From Battle Rapper to ‘Bodied’ Screenwriter

Alex Larsen, aka Kid Twist, was an aspiring novelist working as a game designer in Toronto after becoming a legend in the battle rap world for his cutting, funny, cerebral lines. Now he is the screenwriter behind the satirical battle rap film Bodied, produced by Eminem and directed by Joseph Kahn

An audience member at the screening implied rap music has gone downhill and the skills displayed in Bodied might inspire young rappers to step it up lyrically. Since you are someone who tried writing songs, how easy is it to go from battle rap to hip-hop/song lyrics? It’s a different structure.

I’m not quite a jaded old guy in rap yet. I still really enjoy the new music that’s coming out, but I do think there’s been a little shift of focus away from lyricism compared to the past, and that battle rap does help fill that gap, in real life, and we hopefully represent that lyricism well in the movie too. I feel like the reason why I wasn’t able to do music the way I would have wanted to is because it’s about a spontaneous emotional expression, and I think the best music is always about that. The rap that’s popular today definitely captures that, and that’s what’s really good about it, for me. I think the way that I can best express myself is through much more structured narratives where I can build with pieces, like building blocks, in order to achieve an emotional effect, so it’s almost coming at the emotion from the other way around, instead of being spontaneously emotional. That is really what works for me in screenwriting, and that was something that was absolutely an irreplaceable experience working with Joseph Kahn because he knows exactly how to do that. You can see his music video experience come through, where just moment to moment he knows exactly what the emotion and the theme is of every frame on screen because he’s familiar with working in those like very exact formats. He really helped push me to make those moments crystal clear in the movie.

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