This year’s Red Bull Batalla USA National Final is about to go down. Over 7,000 ambitious MCs applied, and only 16 finalists remain. The nation’s final will officially take place on Oct. 8 at the Soho Studios in Miami, FL.
Following the USA Qualifier Events in Dallas (July 16) and Los Angeles (July 30), the U.S. finalists were finally revealed. As we’ve reported, the Red Bull Batalla USA National Finalists who automatically advanced from 2021 are Reverse from West Palm Beach, FL; Eckonn from Orlando, FL; McBetho from Irving, TX; and Cuban from McAllen, TX. Those who are joining them now and competing for the win are the 2022 Red Bull Batalla USA Regional Cup Winners: Freites from Orlando, FL; Santos from New York, NY; Jordi from Austin, TX; and J Luna from Los Angeles, CA.
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The 16 contestants will go head-to-head in hopes of advancing to the World Final that will take place in Mexico City in Dec. Who’s in charge of deciding who will move on? That’s in the hands of the following five MCs: Yartzi, the Puerto Rican MC who’s also the former two-time Red Bull Batalla USA National Champion; Cacha, the popular Argentinian freestyler who’s known for his signature ‘Double Tempo’ style; Moises, the MC and Dioses de la City freestyle league organizer; Gabylonia, the Venezcuelan Latin Grammy nominee and Red Bull Batalla OG; and Chuty, the former two-time Red Bull Batalla Spain National Champion.
Though many of the competitors are from the U.S., it’s important to highlight their roots. To get a better look at how diverse and innovative this Spanish-language world competition is, let’s dive into seven Latin American regions represented at this year’s National Final.
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Among the 16 finalists, five of them are not only representing U.S. but also representing Mexico. Mexico is the top-leading Latin American country among the USA finalists. “This October 8th we will be representing Arizona and Sonora as well as the northwest of Mexico in the city of Miami Florida,” one of the finalists, El Poeta, from Phoenix, AZ, wrote online. The other four are Macías from Colorado Springs, CO; McBetho, who got his start in Tijuana, BC, Mexico; Jordi, who is from Austin, TX, but grew up in Torreón, Mexico; and J Luna, whose family is from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.
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There’s one finalist this year representing Argentina. Born Manuel Pilotto, Pailot is a tennis instructor currently residing in Atlanta, GA. According to the Red Bull Batalla’s press release, he started freestyling as a joke but ended up “a turning point in his life.” Who would’ve thought this avid tennis player would’ve had a knack for freestyling too? Now, he’s competing against the best MCs this weekend. Argentina also holds its own Red Bull Batalla competition — that national battle will be held on Oct. 22 in Buenos Aires. We’ll have to wait and see which Argentinian freestylers will make it to the global final.
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This year, two finalists represent the Dominican Republic. One of the finalists, Miguel Adonys Gomera, was born in the Dominican Republic but raised in Long Island, NY. Miguel’s known as Adonys and will be participating for the second time this year. Last year, he also made it into the top 16, so it’ll be interesting to see what he has in store for us in this round. On the other hand, the second competitor who’s also representing DR is Angel Andres Feliz, better known as Santos. He’s a filmmaker, photographer, and graphic designer residing in New York.
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Following Mexico, Venezuela is the runner-up on representation among this year’s finalists. Three of the 16 competitors have Venezuelan roots. Born Juan Rodriguez, OneR is one of said MCs, currently living in Tamarac, FL. He was one of the last-minute additions due to his performance at the L.A. qualifier show. The second Venezuelan competing this year is the singer-songwriter Erickson Enrique Nunez Martinez – or Eckonn – from Maracaibo City, Venezuela, though he currently lives in Orlando, FL. The third Venezuelan competitor is Jose Freites, better known as only Freites. He won the Miami Regional Cup, which brought him to compete in the USA National Final.
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Only one competitor is representing Colombia in the USA National Final this year. We’re talking about Nicolas Blanco, better known as Nico B, from Miami, FL. Per Red Bull Batalla’s press release, Nico B’s always been passionate about music, and found his way into the freestyling scene in 2018 through park battles. The first time he competed in Red Bull Batalla was in 2019, and he will now have a second opportunity to win at the National Final. Talking about Colombia, Colombia also held their Red Bull Batalla National Final Colombia on Aug. 22. The winner was Carpediem. Will Nico B join Carpediem in representing Colombia at the International Final in Mexico this year?
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This year, Antonio Manuel Gonzalez Ojeda, better known as Outlaw, will represent Puerto Rico in the USA National Final. Outlaw is 24 years old and originally from San Juan, PR. He’s part of the freestyle rap brand Fuego Impro. He currently resides in Cabo Rojo and started freestyling in 2019. Since then, he has landed this spot in the national finals. He wrote on Instagram: “It will be an epic night of jamming, instrumentals, and bars as the 16 MCs compete for the national title and a chance to advance to the world finals.”
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Two Cubans are competing in Miami this year. First off, there’s Marcos Acosta Leiva, better known as Reverse. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he won the 2021 USA National Final. So this year, not only will he be defending his title, but he will also compete for a chance to move forward to the World Finals. The second is Frank Munoz, known as Cuban, a content creator currently living in McAllen, TX. But this isn’t his first time competing either. In 2020, he entered but failed to qualify for Red Bull Batalla. Now he’s back and ready to compete for a spot at the World Finals.