You would have to have been living under a rock recently to ignore the ever-growing presence of the Don’t Flop Rap battle League in the UK scene, so I recently caught up with Sensa, one of the league’s top MC’s, to pick his brains on the subject.
24-year old Sensa, who hails from Norwich, has been with Don’t Flop since the start and with an international battle looming, it seemed like the perfect time to grab a quick interview.
So, obviously everyone who's familiar with Don't Flop will be familiar with your work, but for those who aren't, why should people tune in and take a look at what you guys are doing?
Sensa: Well I think mainly that Dont Flop is providing great free online entertainment. Most people with a sense of humour will appreciate the comedic side to the battles. Also, for actual hip hop / rap fans, some of the lyricism in the battles is superb. Sick rhyme schemes and clever wordplays have taken a major role recently.
How do you think battling in perceived by the average person in the street in the UK?
Sensa: To be honest I dont think it’ll be that well received. Mainly because people who are not in the know will see two people going at it and assume it is negative. There are things said at times which are controversial. A couple of times I have said things that would not go down well with the general public. There will be some people who will find it funny, but racial stereotypes in bars will always hold it back I feel.
On a similar vibe, how do you find proper “heads” react to stuff you guys are doing?
Sensa: Well the battle community is constantly growing. You see more people at events, so those involoved; who come to the events or watch the shit on Youtube, must be appreciative. Also, we have had Taskforce, Jehst, Mystro and Charlie Sloth turn up at the London events on a regular basis. Let’s hope that more names like this will take a gamble and have a go at battling too.
So, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that you’re best known as a battler from Don’t Flop. How do you feel the league’s reputation is developing in the UK?
Sensa: You’re right.That ain’t unfair at all. Although I feel that I shouldn’t have allowed that to be the case. I’ve been lazy; just content with ciphering with mates instead of knuckling down and making tracks. But yeah, I feel Dont Flop is developing well. As I said, the crowds are becoming bigger at every event and we have attracted some of the biggest names in the battling world. Also, some of UK Hip Hop’s big names are becoming attracted to this shit. I mean; Lee Scott, Monster Under the Bed and Salar from Children Of The Damned, and also Verb T, which is a good look.
Aside from yourself, is there anyone else out there who you’d recommend that people check out?
Sensa: In Don’t Flop we have some real dope battlers right now. I mean, I don’t want to say too much about how good my potential opponents are for obvious reasons, but there are some real talented rappers in this shit right now. Cruger, to me, is consistently dope. O’Shea is always guarenteed to make you laugh a lot, and my partner in the upcoming 2-on-2 competition in Dont Flop is Definition. He is also on the up and I think he will prove himself over the next year or so.
In recent times, Don't Flop has started to gain international recognition from your battling counterparts over in the States, Grindtime. How do you think this will affect the reputation of battling in the UK?
Sensa: It’s great. We just had Illmaculate over from California to battle Eurgh, who is the owner of Don’t Flop. We’ve had two events where USA representatives have flown over to battle, and a third is in the making as we speak. It’s sick that Americans are accepting that DF has some dope MC’s. It’ll be interesting to see when the battlers make their albums, if it helps sales.
As well as the States, you guys are about to head over to Canada to take a pop at the guys from King of the Dot. I know you’ve got your eye on taking a scalp over there?
Sensa: Yeah mate, we are planning to hit up Toronto on August 6th and 7th. Im scheduled to battle PoRich, who is one of their longest serving MC’s. Which will make it better when I beat him! If anyone would like to donate to my trip, the paypal adress is email@example.com. Any donations are welcome, and any donater of £10 or over will receive my album free when it is done!
So, aside from battling, you’re currently working on an album. Will this be your debut offering?
Sensa: Yeah thats right. I am working on my first album as we speak. Ive written about half of it, so its well under way.
You’ve managed to line up Verb T. for the production of it. How did that collaboration come about?
Sensa: Well I had put on my Facebook status that I wasn’t gonna make music ever again. I check my messeges and theres one from Verb T!
He was saying that he had a couple of beats I should look at. I checked them out, was feeling them and we have just spoken from then on. Verb T is producing most of the album, but there is also going to be a couple of guest beats. So far, the only confirmed one is Pro P.
Any other big collabs that you can let us know about, or are you keeping it strictly under wraps, so to speak?
Sensa: Well there are some big ones that I’m tryin to keep quiet for now, but the ones I can release are Cruger, Plazma (former Rhyme Asylum member), Eurgh and Respek B.A. Verb T is also on a dope track that he produced called “Sin”.
Well I, for one, am certainly looking forward to getting hold of a copy. Have you got anything else that you want to add on the matter?
Sensa: I just want to say you can catch my battles at www.dontflop.com, or by typing in “Sensa Vs” in Youtube. Add me on facebook, my name on there is Sen Sa.
Big ups 2 Verb T, and everyone that is helping me on this project. Anyone looking to collab can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, huge thanks to everyone that has donated to my trip to Canada so far.
By: Phil Clark