The smoke has settled and Rare Breed Entertainment’s Lift His Soul 5 was a huge success. Highlighted by the generational collision between Harlem’s returning veteran Jae Millz and the new kid running the block, K-Shine, LHS5 proved that if you are an industry cat coming into this arena… you better be ready to play.

Despite all the tough talk at the press conference, video blogs, social media tirades, not everyone could deliver the win that they promised at the event at Club Drom on Saturday.

Drom was packed, wall to wall. The tight squeeze did not stop the fans from enjoying the show. Kicking off the show was the one round SK battles. Eyse Kold came out swinging against Zay Smoove. Both men delivered a valiant effort but it seemed like Eyse’s bars hit harder (especially after he won the crowd over).  Then, there was KD vs Butta From Da Block. Butta held it down for the block as he seemed to overpower KD with delivery, bars, and performance.

Transitioning to the three-round format, Shooney Da Rapper took on QB Black Diamond. As the only women on the card, they proved to be just as disrespectful and lyrical as their aggressive male counterparts. As an illustration, during the press conference, Shooney appeared as the pretty one with the sharp tongue. Looking pretty, she slighted QB for taking battles at “hole in the wall” spots. Meanwhile, QB came back hard with the statement that could simply not be scoffed at, “For four bands, I’m focused on the bag.” The disrespect was on high and continued on the Saturday stage. QB represented Connecticut well. Even pointing out that Shooney had relocated to CT, suggesting that she wanted to be like her. Not letting any slick shots slide, QB turned up the disrespect more than a few notches and swayed the crowd. With momentum on her side, she was persistent with bars, and aggression throughout her performance. Both ladies not only gave a good show but demonstrated that female battle rap is still alive and well.  We score it 3-0 for QB. Fans have been saying that the battle is debatable. While you heard more people saying QB won, those who give it to Shooney did so because she possessed the fuller package. Queen of The Ring owner, Debo, gave it to Shooney and the two of them have been at odds for a while now.

Then there was the long overdue meeting between Jimz and Kitchen Qleen. All weekend, Qleen maintained that this was a battle that no one wanted to see. In fact, at the press conference, he told Jimz, “don’t nobody give a fuck about this. Y’all know who they here to see.” He continued, “The only reason this battle got any hype is because I no-showed you twice.” If you thought that was funny, he took the cake when he said, “I took this battle so I could watch Jae Millz vs K-Shine live, for free.”

Fast forward to the main stage Jimz came out punching in round one. Clearly, he was relieved to get a few things off his chest. Still, Qleen seemed to laugh it off as he kept churning out comical-aggressive bars. Even so, Jimz kept firing back. In the third,  Qleen,  got a little personal and the crowd responded to his effort. And that is it in a nutshell. If anyone says that Jimz won (and no slight to Jimz cause he gets busy), it is a lukewarm win because QP did not come to cook the entire battle… though he did better than what people thought he would. Jimz is an incredible rapper that understands his craft. He just needs opponents that respect him enough to not make him always look like he is over prepared for people who feel like they could roll out the bed and beat him. 2-1 either way.

Next, was the main event Qleen said we all came to see: Jae Millz vs K-Shine.

It seemed like the walls were beginning to sweat as the crowd multiplied and the heat was introduced. Sporting his “Showtime” grey, purple and gold Zip Em’ Up sweatsuit, Shine was ready to work. Millz stayed true to his era as he took the stage wearing the classic Larry Bird Celtics warm-up. Millz revealed later revealed boxer Adrien Broner bet $10k on Shine to win. (Dang… sorry bro!)

Shine won the toss and dictated the pace early on. Describing this verbal fight like a boxing match: Shine was throwing haymakers, uppercuts and sticking the jab, mixing up the combos. His delivery won the crowd. Though the first round was his best round, Millz seemed to be limited in what he could do in this era of clever spit kickers. Shine locked up the momentum, tapping into his well-seasoned arsenal of battle tricks. Pulling charisma and punching out of the bag (time and time again), he made Millz seem old and out of date.  It did not help that Millz kept saying, “Y’all sleep,” further dismissing the crowd for not getting his rhymes.

The crowd held no punches as the 3-0 chants echoed through the building. We could not help but reflect on what Millz said exclusively to The Source at the RBE LHS5 press conference and he said, “After I show y’all I can do it in this era, what’s the conversation? I’m back, battle rap ain’t safe!” Too bad it did not go his way.

We were not the only ones excited to see Millz return to battle rap. Actually, we salute him for aiming at the top. But the hard truth is he will need to sharpen his steel if he wants to be a threat in this era. Perhaps, he should speak to Goodz. He has been able to compete in several eras and not be seen as an old head but as a competitor. Goodz was there in the classic street battle days (think about when he told Aye Verb he had to go attend to a lady and would not be battling in the street), and just had a debatable battle with Tay Roc (many said he won) earlier this year.

DNA spoke with 15 Minutes of Fame Radio and he acknowledged the significance of winning the crowd. “In battles it be momentum… It be shit I be saying, but if I don’t have the crowd its over. Whether they got it or not, that thing was clear [3-0].”

We also spoke exclusively with Jimz after the battle regarding the winner of Millz vs Shine. He said, “Quote me: Shine dirty 30.”

Last was supposed to be Ill Will vs Calicoe. However, due to time constraints, the show continued outside the venue. Taking things back to the essence, they battled in the traditional circled crowd. Though not planned, this is a nod to a gloss down direction in battle rap that we adore. Salute to A.R.P. for making sure we received the link to this battle. Millz vs Shine was cool for the culture, but Will vs Calicoe was indeed a classic.

Bar-for-Bar, showmanship-for-showmanship, even with no additional crowd, both men brought their best.

Two Michigan men, anytime two titans of the same city battle, the energy is electric. Ending round one, Will makes it clear he didn’t come to play.

“I saw what you did to[Tay] Roc and [Pat] Stay and the lack of damage they done. But I’m not Roc, nor Stay… You better handle that son! Play me like Roc and Stay, You gon’ get Rocked and Stay on the ground till the ambulance come.”

Calicoe stood his ground in the second round.

“In yo trailer, you said, ‘Calicoe never liked me.’ You sound like a bitch. He from the Mich–Why wouldn’t I fuck with him? X called me like, ‘You notice Will start dissin’ Team Homi’ At the time we still tryna’ kill New York niggas–you siding with em’. So it ain’t like I just didn’t like you. I said fuck you-you NY nigga, you dying with em’ don’t get sidetracked.”

Both men maintain they have no issues beyond rap. Even so, Cal got a little too close to Will by the end of round two and a brief struggle ensued. With everything unfolding on camera, A.R.P restored order and the third round commenced. An all-around classic battle, to say the least. We have to call this a 2-1 either way.

In closing, 2018 has been an amazing year for the battle rap. Salute to A.R.P. and RBE for continuing to elevate the soul of the culture.