The battle rap strike is officially over.
To effectively punctuate the end of this so-called “strike” (one that barely got started), SMACK/ URL took over Club Amazura in Jamaica, Queens to reclaim their throne as “The World’s Most Respected MC Battle Arena” with their Strike 2.5 card.
Leading the card, was three of battle rap’s top crew, NWX: K-Shine, DNA and T-Top. Slated to go to combat with some this year’s most formidable opponents, many doubted that the trio would emerge victoriously. But they did, even as their challengers made it difficult for them to just cakewalk through the battles.
First, out of the NWX team, Shine proved to be comfortable in the murky URL waters and seemed at home even as he swam with the sharks’ leading fish. Bar heavy and punch crazy, Ave did not let Shark City down. Representing VA like the champ he is, he simply lacked the crowd control and charisma needed to threaten Shine. Shine was in his bag, making sure his hyper-aggressive style was on full display. Usually, Ave appears to be like fictional Jaws standing across the stage from his opponent, this weekend he did not. Shine, all 5 ft something of him, seemed like the more ferocious beast. Chomping down the Cave Gang hitter’s most memorable haymakers with setups and punchlines, he reminded you why he is a crowd pleaser. Even Ave could not help but grin, as the crowd went crazy with the fever of Shine’s return to URL. Shine 3-0.
Next up to bat was T-Top against Geechi Gotti: The Bear vs. The Banger. Against the Grizzly, Geechi Gotti did not shrink, as he stood unexpectedly taller than any of the other third generation of commercial battle rappers popping out on the scene. Despite having a productive year, he was pegged to be that hunting trap which put an end to Top’s career. Many even thought that his aggressive style would be the perfect roadblock to get the UFF Champ and crowd fave out of here forever. And while Geechi definitely did not come to play, it just was not enough in our opinion. Gotti met Top bar for bar. Gotti met Top hood story for hood story. He had angles. He had haymakers. But. He. Just. Did. Not. Have. The. Charisma! Top made you laugh and think at the same time. His best angle was when he went in on deconstructing Gotti’s street image, by say poking fun at West Coaster’s weave business. Outside of Charlie Clips, Conceited, Hitman Holla, few emcees come to life on the stage as he does.
Closing out the show, was DNA aka “The Champ” who went up against “The Bar God,” Danny Myers. DNA’s rounds were tight and entertaining and still is one of the best talents on URL’s roster. Danny Myers had rhymes galore. No one can take away from Danny’s gifts, but lacks the star power to go toe to toe with The Champ.
Which leads to this one point:
BATTLE RAP IS NOT ONLY ABOUT BARS. IT IS ABOUT A NUMBER OF FACTORS: LYRICISM, ENTERTAINMENT, HUMOR, STAGE PRESENCE & PERSONALITY!
NWX as a collective, for the most part, understands this… which is why they are more than “get those guys that excel at two on twos…” More than just the ESPN “go to’s”… or the “mixtape grinders”… Congrats on claiming the night!
But the night had more than just NWX battles…
URL secured a roster that was extraordinarily strong with no lulls or fillers. Whatever team came up with this card definitely had their ear to the street, securing battles that were unexpected.
JC seemed to tame the conscious gangster spirit in B Dot. Graduating from the streets of Compton, he rocked a bandana patterned red, black, and green graduation stole around his neck. Reflective of both his Pan-African views and his Piru gang affiliation, B Dot has been miscast by lazy battle rap enthusiasts as well as the new generations, and Lux. He is not. Actually, there has never been a battle rapper like him and lyrically, there may never be. While he may possess the uncanny ability to merge black conscious and aggressive street bars, JC picked apart his rapid-fire delivery style and dismissed him as a “walking contradiction.”
Glueazy vs Ryda proved to be an interesting sparring session between members of the Goonie family. While they traded slick shots back and forth, Ryda’s punches seemed to hit a little harder as the crowd began to favor him. Glue maintained that he still has love for his crew member as he shouted, “Goonie till we die!”
Although the battle was in Jamaica, Queens, Brooklyn was definitely in the building as Mr. Wavy took on Jerry Wess. Both men are “We Go Hard” elite, but Wavy at the time proved to be a tidal wave which seemed to be hard for Wess to stay afloat. Wavy came out aggressive in round 1. Wess did match up when his time to rhyme came up but in round 2 when Wavy threw his hoodie up while he played on Jerry Wess’ name, the crowd erupted. It is hard to call it: Wavy was crossing him up, stepping over him like Iverson. Wavy was shooting like Ray Allen in Game 6, and blocking like Olajuwon. The culture wins on this one.
There is a reason that URL is the most respected in the world. They know how to pick the battles and looking at how quickly they shut down the strike, they also know how to make the talent feel comfortable enough to perform on the highest level. If you thought this battle was crazy, wait until next month. URL is heading to the UK for Summer Madness 8 on November 10 and that promises to be one hell of an event.
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