SCOTLAND’S hip hop community came together for the annual KG Rap Battles event last Saturday.

Rappers from around the country arrived to compete at the Kelvingrove Park event that has become a key fixture in the Scottish hip hop calendar over the past decade.

Battle leagues have sprung up around the country in recent years, inspired by the online battles that have gone viral. However, battling as an art form has been prevalent for over 30 years.

In today’s format, two or more rappers typically trade a capella flows, rhymed insults and humorous punchlines. A key development in recent years has been the move towards pre-memorising lyrics rather than improvising on the spot (known as freestyling).

Both approaches were used at the Kelvingrove event, which was also used as a qualifying round for the knock-out Breaking the Barrier battle league.

In April, The National recounted the colourful final of last season’s tournament as Renfrewshire emcee Andrew MacKenzie, right, won the title with a mixture of jokes and relevant political disses. Similar humour was in evidence last Saturday. Stirling’s Dave McAleese, a.k.a. Number 13, arguably earned the loudest reception of the day with his punchline: “why’d you never bring your bird here? Are you scared to let them see that she takes up more seats than the SNP?”

While Scottish emcees have long been admired for such juvenile wit, there are signs that the next generation of rappers are adopting a more serious, wordplay-oriented style.

This year, Fife emcee Soul became the de facto UK battle rap champion when he won the Don’t Flop title at Ministry of Sound in London. The intense battle currently has 90,000 views on YouTube and seems a world apart from the party atmosphere that permeated the exchanges at Kelvingrove Park last week.

However, one Breaking the Barrier qualifier who appears to have been particularly inspired by Soul’s hard-hitting lyricism is actor and rapper Kenneth Fullwood, a.k.a. Seuss.

The Garelochhead emcee edged out Dingwall’s Ryan Jensen, a.k.a. Ryza, in his battle to advance to the next round. Fullwood describes his approach as being more “performance based”.

“As an actor, you always think about how you’re going to deliver your words,” says Fullwood. “Rap battling is the same. If there’s emotion behind what you’re saying, it’s always going to be more interesting. Comedy is an important aspect to battling but I lean towards wordplay. It’s the twisting of words that really interests me.”

The day wasn’t entirely a success: the event ran late, the structure was disorderly and several rappers didn’t even turn up, leading to impromptu freestyle performances from battlers present.

Fullwood argues, however, that this is part and parcel of an outdoor hip-hop event in Glasgow:

“Outdoor events can be chaotic, but they’re the best platform for up-and-comers like me. It’s big and it’s open – you need to really work to land all your bars and impress an audience. It’s the perfect place to see whether you’ve got what it takes.”

You can sample the action for yourself at Meadows Take-Over, The Meadows, Edinburgh on September 19.