Real Deal talks his favourite battles, ghostwriting and more [Interview]
Pittsburgh, PA – In the world of battle rap Real Deal is known for disecting his opponents with sharp angles that cut with the precision of a scalpel and leave a lasting impression like shrapnel from a bomb or grenade. He is the working man’s emcee and has never shied away from the fact that when he is not battling or in the studio recording music he is a public school teacher. The fact that when the teacher angle is used and he is able to flip it to have it work in his favour is a testement to just how good he really is.
Real started making a name for himself in 2005 by being crowned Steel City’s Rhyme Calisthenics champion 4 times in a row, which led to him entering Scribblejam in 2007 and 2008. Even though he did not make it past the second round his performance was so impressive that later that same year he was invited to battle in a new league called Grindtime. Since then he has enjoyed international success, was awarded “2009 Battle Rapper of the Year” by his city, dropped 3 albums, battled on BET, battled in 4 different countries and over 30 different cities.
HipHopCanada caught up with the man known as the white trash you can’t throw away, to talk about his favorite battles, ghostwriting, and what his students think of him being a battle rapper. Check out the full interview after the jump.
Real Deal: Q&A
Written by 9_4 The ComicBook Rapper (@9thilly) for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Why did you decide to name yourself Real Deal and what is the Pittsburgh battle scene like?
Real Deal: Honestly it was my backyard wrestling name as a kid. I kinda just kept it and it would fit when people would approach me and say “yo man your name fits you, you’re the real deal.” Sounds corny but its dope. Pittsburgh has a few battlers Anymal, 3pfd, and Chronic Lz. There used to be some killers with the freestyle tip back in the day when that was prevalent like Dos Noun and Ron Noodles but now there’s not much of a scene.
HipHopCanada: Why did you decide to start battling?
Real Deal: I needed to get my name out there man. Average looking big eared white dudes aren’t exactly the first choice for labels to push.
HipHopCanada: What were some of your most memorable battles, and why?
Real Deal: B-Magic because I felt it brought the hunger back. Ex-I because I felt at the time West Coast was running shit and the only way to be taken serious was to have a good battle with some of their best. Cortez because it opened up a door to a whole new fanbase. Young Kannon because seeing it on BET was insane.
HipHopCanada: Do you think battling on BET’s 106 and Park Ultimate Freestyle Friday expanded your fanbase?
Real Deal: Absolutely man. It was a great experience and big for people who don’t normally follow battling.
HipHopCanada: What’s your take on battlers who use ghost writers and would you ever ghost write for someone?
Real Deal: I would ghost write for someone if the bread was right and I feel anyone who says otherwise is fronting. I would never however use ghost written bars. I am opposed to people using it but I am not surprised, nor that passionate about my disapproval for it.
HipHopCanada: What’s your theory on why most battlers can’t make good music?
Real Deal: I don’t necessarily agree with that statement. I know that’s the old saying I think it really just came from one bad Jin Song. I actually think Jins music now is straight. I admit some battlers make really bad music but a lot of musicians make really bad music, ya know? Fresco, Sonny Bamboo, Hemi, Loaded Lux, and the list goes on and on of battlers who make super ill music.
“Compare me to Hank McCoy (Beast) because he’s intellectual, patient, level headed and capable of wrecking shit.” – Real Deal
HipHopCanada: How different of a creative process is it for you to write for a battle compared to writing a song?
Real Deal: Night and day man. Between finding the beat and making the chorus and what not it is 2 completely different things. Battling your in kill mode. some tracks you go off on that tip but there’s so many other concepts to work with. I think that is what hurts battlers is when they have a whole album on some “look how lyrically, lyrical of a lyricist I am.”
HipHopCanada: It’s been said in numerous battles that you are a school teacher. Do your students know this and what do they think of it, are they fans?
Real Deal: Some students would catch wind of it. Initially I would deny it and with the shifting in the public schools I would always seem to get moved right when they would get on to it. A lot of times its hard for them to grasp. They are usually very receptive to it.
HipHopCanada: Can you talk a little bit about any upcoming battles or music projects?
Real Deal: I actually battled in New York on last month and this month returned to London. My album Fight or Flight Mode dropped in March and is available on iTunes and Cdbaby as well as physical copies. I am currently working on another full length album entitled Mountains and Molehills.
For more on Real Deal go to realdealraps.com.
Interview conducted by 9_4 The ComicBook Rapper (@9thilly) for HipHopCanada