Meet Battle Rap's Wildest Lyricist: Daylyt
Some say that as much precaution you take to meet the destiny you desire, you still reach the destiny that was set for you. For the Watts, California rapper, Daylyt, it is clear that whether to be a lyricist was his desired or set destiny, the right choice was made.
Before the ushering in of the new crop of lyrical leaders in Hip-Hop, Daylyt was paving his path in the rap game by battling any opponent willing to get in the ring with him. Throwing off his competition with slick catch phrase lines ("Off to the Batmobile!"), outrageous acts (wearing ski masks and stripping naked on stage) and sporting a mean Spawn inspired face tattoo, Daylyt has not only made a name, but a brand for himself.
Fresh off of his latest rap battle headlining run of RBN's Barfest and his naked showing in London, Daylyt spoke with VIBE to discuss his rap battle tactics, how he became a battle rapper and his future plans. Check out the interview down below. -Jasmina Cuevas
Update: Since this interview, Daylyt has shaken up the battle rap world with a series of rants aimed at the folks at RBN for cutting out "chokes" by his challenger, the Brooklyn, NY repping Math Hoffa. The practice of leaving battles unedited has come into question as Daylyt shines heavy on the topic. Check it.
RBN Battle (edited): Math Hoffa vs. Daylyt
Daylyt's Rant on Edited Chokes
Daylyt Strips At A Battle
VIBE: Who got you into battle rapping?
Daylyt: Actually, I was never a battle rapper. I was forced into battle rapping. One day there was this underground hip-hop spot out here in California that’s called, The Pit and one of my friends, Sticks, invited me to his event there. So when we get there, he comes up to me and says, “Sign your name right here. This is the get in free list.” So I sign my name and I get in free and I’m chilling in the back when they go, “Daylyt to the stage.” I’m like, “Oh yeah! They are going to give me a shout out.” So I get on the stage and he whispers in my ear, “Yo! I need you to battle this dude. C’mon, just do it for me, bro. Don’t leave me hanging.” I’m like, “Brandon, I don’t know how to battle, what hell are you talking about?” So mind you I am up there and you can quote my exact words, I’m up there shitting bricks. My hands are shaking, palms sweating. So the other guy comes on stage and I had a couple of old verses from a rap I did and I just spit them and the crowd went crazy! From then, it was like smoking crack. It was like I smoked crack for the first time and I was stuck. The feeling that the crowd gave me and the cheering. I signed my first autograph in my life at my first battle. I was completely addicted to the feeling of the crowd going crazy.
Did you go back after that to battle?
Back then they had The Pit every Friday, so I was battling almost every single Friday. Probably about 5-6 a night every Friday.
How did the transition happen from you battling at local spots to battling in the major leagues?
Back in the early battle raps days, I started making so much noise that main stream rappers started to fly out to see me. Redman flew out to see me. Meth flew out to see me. Kaz came out. Tyrese came out. People were flying out to come see me because I was making that much noise in that little environment. Also, Kendrick Lamar and I almost locked horns. But it didn’t happen because when he did his first verse the crowd did the typical biased stuff because they were biased towards me because I was like the main dude. So when he spit his first verse, they kind of booed him off stage so I ended up not battling him because I knew the crowd was going to be biased. They say that battle rap is big now, but back then it was big for me because I was actually battling on a stage in front of 600, 700 people.
Do you prefer battles where the atmosphere tries to throw you off? Does it add more fire to the battle?
I actually look for that now. At first I didn’t want it. I used to think I needed people on my side, but now I like to go into forbidden territory just to test my limits and see if I can make it out.
How do you come up with your tactics? Your ideas?
There is a thing called a rebuttal. What a rebuttal is for instance, somebody says something in a battle and when its your time to go, you make up something off of their rap. What I do is rebuttal things in real life. Instead of saying something, I would do something. For example, I battled Interstate facts, a caucasian male who hangs with all black guys and acts like a black guy. So my rebuttal was to be a black guy who acts like a white guy. So I’m not going to say a rebuttal, I will just do one! And that’s pretty much how I come up with some of my tactics.
What's your approach to your regular rhymes versus your battle raps?
When you’re in the studio and you’re making a song, you have to ask yourself, “Ok, what crowd is this song going to?” Because it’s almost impossible to make a song that everybody likes. Music is very segregated right now. If you really pay attention to it, I have a lot of things that are going on which includes the mixtape, I’m Not a Rapper, and the whole idea behind that was to make the songs that people don’t really listen to but they bought. I just look at the crowd and prep the song based on the crowd I’m writing for. Now in battle rapping, the crowds are segregated as well. You have people that like street type of bars. You have people that like jokey bars or you have people that like complete 100% talking about real life stuff. So what I do in my battle raps, I take a format that’s not any of those. I take a format of taking people to time they forgot.
A few days ago, you wrote on your twitter, "Kanye is gonna get killed soon! them.people fear niggas like him ! hes open up people eyes...." What is the meaning behind that?
At first, I was the biggest Kanye fan in the world and then when all the crazy stuff started popping off, I was like, “What’s up with Kanye? What is he doing?” And then I realized something, he is doing exactly what I am doing which is you start off right, give people the message, they don’t really pay attention to it. Then you go butt ass crazy and the entire world pays attention to you and once you got the entire world listening to you, you drop the real music. So I just heard, “New Slaves,” and he’s talking about stuff that they (the mass) don’t really want you to talk about at that level. And we know when you get out of line, they are going to shut you up. So if his album is filled with telling people about all that type of stuff, the contracts, the fucks...they are going to have to silence that somehow. I noticed that when you are making music that people don’t really pay attention to, they let it slide. But when you are an intelligent, black man, they will shut you down. Look at Lupe Fiasco, last time you seen him on TV? As soon as Lupe got on and he was talking about Obama, he ain’t been on TV since.
What are you working on or what will you be working on in the future?
I’m actually working on a full movie and the trailer is out now. It is called, Daylyt: I’m an Animal. And it’s a movie that I wrote, directed and produced completely by myself and I’m the lead actor in the movie. The movie symbolizes how us as a people are stuck in the ways we are stuck in when life could be much better. Us as people know that we could do better, but we don’t want to because we are stuck in our ways. For example, people say “I’ll never leave the hood. I’m going to die in the hood.”
Because society makes you feel like that is how you should feel.
And that is exactly what the movie is about. Why would you want to live and die in the hood when there is a better life right around the corner? And that is pretty much what the movie is based on. Why be proud of being in the struggle and stay in the struggle when you can leave the struggle and it’s very easy to leave? Why do we praise the bottom when we complain about struggling? So that’s what the movie is about, but I put it in pre-historic time and it shows that this mentality has been in us since way back. Once I’m all done with battle rapping, I will be dropping the movie in hopes to open people’s eyes up.
Will you be dropping any new music as well?
In the meantime, I will be dropping my official album which is, I Am Daylyt: The Spawn Album. It’s an album filled with positive music, positive hip-hop. The release date is set for June 30th and you will be able to find at daylyt2k.com. The intention is to open up some people’s eyes.