Cortez went from Fight Club to the TV screen as a battle rapper. But this won’t be the last of him

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Total Slaughter is approaching quickly and we’ve already seen some upsets. One of them was the elimination of Brooklyn’s own Cortez. The long-time battle rapper took the L in the first episode of the Road to Total Slaughter. After T-Rex destroyed his freestyle, Cortez tried to keep up but didn’t pull through, leading to his elimination.

This past week, Cortez sat down with WatchLOUD for a live Google Hangout to answer questions from the fans. He addressed the first episode, how he felt about being kicked off the show and his experiences in the house with the rest of the contestants. He also spoke on his plans for the future and who he would like to collaborate with. Check out what fans had to ask Cortez.


How did you feel about being put on the spot?

I felt like yea, it’s a curve ball. It’s like you know what, I know he’s a threat, I know he can get crazy. Plus, you might look at it also like you know there’s some history there. He might have wanted to just get it off his chest like before this dude is ready for me, I’m going to try and get him out of the house faster. He went out for the killer and he called me. He knew that it was his chance to get me. I can’t even be mad at that because I don’t know if I would have done the same thing too. Just to keep it real.

What impact has the show had on your life and career so far?

I mean, my price went up. But besides that, the love I’ve been getting. People have been calling me up like “Yo I saw you on television, this is crazy.” At the end of the day, I feel like what I’m doing and what I’m branding and what I’m pushing out there is getting seen and getting recognized. You can’t complain about that. I’m just humbled. The show has helped me take off and branch out and meet more people so that I can do more for my career.

With your loss to T-Rex, do you feel like you still have a score to settle with him?

Yeah, hell yeah. It ain’t over. People get all caught up into it. But that’s just one episode. I go off after this. To me, episode one could have been the worse one for me and I don’t think it was a bad episode for me at all. People will sit there and say “Rex Tried to set you up” and that’s cool. But I know from here on out in every other episode I go off. At the end of the day, the cream of the crop is going to rise to the top. I’m not worried.

Who do you got between Math and Diz for their rematch?

Hoffa. He’s got a lot to worry about. It seems like people are always trying to push him out or to the side. But then he gets certain things like this like Total Slaughter. I don’t think he’ll let Dizaster try and put him away. It’s better when we have all the chips against you. I battled Dizaster in L.A. so I know how it feels to have all the chips against you. It brings out the best in the best. Math is one of the best so I see him getting crazy. I see Diz going off but I don’t see Math losing.

Do you feel like you were set up by Mook?

Everyone keeps saying that. If he did set me up then it’s a smart thing. It ain’t like we got a loyalty to each other. We got a business relationship so I can’t be too mad. But at the end of the day, Rex got to pick who he wanted to pick. If they sat there and said, “We’re going to pick Cortez” then ok you got one strike on me. But it’s not going to last for long; I won’t go out quietly and they know that.

Who’s bed did Daylyt jump on naked?

Big T’s bed. He violated Big T’s bed. And he didn’t even know until he saw the show.

How did your impression of the guys change after living with them for a week?

Well, me and Math are cool. People know that. Me and Diz got mad cool. Me and Verb got mad cool. It’s weird who you see yourself gravitated towards. Me and Verb, we about the bitches. We about getting’ money. We laugh because we think so alike. N*ggas be talking about battle rap all night but me and verb are just like “yo, where the bitches at?” But I respect everybody in the house for what we did because we knew it was a bigger goal to achieve and that’s what we trying to do.

Do you think that written format is part of battling’s progression or do you feel like freestyling rules over written?

I don’t feel like written can stop the progression because I think the writing format advanced it. I think when people were just freestyling and rapping about silly shit like even when it’s the dozens like cracking on your mom you know? It kept it limited to certain subject matter and we took it and people started writing and constructing verses and painting a picture. Now it’s like something else. I feel like the written format helped it expand but I still think you need that other element in there. If you watch any battle and someone freestyles, you may not see it on the camera but you see the whole building going crazy, it’s an experience.

What was your initial drive for doing this? What was your inspiration?

For becoming a battle rapper, it was just crazy but it wasn’t in my lane. A lot of people know I was into the music heavy. I had deals before I was doing certain things. Me going into Fight club in that era, even having my name, no one knew I was Spanish. People thought I was black. Yo they were like this kid Cortez from Brooklyn is nice. So by the time my name got up and I was advancing it was just a wave. Everything started hitting all the sites, people start talking about battle rap and I’m in the middle of the conversation. I was like “Whoa, gotta take advantage of this”. There are certain people who look at it and are scared to jump for something that they fought so hard for. People like security. I said fuck it, I let my job go, I let everything go. I did everything I had to do to brand myself and push myself in the direction I wanted to go. Battle rap just kept me motivated.

Do you feel battle rapping has the potential to become mainstream?

I think we finally getting the chance and I think we finally getting the right looks for this type of setting. The great thing about it is the right people are getting on that stage to represent it. The right battle rappers that are getting to the next level, those are making moves, that have the talent and have characters about them. We all understand that we have to push in this direction now or never. With the exposure that we’re getting, mainstream people, we’re their entertainment. I know plenty of platinum artists who watch us when they’re bored. They say “we watch you when we need inspiration”. Just that alone lets me know that we’re keeping this art form alive and it’s a great thing.

How do you think Budden will crossover? He’s a good rapper but his voice is too grainy.

Budden is my man. He’s going to throw punches, he’s going to have punchlines, and that’s great. But is he going to have the show? I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s going to be able to be there and move around and turn his hat and have the crowd, I don’t know against Hollow Da Don. If you don’t know how to box, you shouldn’t get into the ring. It’s different when Hollow’s going to freestyle. He’s got a lot to talk about that no one’s talked about before. Joe Budden’s whole career is viable. It could get ugly.

So Budden or Hollow?

Hollow. I’ll give Budden props and say 2-1 just because I think he got it in him.

Now that your out of the competition, what’s next? What do you got coming up?

I got a few battles coming up. I’m already wrapping up the album this week, Flea Ma$on Project. We got the first single shot with Jayd Ink called “For The Fame” in Toronto. I’m just working bro, getting placements, writing, doing what I gotta do musically and just grinding. My motto is “No Days Off” and that’s what I’m on.

Tony Centeno (@_tonyMC)