Bobby Fisha is a modern-day renaissance man. From his full-time gig working at Valley of the Kings Music, to his part-time gig as a swim instructor at Emler Swim School to writing an award-winning screenplay, Fisha, whose legal name is Michael Victory, stays busy to say the least. But surprisingly, none of those accolades are what Fisha is best known for.
Since 2009, Fisha has been destroying Dallas' rap battle scene. He's the four-time Raw & Underground Rap Battle Champion as well as the retired heavy-weight belt holder from Headkrack and Dish Nation's Dat Piff Battle. But now, Fisha is facing a new battle of sorts — proving to Dallas that battle rappers are not only capable of producing legit music, but can hold their own among the rest of the rap community.
A Chicago transplant, Fisha showed up at The Caribbean Grill six years ago for a rap battle hosted by Headkrack. After slaying the competition, Fisha says Headkrack pulled him to the side. Krack told him that while his lyrics were on point, no one could understand him. Fisha explains, "Headkrack came over to me and was like, 'You're holding that shit like you're about to tell us the weather. You need to hold that mic up to your face so we can hear you, because we like what you're saying.'"
From that point on, Fisha's vocals have not been a problem and Headkrack became a mentor of sorts to the young rapper. "You can't be a battle rapper and not be able to take the heat. I'm a really good sport about that," says Fisha. In battling, some rappers take things too seriously and get offended, and then you've got a beef on your hands. Fisha, however, takes a more positive approach to his craft. A lot of rappers, he says, will go for the easy swipes, comparing him to Eminem or Machine Gun Kelly, but when someone really digs deep and takes their disses to an intelligent, creative level, he loves it and has no problem laughing at himself.
Listening to Fisha's tracks, his extensive vocabulary makes it sound like he spent his childhood summers locked in a library. And he does attribute this aspect of his music to his passion for reading. "I like to read; it's not necessarily about rap. I enjoy the beauty of language. There are so many words to convey how you feel, I try to just know as many as I can." He singles out Fyodor Dostoevsky and Chuck Palahniuk — specifically, Invisible Monsters — as some of his favorites. "When I was younger I liked choose your own adventure books because there were so many options," Fisha says, jokingly. It makes sense too: To be a successful battle rapper, you have to be quick-witted, ready for anything and avoid the repetitive usage of words.
According to Fisha, though, there is an unspoken opinion within the rap battle community that implies that battle rappers can't make solid music. And that's something he wants to change. "There's such a stigma with battle rap, within the culture," he says. "A lot of just people automatically assume that battle rappers can't make real music. They think all they do is diss people on tracks and just talk shit all the time."
Fisha makes it very clear that insulting his colleagues as a means to an end to recognition is not the way he wants to go about his musical journey. "First of all, I don't want to put that much time and energy into making fun of people. I'm trying to make a positive difference with my music and it [rap battling] just seems like a total opposite, negating effect." Fisha states. He explains that he's already taken a step back from the battle game and has managed to complete several singles, with corresponding videos, which are ready for release, pending the smoothing out of a few technical details.
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"I want every single song that I release to be an all-encompassing package. Each song is going to have a video with it, a T-shirt, its own merch." Specifically, Fisha is excited about a project he calls "Wolfish." The way he tells it, "Wolfish" could almost be a survey into the harsher, darker parts of the battle rap scene. "[Wolfish] is about your animalistic instincts within a specific society, and also being 'wolfish' in that people can be so rapacious, at times," he explains
Fisha's versatility and ability to tell stories and deliver punchlines are important keys to have as an artist. As he puts it, "I've noticed a main underlying theme with all species and all forms of work is that you have to adapt and evolve or you die off. It's cool to embellish and embrace an era of something and love it and pay homage to that, but there's a reason some of those things aren't around today and that's because they weren't willing to adapt because they're stuck in their ways. They weren't willing to accept any other genre of music, when everything really does have its time and place."
But merely being versatile isn't enough as far as Fisha is concerned. "I don't want to be jack-of-all-trades and a master of none," he insists. That being said, only time will tell if Dallas will be receptive to this battle rappers cross-over attempt, but he's certainly off to a good start.