It has been some time since we’ve heard anything from Queen of The Ring as a rap league. The premier house of female battle rap has been in hiatus for about six months. Their last battle was in Florida in September of 2018.

So, when Watch The Throne 3 was announced, battle rap fans took note and got ready for the queens to take the stage. The card promised the return of some of the league’s veteran voices and welcomed some up and coming talent.  Did it deliver?

ABSOLUTELY.

READ MORE: Queen of the Ring is Back With a Vengeance ‘Watch The Throne 3’

The surprised battle of the night was between New York’s K Prophet and Philadelphia’s Zaine.

K Prophet, one of the league’s original girls, did not come to play and put on a show for the fans. One of the concerns was the K Prophet was not going to come with energy. That was quickly put to rest as K Prophet was almost “spiritual” with her wordplay and performance. For Zaine, it was her debut in the ring and you could tell. The soft-spoken pretty girl seemed to make herself at home (kicking off her shoes and copping some sneaks to make herself comfy), but did not have the energy needed to best K. Her bars were on deck- and moreover, she proved that the ring is not too big of a platform for her to engage. Tonight, just was not her night. K Prophet’s experience in the ring (and maybe her fancy outfit) gave her the upper-hand.

The next battle was Brooklyn’s Torture versus Compton’s RX.

Arguably one of the best battles of the night, Torture outperformed the lyrically driven West Coaster. RX, who came dressed to the nines in a white and gold furry skirt set, actually shrank in front of the towering Torture, who donned a Notorious B.I.G. midriff sweatshirt. Torture had an obnoxious Brooklyn bully drip that poured all over the crowd and seemed to hypnotize them. Clearly, Biggie’s spirit was in the building and on her side. Either it was Biggie’s spirit or that Taco Bell prop and Fanta soda that distracted fans all the way through one of RX’s verse. These performance enhancing tactics not only showed up in Torture’s exceptional bars but were the driving forces behind her almost flawless showing. The three degree having RX was not wack in this battle and at some points shined brightly, living up to her hype. Her Spanglish set showed a dexterity and originality that has been absent from QOTR roster for a minute.  But despite coming with bars, much like Zaine, she could not close the win. Both Zaine and RX are the type of rappers that other rappers like to hear spit. However, battle rap is a contact sport. It requires the battlers to approach each round with all the humor and zeal of the WWE, and the attention-grabbing-spectacle that is embedded in reality shows. (Editor’s note: That’s fancy talk for give the people a show… your rappity rap will not win you battles if it is void excitement.)

READ MORE: Female Battle Rap is Officially Back – “Queen Of The Ring” Returns

BLACK ON BLACK CRIME: Why Melato Black is a major problem for the new class of QOTR femcees?

Melato Black has never made major ripples on my QOTR radar.

A member of the second or third wave of rappers to hop in the ring, one of the biggest complaints about MB is that she forgets her rounds. Tonight… she… totally… redeemed… herself… against one of the league’s newest stars. Chetta, straight out of Ohio, has been bodying people on this platform for a minute now. Her battle with Torture and 40 B.A.R.R.S. has replay value, mostly due to her rhymes. No one can dispute her pen or performance. But today was not her day. As clever as she was, Melato Black was just better. Lyrically, MB had schemes, double entendres, dexterous and extremely deft wordplay that just made her stand out more. In the building, while Chetta was likable, her star power faded next to a calm and reserved Black. This is one that will be interesting to see on camera. Like Chetta’s other battles, that rewind often makes a difference, but on first look… Black Blacked.

New England vs. New England.

Couture (Rhode Island) took the stage against the current queen of the ring, 40 B.A.R.R.S. (Boston).  Calling 40 “queen of the ring” is not hyperbole. Few females on the league can pull a crowd like she can. Her fans, TEAM 40, are battle rap’s Bey Hive and always seem to hold her down whenever she rocks the mic. And while she is at the top of the food chain, Couture (even without battling in years) shares that top ranking. And for good reason. Couture is “the sh*t!” This was the first debatable battle of the night. Couture brought performance and aggression to the ring, while 40 brought her bars. Blow for blow, they kept up with each other. Even with 40 stumbling almost in every round, her will to get in and get dirty kept her in the fight. Moreover, her frankness and honesty were refreshing. Couture, on the other hand, was chock full of humor and originality. There was this Coming to America scheme that she did that was exceptional. From the “She’s your queen to be” serenade to the McDonald/ McDowell flip, she reminded us why she was on the BET’s cypher and Snoop’s Gladiator School.  This was a doozy… No… This was a true classic… and a perfect treat for battle rap fans. Another one that will have rewind value…  #CantCallItNow

What a way to f*ck up a night!

The last battle of the night was a one rounder with Trenton’s Nu Jerzey Twork and Harlem’s Ms. Hustle.

There was soooo much good content in this battle. But poor sportsmanship on both sides made this potentially classic battle just a frustrating soup of lyrical genius gone bad.  First up was Hustle. Boy, was everyone excited to see her. It took a minute for her to get in the stage, and while we were waiting for her, Debo took the time to let some of the QOTR top stars come through and bless the mic. Ms. Fit, Phara Funeral, Chayna Ashley, C3 and E Hart climbed through the ropes and teased the fans with the notion of seeing them all on an upcoming card.

By the time Hustle got in the ring and squared up with Twork, everyone was intoxicated off of the memory of the good old QOTR days. The first tantrum was Hustle refusing to flip the coin and insisting Twork go first. This took a while, but we did it because it is Hustle and we wanted all the stars to be aligned to get some of that magic that she is known to bestow during battles. Eventually, the coin was flipped and Twork won the choice to say who would go first. He put it on Hustle.

Hustle came out swinging and she was on fire. BARS. PERFORMANCE. DISRESPECT. JOKES. A STRAPPED IN OF HER OWN… and even some self-deprecation with a special appearance from Phara Funeral.

FIRE.

But then Twork tapped his watch to signify that the 5-minute limit was up. Hustle ignored that. She went for some props and started her next scheme. Twork noticeably bothered, started making rumblings. But Hustle was so good (or had the crowd in such a captivating state) that the audience started chanting “Let her rap, let her rap!” That was what the fans wanted. They wanted to hear the rest of her rap. After all, the lady was talking to Twork in a way we had not seen anyone do in a long time.

Still, the Goonies (Twork and his entourage) all called foul.

Twork started to threaten to leave and almost left out the ring ropes. Of course, everyone from the QOTR staff went into immediate “save the card” mode. And while bringing him back into the ring, they informed Ms. Hustle that she could not finish her rounds. After hearing this, she left the ring, the floor and then the building.

She was done.

She had not finished her round, and the crowd was in her pocket. She left, but thank goodness for SMACK’s partner Eric Beasley being around with an extra Superman cape. He swooped in like an urban superman to help persuade the first lady of URL to come back and stand before Twork. And that is all she could do.

A reignited Twork, after regaining his composure, delivered an almost hiccup-free show. There is no denying how gifted he that man is. Also, it was quite noticeable that he relied more on humor than personals to bar his opponent. Never letting up, Twork’s aggressively potent style was right up on her, barking. While he was barking, he also was nice to her. Maybe nice would have been cool for a less worthy opponent, but not Hustle.

He was supposed to kill Hustle.

While he was definitely getting at her… she lives another day and so that is a win for her.

Thoughts on this battle varied depending on who you talked to. Many believed that Twork should have just let Ms. Hustle rock and let the battle end up in a running for one of the most memorable battles in Queen of The Ring history. People suggested that her 6 or 7 minutes would have Murder Mooked the Trenton rapper. Others believed that it didn’t matter how long or short Twork’s verse was. What matter was how prepared and dope HE was. The other thought was that Hustle should have adhered to the 5-minute rule and that Twork had every right to flip on the staff for letting her behave like this on the stage. Twork even was heard saying “This is not professional,” which is a nod to the Goonies emcee’s attempt to being more professional himself.

Neither one of them considered the bigger picture. Both rappers messed up what was shaping up to be a classic. Key to being a star is having a vision for the platform that is allowing you to shine. If either of them would have respected the vision of what Debo, Babs, and Vague were doing, the battle would have turned out 10Xs better and would not have put the small damper on what was an exquisite night of rap culture.

We look forward to the YouTube version of this. Hopefully, it is edited in a way where you can see these very skilled emcees wreck shop and then the analysis of the battle would be more fair.

Watch the Throne 3 did not disappoint and is another reason why this lane that QOTR has carved out, simply can’t be replaced.