Cockfight between academics

Cockfight between academics

Between brainy philological debates and inflated battles for a take away a tilde from me, a hard-fought fight of highly literate cocks slipped into the Congress of the Language of Cádiz. The Fundación del Español Urgente (FundéuRAE) and Red Bull Batalla organized a workshop and an exhibition of improvisor rhymers in the Baluarte de la Candelaria with Cervantes and the Cádiz City Council. Some roosters that are considered, by the way, "protildistas".

The rival rhymers were Mnak, Blon and NikiDMT, helped by the 'host' Queen Mary and DJ Verse, who first showed the ins and outs and tricks of their popular art. A discipline that celebrates the importance of the word and the use of language to balance the bold improvisations that cross like knives in their competitions.

Ignacio Romero Montero (Socuéllamos, Ciudad Real, 1997) known as Mnak, or the Viking of verse, is a brave and highly literate freestyler. With a degree in Comparative Literature and with three published collections of poems -the last one 'My black cloud'-, he knows that "we have not invented anything". "It all started with the trova", says this reader of Kafka, Dostoevsky, Balzac and Baudelaire and in love with alliteration. "Quevedo is the most combative poet of all, especially because of his way of insulting," he says, turning the poet of the Golden Age into the father of 'freestylers'.

"Gongora and Quevedo staged the first battle of roosters," says Mary Ruiz, (Madrid, 1980), Queen Mary on stage. Presenter, actress and journalist of reference in the 'freestyle' universe, believes that women "have not broken the glass ceiling" in this scene of cocks "with an audience that is a bit macho, like society, which is merciless with women ».

Dj Verse is Guillermo Camacho Rodríguez (Madrid 1987). He has been in the union for 15 years and is the most veteran musical setter of these battles that mobilize legions of young people. "The battles are not easy. Many people think that it is about insulting and highlighting the opponent's physical defects, but it is a cliché: it is about argumentative dialectical fights and there are many open doors when it comes to using language, “says Mnak.

"Our tool is the word, we take advantage of the dictionary and the narratives to gallear", agree the three, professionals who live "and well" from their poetic duels and consider themselves "the first generation of elite". "We merge words into a milkshake with which we create a new language, universal and mixed, but understandable in all areas in which words such as 'pencil', 'flashear', 'pisha' or 'nano' coexist naturally", they say. They hope academics will include the voice 'fristáil.


Many attendees of these fast-paced impromptu rhyming matches have difficulty understanding duelist slang. For them, FundéuRAE has developed a guide to 'freestyle' and 'hiphop' terms in Spanish.

With more than 250 expressions and terms, he defines rap voices as 'barra' –improvised verse embedded in a beat–; 'punchline', –phrase of auction or coup de grace–; 'submachine gun' –technique that eliminates the link elements to recite dizzyingly– or 'replica' –extra round to decide who wins a duel–.

Literary resources used in this discipline alternate such as 'anaphora' –rhetorical repetition–; 'asyndeton', –the academic version of the submachine gun– or 'synecdoche' –designating one thing with the name of another, like steel for the sword–.

All the voices have a brief definition or refer to the word that is most commonly used with the same meaning. In many there is additional information about the 'freestyle' world, recommendations on its correct writing and an example of real use extracted from the rhyming battles.

The guide takes into account the multiple varieties of Spanish, given that 'freestyle' is practiced all over the world and you want to be useful to "all those interested in these rhymed battles regardless of the country they come from".

The Fundación del Español Urgente is a non-profit institution that promotes the proper use of Spanish in the media. Through daily recommendations, writing tips and answers to the queries it receives, it aims to help "all those who use the language in their daily activities in the media, social networks, digital platforms".

Created in 2005, Red Bull Batalla is a competition for freestylers that provides a platform for the development of Spanish-speaking hiphop stars. It has become the most relevant international rhyme battle event that connects Spain, Latin America and the United States.