An American professor is claiming that rap battling derived from an ancient Scottish act called ‘flyting’ where Scots would publicly engage in poetic verbal contests.

According to Scotland On Sunday, Professor Ferenc Szaszho of the University of New Mexico claims that Scottish slave owners brought the tradition of ‘flyting’ to the United States and it was adopted and developed by slaves and later became rap.

Szaszho, who specializes in American and Scottish culture, made the link in a study examining the work of Scottish poet Robert Burn's work.

"The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting - intense verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the dozens that one finds among contemporary inner-city African-American youth," said Szaszho. "Both cultures accord high marks to satire. The skilled use of satire takes this verbal jousting to its ultimate level - one step short of a fist fight."

The most famous surviving example of flyting comes from a 16th-century piece titled "The Flyting Of Dunbar And Kennedy" in which two rival poets hurl rhyming insults at one another before the court of King James IV.