Battle Rap Is Thriving on Twitter Spaces: Midnight Madness

Imagine your favorite rappers ditching the labels, linking up and putting together teams to create mixtapes. Imagine the intrigue of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole recruiting artists to their teams, trying to win a year-end grand prize. And imagine them all talking through the process on a daily basis in front of the whole world. Proportionately, that’s what’s happening in the battle rap scene right now—the biggest stars are taking to Twitter spaces, teaming up, and setting up winner-take-all matches under the Midnight Madness banner.  

Twitter Spaces first launched in November 2020, but it wasn’t available to everyone, which limited its appeal until it finally opened up to all users in October 2021. Spaces was created to rival Clubhouse, a live audio app that lets users create live chats about whatever they want. Twitter’s built-in user base has helped it become a more convenient destination for audio chats. 

So far, there have been some big rap-related moments on Spaces. As recently as late December, Jay-Z attended a Space hosted by Genius for Alicia Keys’ new album, where he made his infamous Verzuz proclamation. There’s a lot of untapped potential for more arts scenes to utilize Spaces—and battle rap is leading the way. 

Battlers, battle rap media, and fans have been using spaces to talk about events, hold audio-only battles, and stir buzz for future matchups. Some of the first battle rap-oriented Twitter Spaces rooms popped up in mid-2021, with Twitter account @weedandbattles interviewing battlers and discussing battle events. Platforms like #EFM, Black Compass Media then began holding Spaces of their own, moderating discussions with battlers and other figures. 

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