Richie Meldrum
Richie Meldrum

It’s the most anticipated rap battle in Australian history between two of the country’s most exciting and diverse hip-hop artists. In one corner Melbourne’s 360 – the amped up, snap backed, animal hat wearing curio whose unashamed mix of pop friendly hip hop on latest album Falling and Flying has doused this captivating 25 year old with the sweet smell of success. In the other corner is an altogether different kind of beast. Hailing from Sydney’s South West, Kerser is raw, aggressive and territorial. A fervent mix of rave, rap, electro and r’n’b, his debut album The Nebulizer is like nothing you’ve heard before, embraced by a new wave of kids, hungry for a sound to call their own.

Long before the matchup was officially announced, people were salivating at the prospect of these two tearing each other to pieces using only their minds and their rhymes. Tensions between the two opposing camps have even escalated to threats of violence with some keyboard warriors clearly taking things way too seriously. Depending on which set of fans you listen to, 360 is a ‘gronk cunt’, Kerser is a ‘stupid dero stoner slut’ and they’re both going to wipe the floor with the other. But while 360 and Kerser have added their own little online digs back and forth to stir up the hype, it’s all just part of the game for these two who hold a mutual respect for one another, even if their fans don’t. “He’s a good dude,” says 360 of his opponent, “I’ve got a lot of respect for Kerser in doing what he’s doing. Anytime I take a stab at him there is no malicious intent behind it, it’s just trying to build up more anticipation and shit.” It’s the same for Kerser.” It’s entertaining as man,” he says. “You just got to do it to hype the battle up.”

Often the secret to winning a rap battle is in digging up material on your opponent to launch those personal attacks that hit the hardest. However, this head to head is a little different. “Usually if I was battling an opponent I’d have to look right into it.” confirms Kerser. “But because so many people have been talking about this battle for so long, it’s always been in the back of my head and all you have to do is type our names into facebook or youtube and you’ve got a lot of material.” 360 likens the preparation to that needed for a boxing match “You find out who your opponent is months in advance and it’s almost like you’ve got to train yourself up to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are and just pick ‘em apart.” According to Kerser, some battle rappers will go to extreme lengths to try and find out those weaknesses “I get weird emails saying ‘I’m doing a school project’ and saying they need my real first name, last name, where I grew up,” he says laughing. “ I say ‘ok, what’s your facebook?’ and I don’t get a reply so that’s pretty suss.”

Regarded as two of the best battle rappers around, both the boys will be eager as hell to take the win on the night and possibly the unofficial title of the being the country’s number one. “I reckon I’m going to surprise a lot of people to be honest man,” says 360. “People think I’m just about jokes and being a funny, smart ass, piss taking kind of dude but I reckon I’m going to surprise a lot of people.” No doubt Kerser will be looking to play to his strengths too. “I think a lot of battle rappers focus too much on their opponent and their writing,” he says. “They won’t take the crowd into consideration. Whereas I think about how the crowd will react and try and bring them into the writing.”

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