Dizaster – MEGATON
Words + Interview: Tyrone Davis
Based in Los Angeles, Dizaster is a battle rap veteran who has many notable rap battles under his belt, including bouts with Arsonal, Math Hoffa, Chilla Jones, Canibus and more. He most recently appeared in Joseph Kahn’s battle rap film, “Bodied”, which he says is the best film based on battle rap ever made. If you haven’t seen it, it is now available on Youtube Premium.
How did you get involved in Joseph Khan’s film “Bodied”?
I got on board because Kid Twist (Alex Larsen) was contacted by Joseph Khan to make a film about battle rap. Kid Twist is a battle rapper who studied Journalism and went to school for literary arts, majored in writing and writes scripts. When they started on the film, Kid Twist created a character with me in mind. I had no idea this was happening. They had been writing this script for years and kept it quiet. They called me like, “Yo, we got this script.” I checked it out and they were like, “Congratulations”, you know what I mean, lol? So, I was already written into that shit, which is pretty cool. It’s a blessing.
What can you tell us about the film as a whole?
It’s a satire. It’s a dramedy and it talks about a lot of political subjects like cultural appropriation. There are a lot of things that are addressed in it. It’s a really good film for battle rap because battle rap has never been captured in its complete essence. It’s a real battle movie, man. It’s like all of us in a movie together. It’s what you’d imagine but with a storyline that could be generalized to the world. It’s like an American pop culture fucking masterpiece, bro. That’s how I see it.
So, it did the battle rap culture justice overall?
100% to the fullest extent. I mean, there is obviously more that could have been done but there is only so much you can put into a 2 hour movie. There is always going to be someone who says, “Oh, I wasn’t in it!” or “You could have captured THIS.” but for what it was, we’re lucky to have that in a full feature film like this. There will never be a battle rap movie better than this movie.
Were the right battle rappers chosen to represent the culture?
Oh, fuck yea. As long you have all of the legends in there like me, Hollow, Lux, Conceited, Thesaurus, Illmatic, Arsonal etc. I mean, these are GODS in battle rap….irremovable legends. Having Smack, Organik and Lush One too, obviously. People may argue about why they aren’t doing more than that (in their role) but they really don’t need to. The fact that they are appearing in it is a cosign. Their name is the most important thing. People don’t love them for their acting skills. People are in there for certain reasons and the battlers like Lux and Hollow are rapping in there. Dumbfounded is in there as well. He’s a battle rap success story.
You guys (battle rappers) have been going at each other’s necks for years and sometimes things go further than the battle and can even get physical. What was the atmosphere like on set with the other rappers?
Even though I had my shit with “KOTD”, at the time all of that stuff wasn’t even that serious and it’s hard to be mad in a situation where everyone is winning, bro. I don’t know. Even if I’d seen an enemy at that point, I wouldn’t even want to fight. We’re surrounded by people with tons of fucking money. Battle rappers just act a fool when we’re in the playground. I can’t act a fool in a situation like that, know what I mean?
What was your most memorable moment on set?
I don’t know man, lol. It was all memorable. It was an incredible experience. There was a lot of shit. Watching the guy Joseph Kahn work….He’s a fucking insane person. Just learning from these people and acting is crazy.
Being someone who known to say things that are controversial, how do you feel about being people politically correct and more sensitive these days, especially on social media?
I don’t believe that’s good at all. I think they hurt personalities, they stunt growth and they don’t allow a person to develop. They hide from the inevitable. The world is an ugly place. You have to learn to grow thick skin. You can’t block shit in real life so if you’re bothered about some shit online, you become fragile and it’s going to get worse. I understand not everybody is built the same. Some people can’t tolerate that sort of thing and that’s cool, just stay the fuck away from us.
Drake said that Pusha T went too far in their battle. Is there a such thing as going too far in battle rap?
I’m sick of those guys comparing themselves to us. Drake is the homie. Shouts out to him, but those guys should never compare themselves to us because we have agreements to do this. We’re warriors. These guys aren’t built like us. They shouldn’t be disrespecting each other. They are from different worlds. They’re musicians. I’m working on an album. I want to put out a record but my record ain’t going to be about ripping shit and flipping shit and skipping shit. That’s just battle rap. I’m going to make a real record.
What I’m trying to tell you is records are a different space. I know some people battle on records and that’s cool too but those are different types of rappers. They shouldn’t even be holding themselves to our standards. We really live this shit. For them, maybe they shouldn’t cross the line but this is battle rap, bro. Get the fuck out of here, lol. You’re going to get killed over here, no matter who you are or what you do. Even if it’s a good thing, I don’t give a fuck. You a doctor? Great! (Starts rapping) You’ll get hit with the fucking steth-o-scope and fuckin…you know what I mean? I doesn’t matter what you are in battle rap. YOU GON DIE! Lol!
To pull this off, it definitely takes a certain type of individual just to be able to perform in front of people but you guys are literally going at it like “Playing the Dozens” back in the day. How to you approach battling and how do you keep it all together when being disrespected in your face?
For me, you can’t really piss me off and the one time that I did do some shit in a battle, it had nothing to do with the battle. It was a lot deeper than that. For someone to be able to say words to piss me off, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten pissed in a battle like that. I’ve been fake pissed off just to entertain people but you look like a sucker if you get mad for real. You have to have some type of self worth and you have to be able to make fun of yourself. It’s healthy.
Unless one is a die hard battle rap fan, people don’t normally get to know battle rappers like they do artists. Why?
We’re more in character all of the time. Battle rappers are battle rappers 24/7. If you look at our Twitters, our Twitters are an extension of the battle scene. The shit that I say on Twitter, I’d never say in real life. Lol, well maybe some of the shit.
Would you guys like to be known more or do you like things the way they are?
You know what? Maybe it’s because battle rappers are introverted as far as keeping to ourselves and not sharing information because our information can be used against us, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. The less information you know about a battler the stronger he is. I mean, think about it. You know how easy it is to diss me or people who have been around as long as we have? They’d have 15 years to go back on. A guy who just appeared yesterday with no history has a big advantage on there. You can’t just battle random people. It’s dangerous.
One of the stigmas about battle rappers is that they can’t put out good music. Do you agree?
You know, making good music is just practicing. I’d have crazy records if I’d put in time. It’s easier than battle rap, the fuck? I think musicians are just threatened. It’s easy for someone to help you do a record and make you a nice fucking beat, give you a good singer to go on there and help you out with a good bassist or some shit. We have to do all the other shit. It requires focus and time. We survive off of battle rap so we can’t stay away from it for too long. You can’t focus on both. I think that’s why Daylyt is doing his music shit and when he does music shit, he doesn’t come around that much, which makes a lot of sense.
Ok, so “Bodied” is now available on Youtube Premium and you attended the premier when it came out in select theaters. How did the fans react?
It’s a fucking great movie, bro. I’ve watched it 8 times already. I’ll be honest with you. I’m still not bored of it and all of the fans who have seen it want to see it again. It’s a fast paced movie. You’ll definitely want to see it again as well.
Follow Dizaster on Twitter and Instagram @mrdizaster.
*Image courtesy of Dizaster’s Instagram.