Rare Breed Entertainment has a reputation of being scrappy.
Six year in the making, the fans turned league owners came into the game with an ax to grind. They wanted to create a new wave in battle rap where skills mattered more than tiers. And through hard work, they have scrapped their way (with the finesse of a Brooklyn brawler) to the top on pile. Arguably, they are one of the top three premiere battle rap leagues in the industry.
They’ve proven that they deserve to be in that elite conversation over and over again. With an exceptional year, cultivated by extraordinary casting of battles, brick by brick they elbowed their way into the landscape.
And this definitive card encapsulates that company grind and edge. They are underdogs… but in the way Loud was back in 1993.
Which leads us to the Pearly Gates 3 card.
Opening the day were the 1SK battles hosted by Texas’ Robin Rhymes, these battles were one-rounders with essentially are their new class of emcees. These two contest basically ripped the band-aid off of the day.
Right off the back Asylum the Crow vs. Dizzy Spades took the stage to square off in battle. Dizzy was not playing. In fact, his overall aggression and crowd control secured him the win. This is not to say that ATC was whack. HE WAS NOT (though he stumbled a few times due to newby nerves). Dizzy was just on today. Comfortable. Gripping bar after bar, Dizzy made our heads spin and we look forward to seeing Mr. Hollywood again.
Next up was Dallas Cash and Remedy Loko.
Dallas Cash aka “The Wrestling Bar King” came out swinging. The self-described nerd, he chose a “You’re too street” angle for his opponent Remedy Loko. That did not work. Loko’s “street” carried the battle. This battle was a classic good guy versus bad guy. It was nerd versus the hood dude. It was the corny (not that DC is corny) versus the slick. And like in many street fights, the slick wins. Loko took the victory in this one.
The main card popped off with Oops vs. Craig Lamar.
Oops is an interesting emcee. Not only is he an interesting rapper, but as a Missouri Congressman, serving on committees like Corrections and Public Institutions and Crime Prevention and Public Safety, you don’t expect him to get busy. But son got busy. We thought that this battle would have been better than what it was. Both Oops and Craig Lamar are etched in RBE’s history with classic battles. And while rhymes were there, Lamar messed up the contest by choking. So… lets… go… to… Oops’ superior crowd control and lyrical prowess. Even if Lamar would not have messed up in his rounds, Oops was just better today.
Serius Jones and Ill Will’s battle shifted the entire energy of the card. Battle of the night. Possible contender for battle of the year. The two put on a style clash, that depending on what you like determined who you had winning. Serius Jones was in his hood bag, talking that talk that reminded you if you forgot that he was from Newark (with all that that means). And Ill Will dropped comedic lines, one after another. Sprinkled with that fire that made Team Homi’s Sara Kana loose her frigging mind, Ill Will capitalized on SJ’s mishap with Math over five years ago. But SJ did not let that rattle him… he gave one of the best performances of his life.
Calicoe and Bigg K’s battle was hilarious. Both emcees put forth valiant efforts. Bigg K spit rhymes packaged in humor and perfected flow. But that dang on Calicoe talk to him in the manner that had shorty next to me (who had traveled from NC) screaming like she was at a concert. Homie is just different. And no matter how much Bigg K rappity rapped, Calicoe’s charisma and stage presence overwhelmed the Virginia rapper. And rapping is something that Bigg K does well. So well and with so much style & swag, it fed into Yung Shoebox Money’s white angle. Cal painted the picture that K was a culture vulture in love with Black culture and it worked. While that alone helped with his Black history month narrative, it was when Cal confronted the guy on the stage with the Gucci headband that stole the show.
Calicoe has long been a champion of Black owned clothing brands and with the recent Gucci blackface controversy, his points have been echoed by the community. Thus it must have been a shock that just as he went into his bar about the Italian luxury brand, that he spotted homie in the cut behind his opponent. Cal wigged on the gent, basically called him a coon for wearing a “Soulja Boy” Gucci headband. The crowd erupted, nailing the “W” to the chest of the Detroit rapper. Again K was not bad- Cal just had some magic that could not be beat. The card is fire and unfortunately all the wins in my review are based on who most folk would have rather been on stage… Cal just felt like the winner.
But the main event was the Hollow Da Don and Math Hoffa battle. And this was battle everyone was waiting for.
This grudge match had just as much energy behind it as the John John Da Don and Hollow battle from URL’s SM8. Math and Hollow has history and instead of going into the details of the battle, because it is worthy of a PPV purchase, let’s talk about Cortez and Ms.Fitt. While all the other battles of the night were plates for hire, this one was a family feud that divided a crew up. It was uncomfortable to see people divided as each emcee delivered fire blows at each other. Cor and Ms.Fitt stood sandwiched between both stars, refusing to pic a side. Hollow would land a cold line and everyone would cover their faces not to reveal their version of the Jaz face. Then Math would spit something incredible and there goes the covering of the faces. Some lines were undeniable.
The battle was highly personal. Moreover, Math just had a better night than Hollow, someone who for many battle rappers is on their Mt. Rushmore. Well for them, it may need to be change. Math 3-0.
The Pearly Gates 3 card did not live up to its name. No one died. There were no clear bodies. No one met St. Peter and entered the Pearl Gates. It was just powerful battles on a power card.