays the blueprint for rising talents to leave URL and bet on themselves to become undeniable.

 From URL to RBE to KOTD, Will has touched all the major stages and felt at home anywhere he went and left classics and moments on those leagues. Maybe the most important battler in the history of RBE as well, with how vast his catalog is and how many main events and battles with extremely high replay value he has to boast. And to accomplish all of this by sticking to his guns and not forcing anything for battle rap, makes it all that much more worth applauding and making sure it doesn’t go unnoticed.


Career Accolades:

1x        URL Headliner                                                              

6X        RBE Headliner                                

4x        Nome Appearance                                

3x        Summer Madness Appearance                                

1x        Volume Appearance                                         

8x        Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube)

21x RBE Battles  (Tied for most all time)              



-UFF Tournament Winner

-2nd Place in COTY 2019


Resume Highlights: Hitman Holla*, Hollow Da Don, Calicoe, Illmac, Tay Roc, Daylyt, Bigg K, Math Hoffa, DNA, KShine, Charlie Clips, Serius Jones, TTop, Brizz Rawsteen, Geechi Gotti, Rum Nitty, Ave, JJDD, Jag, A.Ward, Rosenberg Raw, Big Kannon, Danny Myers, Shotgun Suge, Arsonal, O-Red


#3 Aye Verb

Debatably the most iconic figure from the Midwest, Aye Verb comes in at the 3 spot. Many would debate he can be 1, and truthfully all these legends in the top 3 have a great argument for it. Verb’s highest highs could be argued to be the best in Battle Rap History. Maybe the most notable, he was the first battler to obtain all 3 of Mook, Lux, and Hollow on his resume also debatably beating all 3 of them. Another incredible part of Verbs’ career is how many all-time moments he has. “Big Gerald” 3rd round vs. Hitman Holla is possibly the biggest crowd reaction in Battle Rap History, in one of the most classic battles of all time. Anemic bar vs Goodz, Guardian Angels duck vs SB, Double Back bar vs Cortez. The list goes on and on, but when it comes to quotables there are not a lot of people in Battle Rap competing with Verb. 

In another convo in Battle Rap, you could argue Verb may be #1 in his resume. For a period after Verb battled Lux, this was a crown he held with no contest. Although other battlers have closed the gap, the diversity in Verbs is nearly 1/1. Seeing legends from the East, West, and Midwest while also battling most new stars as they climb their way up the ranks. Also, must be noted that in over 60+ career battles with a catalog of mostly legends, only 3 major matchups of his have been home games (Cortez, Hitman Holla, Arsonal). A Top 10 All-Time Battle Rap career done with over 90% away games (!!!). Doing many of these large matchups in NY, enemy territory considering Verb was also one of if not the biggest face of the MidWest Movement. The doors he opened for other top tiers down the line add to the immense amount of Impact Verb’s career has had in and out of the ring. 

Good and Bad laid out, whether you agree or disagree with the placement it can’t be contested Verb has had one of the best careers battle rap has ever seen. 

Career Accolades:

5X Summer Madness Appearance

5X NOME Appearance

4x Smack Volume Appearance

1X MaxOut Appearance

11x  URL Headliner

3x  KOTD Headliner

3x   RBE Headliner

15X Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube)

-Headlined URL, KOTD, and RBE In the Same Year

Resume Highlights: Murda Mook, Loaded Lux, Hollow Da Don, Charlie Clips, Hitman Holla, Calicoe, Dizaster, Illmac, TheSaurus, Tsu Surf, Tay Roc, Geechi Gotti, KShine, Goodz, Arsonal, Twork, John John Da Don, Eazy The Block Captain, Shotgun Suge, Danny Myers, Cortez, ORed, Daylyt

#2 Calicoe

It can’t be understated the impact Calicoe has had on battle rap. His meteoric rise is something that had battle rap in a chokehold and should be revered more than it is. Coming in and dominating with his unique blend of intricate rhyme patterns and wordplay with high levels of believability and ability to dictate the pace, makes him one of the harder people in battle rap to beat. Being able to take control the way that he did vs Math Hoffa at Summer Madness 1 will forever be an accomplishment. One of the people in battle rap who has a legitimate claim to being Mr. Summer Madness and also maybe the best battle in RBE history against another person on this list. When having conversations about the best battle rappers of all time, within any metric or criteria you base it off of (quotables, W-L record, views, classics, etc), Calicoe belongs near the top of any list.

Career Accolades:

6x        URL Headliner

1x        KOTD Headliner

1x        RBE Headliner
2x        MAXOUT Appearance

1x        NOME Appearance

1x        Volume Appearance

9x        Summer Madness Appearances
13x      Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube) -Tied for Most Summer Madness Appearances All Time

-Averaging 1 million views for his entire Career per battle

Resume Highlights:
Loaded Lux, Tsu Surf (x2), Hitman Holla (x2), Charlie Clips, Tay Roc, Math Hoffa, KShine, Ill Will, Aye Verb, Yung Ill, Pat Stay, TRex, Brizz Rawsteen, Arsonal, ORed, Shotgun Suge, Brizz Rawsteen, Bigg K, Goo


#1 Hitman

There is hardly an accolade you can name that Hitman Holla doesn’t have, main events everywhere, highest view count on multiple platforms. He has been the epitome of professionalism and his passion and love for the culture shows on and off the stage, if you listen to him talk you can tell he lives and breathes battle rap.

His competitiveness and drive is what led him to becoming a megastar in the game, at the height of the midwest movement, when New York was the hub of battle rap and tensions were high between NY and St. Louis, he made the notorious New York stages his home with such dominant performances that they had no choice but to respect him. The way he revolutionized the performance aspect of battle rap cannot be understated, as big stages became a more common theme he showed battle rap how to master it and captivate an audience of thousands of people. 

Battle rap is a sport where everyone has bad days, but the fascinating thing about Hitman is going up and down his resume you see a almost shockingly low amount of these moments in comparison to some of the other greats in the game while also seeing him being the cause of the bad nights for some other all-time greats. We could talk about his accomplishments and moments for hours, but for me the greatest thing one can say about Hitman Holla to define his place is this: He made himself an endgame battle without ever needing any of the traditional endgame names, in a culture largely defined off of nostalgia, he made his way to the top without ever seeing a Murda Mook or Loaded Lux. There’s only two words to after this, a legend.

Career Accolades:

5x        URL Headliner
1x        KOTD Headliner
4x        RBE Headliner
1x        NOME Appearance 
1x        Don’t Flop Headliner
26x      Platinum Battles (1 Million views on Youtube)
        -Averaging 2 million views for his entire Career per battle
        -#1 Highest viewed battle on 6 different leagues (URL, RBE, Chrome 23, Gorilla Warfare, Street Status, Battle Of The Braves)
        -League owner of Bags and Bodies
        -First Summer Madness Headliner ever
        -5 out of the top 10 Highest viewed battles on URL
        -Cast member for WIld-N-Out for 8+ seasons
Resume Highlights: Tsu Surf, Tay Roc, Charlie Clips, KShine, Aye Verb, Cassidy, Calicoe (x2), Big T, Hollow Da Don, TRex, Goodz, Bill Collector, Yung Ill, Ill Will*, JJDD, Arsonal, ORed, Cortez, Math Hoffa, Shotgun Suge  


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top