The card was fire.

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There were few (if any battles) without replay value and more debatables at the event than anyone would have expected.

First of all, there were three clear wins: Swamp vs. Ace Amin, Tsu Surf vs. Reed Dollaz and DNA vs. Aye Verb. There also were three debatables: Geechi Gotti vs. O-Red, Chess vs. Arsonal da Rebel and Rum Nitty vs. Chilla Jones.


Recapping the battles is not as important as stating why this art form is possibly the most exciting sporting activity of the decade (that is for the Hip-Hop lover). This is not hyperbole and these lyrical athletes are comparable to the extraordinary talent of the NBA, the exhilarating sportsmanship of the NFL and as volatile as any boxing match that HBO or Payperview offers.

But some sort of recap is in order.

Swamp embodies the spirit of NFL rookie and Dallas Cowboy Tony Pollard. No one expected him to take this space by storm… no one expected Swamp to trump buzz heavy Goonies new barker Ace Amin. But he did… he step onto this mainstage and showed his ass. Moreover, he showed everyone that he is ready to be one of those included in the top tier conversation. While we don’t dub people to swiftly, this performance puts him on the way.

Tsu Surf said it in his round. He is electric and you can feel it when you stand in front of him. Reed felt it. It made him shiver. It made him stumble. And as Reed tries to not say it was Surf, something made him drop his bars for a minute… But even without the flub… Surf was able to take the big stage performance and cram it into that small space and opportunity. The word for the performance is beautiful, even if it was not flawless. Reed did well, but not good enough.

DNA went to the island and planted his flag.

“But that is what islands are for; they are places where different destinies can meet and intersect in the full isolation of time.”
―Lawrence Durrell, Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

And Verb has said it often… he is on the island… isolated. His destiny, as a warrior, was indeed to injure battle rap gods. In tonight’s contest, he felt the power of a lyrical clinician and wizard that shifted the narrative that has been the conversation of the last year and a half. DNA was the A-bomb to Aye Verb’s Hiroshima. DNA was Maria to Aye Verb’s Puerto Rico. DNA, with all the cornball jokes around him… with all of the acid that people throw his way regarding his swag…, was the Bermuda Triangle that swallowed up Aye Verb’s Atlantis… which was evident by the lack of bang-bang that Verb got with his legendary “Showtime.”

Aye Verb remains one of the most gifted talents in the industry… tonight… DNA proved that being a lyrical miracle and a cold personality is not always enough to win the battles. Battles are won by being the person that the crowd or observer wants to be… tonight… folk wanted to be DNA.

The debatables were all classic opportunities for these elite artists to push their craft. They all need to be rewatched. Goodness… they were all just so damn good and talented.

Volume 5 (day 1 is over) and this was a day well spent.