Rap battles are no joke in the Philippines. The country’s main league, FlipTop Battle League, sells out massive venues for events, has almost 2 million subscribers on YouTube and regularly posts videos that amass millions of views.
Given the high-profile nature of the sport, it is perhaps less surprising to learn that the things said in Filipino rap battles can have far-reaching consequences.
In a recent battle between Sinio and Shehyee, posted on February 2, Sinio took the angle of disrespecting Shehyee’s girlfriend, Ann Mateo — a model with about 410,000 followers on Instagram. The battle has garnered a lot of publicity in the past week, with over 7 million views already — and unfortunately for Sinio, at least one of those views comes from Ann Mateo’s mother.
Shehyee, Sinio’s opponent, posted to Facebook claiming that Mateo’s mother had messaged Sinio to let him know she was thinking about suing him over the “overly foul” things that he had to say about her daughter.
Shehyee has remained neutral in all of this, saying he didn’t expect such a reaction from his girlfriend’s mother — but that he didn’t question it either. He did, however, offer to help explain to Mateo’s mother how rap battles, according to Filipino outlet Inquirer.
You can watch the battle in full below, but it won’t actually do you any good unless you speak the language.
Mateo herself seems pointedly ambivalent toward the situation, posting a picture of herself with the caption “I don’t care.”
HipHopDX reached out to FlipTop founder Alaric “Anygma” Yuson for his take on what was going on. He told us the issue has been resolved and that the stories in the Filipino press have exaggerated the importance of the story.
“It’s not a big deal and mainstream media is just trying to cash in on the little misunderstanding for ratings. It’s been blown way out of proportion and it sucks how media would rather focus on that than the strength of the battle itself or our league as a whole. And yeah, it also doesn’t matter anymore cos the persons involved had agreed not to push through on that exact same day so it’s weird and telling how people are still trying to milk it. Also too many other vastly more important issues in our country and around the world instead of this petty bullshit.”
Check out the league on YouTube, or more on the battle scene on BattleRap.com.