When it comes to freestyling, most of us are happy to string together three or four bars of coherent rhymes before bowing out with a nervous laugh and a rosy blush in the cheeks. Even the best of the best aren’t expected to spit more than a few of minutes of improvised verses before wrapping up with a clean punchline and passing the mic. But with his recent record-setting 24 hour, 30 minute off-the-dome marathon, Spanish rapper Arkano has brought the freestyle arts into a new era of extreme endurance.
Yes, you read correctly: the 22-year-old Alicante native and notorious battle rapper set up shop in a large glass enclosure in the middle of Madrid’s iconic Puerta del Sol last Friday and rapped for 24 hours straight. Or, 24 hours, 34 minutes, and 27 seconds, to be exact. His feat came on the heels of the most recent rap-related Guiness World Record, which had the veteran rapper Murs performing a sort of hip-hop karaoke for 24 hours and 15 minutes. As for actual freestyling, that record was previously set in 2011, when Philly MC Chiddy Bang spit for over nine hours and 16 minutes.
But Arkano wasn’t content merely destroying one record, and he decided to kill two birds with one stone in front of a packed crowd of Spanish hip hop heads and curious onlookers. Accompanied by a live band and fielding topics via social media, the event was an interactive display of physical and mental stamina; and unlike Murs – who would take a five-minute break each hour – Arkano resolved not to break for more than three seconds between verses.
Over the last eight years, Arkano has made a name for himself as one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most potent freestylers, and he’s currently the reigning champion of Redbull’s Batalla de los Gallos international freestyle competition – a competition he first won back in 2008. With his latest feet, the diminutive Valenciano certainly has secured his spot in the history books; now he’s just gotta watch that throne.