My Personal Rank: #3

FB: Cage match.

Cons: That final rhyme is pretty awkward. Most of these lyrics feel natural for the characters (if they were suddenly compelled into rhythm and rhyme and soundalike phrases), but Bandit’s brand of quick-speech doesn’t have a lot to do with invented words like “un-Peacemake” and “leaderness.” And even if those were natural term for her, the stresses on “leaderness” seem they like they don’t match “free…I guess.” So we fumble the dismount a little, IMO.

The layout is a little cramped for the lyrics, something we generally avoided.

Pro or Con?: I waffle about whether the subject matter for this battle is an asset or not. Unlike all the others, it’s a “deleted scene” of sorts, a confrontation we never put in the main story but certainly could have. I said in one annotation that Syr’Nj and Bandit would never speak to each other after the event that severed their trust. But we could’ve done a prose version of this bit here, no one would’ve complained. The real reason we handled this court-martial more indirectly was that another direct clash felt too depressing…and when you remember how depressing Chapter 37 got anyway, that’s really saying something.

Like, to my mind, there’s only so much joy to be gotten out of watching these two heroines become bitter exes and snarl at each other in the ash-heap of their broken trust. But maybe that sour taste becomes an enjoyable flavor when seasoned this way? I think it depends on how close you feel to the story’s tragic side. Maybe doing this battle at the end of the series, when we had more distance from the conflict it depicts, allowed it to be more entertaining than upsetting.

And hey, at least I didn’t have to worry about any low blows feeling out of character on this one!

Pros: In terms of sheer wordplay, this might’ve been the best of these I did. Lots of sharp rhymes: “hometown/gnome clown/Gnometown,” “village/spillage,” “maim/same,” “backstabber/jabbered,” “Houses/spouses,” plus rhymes that lead in to each character’s kinda-sorta catchphrase (“You always have a choice” and “Not th’point”).

Solid alliteration/puns, too: “Croaked in a crook’s cracked voice.” “Silibus/silly bits.” “Guilty stage/gilded cage(/Guilded Age).”

Finally, the structure balances focus and variety. Syr’Nj’s first verse and Bandit’s last one are very free-associating, but the center of the rap stays close to the center of the conflict, with just a few digressions in the middle two verses.

P.S.: Janice didn’t have a lot of opinions on these when I ran them by her, but on this one she said, “Bandit clearly won. In a rap battle, whoever flusters loses, unless they can turn that energy back around into a comeback, and they usually can’t.” It’s true: rhymes aside, Bandit was closer to emotional recovery than Syr’Nj at this point. And it does kinda show, especially in verse 3, line 3.