The World’s Biggest Spanish-Language Freestyle Rap Battle Is Happening in Dallas

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On July 16, Dallas will be one of two regional qualifiers for Red Bull Batalla, the biggest freestyle Spanish rap competition in the world. Since 2005, the series of events has provided young Spanish-speaking MCs with a platform to perform, compete, and hone their skills. Dallas’ top six competitors will then travel to Miami for the national final on October 8; the international final will take place in Mexico City in December. (Downtown Club Vivo will host the Dallas event.)

Compared to American rap, which is inspired by the Jamaican style of “toasting” – talking or singing to a beat – Spanish rap evolved from the improvisational styles of traditional folk troubadours. As the style grew in the United States, Dallas became a thriving hotbed for the genre. It makes sense given the city’s musical history. Latin artists such as DJ VRYWVY, DJ Baby G and George Lopez of T-Town Music have played a vital role in uplifting Dallas hip-hop overseas.

The city is no stranger to competition. Last year, three local rappers got their turn on the mic during the regional qualifiers. In 2020, Jordi Esparza, who lived in Dallas prior to his move to Austin, placed third in the Red Bull Batalla which secured him a spot in the 2021 National Finals in Los Angeles. Esparza will again compete in the US Finals this year in Miami. The top six rappers out of the 16 who will fight in Dallas will join him.

In addition to the US Finals, Red Bull Batalla will host National Finals in eight other countries: Uruguay, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Spain, Argentina and Ecuador.

As Spanish-speaking artists such as Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny continue to break streaming records around the world, Spanish rap will continue to grow in popularity in the United States. (Bunny made history with the first Spanish-language album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the 2020s El Ultimo Tour del Mundothen did it again in March with A Verano Sin Ti.) Dallas, meanwhile, is in a prime position to develop the next generation of world-class competitors.

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Taylor Crumpton

Taylor Crumpton

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Taylor Crumpton is FrontRow’s online art editor, Magazine DThe arts and entertainment blog of . She is a proud Dallasite…


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