My Personal Rank: #5.

FB: When you die cool enough in Guilded Age, sometimes you still get one last turn at the mic.

Pros: Penk vs. Harky, like Frigg vs. Rachel, was a natural conflict for us to revisit.

The rhymes are pretty solid, though Harky’s are better overall—“lying tongues/dying lungs” and the chain of “ung” rhymes they belong to, “Peacemakers/oathbreakers,” and the three-rhyme-per-line structure of “Your hopes…” to “he leads.”

Penk makes up for a simpler batch with some sharper wordplay—“heads roll to ruin,” “like a boss,” “see now what I herald,” and his final line (what they call the “kill line,” appropriately). I’d say Harky’s three last lines are my favorite of the batch, but it’s close.

Cons: Unlike the rest of these battles, I don’t feel like this one adds much to the original besides setting it to rhyme. It sticks to the shape of Harky and Penk’s original arguments, but a rap battle is usually more free-flowing, unleashing a wide variety of disses that are only linked by their target and their lyrical structure. Like, maybe there could be something about here how Penk got shot down by Magda, or his early simping for Strulk,  or those jokes about Harky’s grandmother’s stew, or Harky’s ignominious defeat at B’ial Vezk, or Penk having to watch his back with Hammerhead, or the way Harky kind of dishonorably tricked the Peacemakers into the death pit, or the way Penk would’ve remained just a lowly drummer without Auraugu recommending him, or or how Harky kept secret his exact relationship with Gondolessa…and so on. (Dissing Harky for loving Gondolessa would be going too far, but staying in the closet is another story. If Magda had returned Penk’s affections, I doubt Penk would’ve hidden the relationship even if anyone grumbled about “miscegenation.”)

What innovations there are don’t work as well as they could. The self-disses in the beginning are a detail that I really liked in the original…but in this format, it’s easy to lose track of who’s talking, especially since Penk and Harky’s hues are so similar, so it just gets confusing.

The “drumbeat” of emphasis in the last stanza works all right, but it’s just a more iambic version of the standard rap rhythm of four beats per line.

To sum up, there’s nothing too wrong with this one, but I think we could’ve done a lot more with it.