While SMACK/URL put on one of the most successful battle rap events of the year on Sunday (Sept. 28), with the fourth edition of their flagship “Summer Madness” event in New York, Atlanta-based league MC WAR had a series of problems with their “New World Order II” card that was set to feature a battle between industry rappers Keith Murray and Fredro Starr.
According to our source in the building, the event only drew about 200 people and started late. By 1:15 a.m., only one undercard battle had happened.
RapGrid was at the event and tweeted the following picture of the venue:
They also interviewed Keith Murray after the battle was cancelled:
After the news broke that the headlining match-ups were no longer taking place, including Fredro Starr vs. Keith Murray, Bone Crusher vs. Mike Jones and Ness Lee vs. Syah Boy, the battlers took to Twitter to voice their frustrations regarding the cancellation. From their tweets, it seems that MC WAR didn’t have the funds to pay them to perform.
#jankypromoters the battle didnt go down. i was there ready 2 go!!— Fredro Starr (@Fredro_Starr) September 29, 2014
So I'm at this battle and the promoter didn't come with the money for us and he did some slick shit and shut it down MC WAR fucked up— KEITH MURRAY (@KEITHMURRAYRAP) September 29, 2014
It's a sad night for hip hop Mc WAR didn't pay us and the battle didn't take place I worked hard for this and they jerked up— KEITH MURRAY (@KEITHMURRAYRAP) September 29, 2014
Business 101! No Money No Show!! This is a Business @ The End of the Day! I do this for Funds Not Fun! I Love What I Do But Business 1st 💵🚉— WHO? MIKE JONES (@Mr_Mike_Jones) September 29, 2014
BattleRap.com caught up with MC WAR’s Chief Operating Officer Saqar to get his opinions on what happened and what’s next for the league.
“The big acts, Bone Crusher/Mike Jones, Keith Murray and Fredro Starr, they are all willing and committed to actually execute the event at a later date,” Saqar explains. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to get up the balance that was owed to them to perform last night. What we wanna do for the public is, of course, anyone that paid for tickets is comp them because we are gonna record it. We want that to be known. It’s definitely gonna happen. What did get recorded last night was really dope. We got three out of the six [battles] done. E Ness vs. Sy Ari Da Kid was done, it was hot. Lotta Zay vs. Reggie P was done and so was Syd Vicious vs. So Severe. We’re gonna make good. We don’t have a date yet because right now I have to put the money in the guys' hands to complete everything but we do have a commitment from them that when that’s done — so they haven’t said, ‘Okay, we’re just gonna wash the deposit and the event is over,’ because they’re committed, they wanna do it. Everybody wants the battle to take place but they want us to make sure that we make right on our business side of it before it gets shot, so that’s what we have to do. It’s gonna take us between one and two weeks to be able to make those things complete. We’ll most likely shoot Bone Crusher and Mike Jones first ‘cause they’re right here in Atlanta and then after that we’ll knock down Fredro Starr and Keith Murray.”
The battle rap community was quick to respond to the news of the cancelled match-ups with various other leagues showing interest in getting the battles to appear on their card. Dizaster mentioned the possibility of featuring the Fredro Starr vs. Keith Murray bout on Fresh Coast/FilmOn’s “Ether” event in December, that’s elsewhere housing the Dizaster vs. Cassidy match-up.
@KEITHMURRAYRAP fuck mc war big homie come fuck with us out west same company putting me vs cassidy together we respect u bro— DIZASTER (@MRDIZASTER) September 29, 2014
Alongside Dizaster, New Jersey battler Arsonal spoke on the possibility of locking the same battle down on UDubb Network.
Discussing his confidence about the battles still going down on an MC WAR card, Saqar admitted he was unsure, as he understands the battlers are upset and may be tempted to take the money from the other leagues.
“I can’t say that because it depends on how those guys feel. I know they’re upset so they might take that,” Saqar says. “All I can say is we’re gonna come back to the table again. Next time we know what to do right. We did some things right, we definitely did some things right and obviously we did some things wrong. So if some other league comes up off of it, cool. But you definitely haven’t heard the last of MC WAR.”
Discussing the revenue generated from the event, Saqar explains that a lack of ticket sales and sponsorship money not getting to them on time were just some of the reasons why the league made no money from the event.
“The ticket sales really did nothing really. The ticket sales were very light. It could be our brand, you know? The fact that we do it over beats, it could be that. [But] we’re not gonna stop doing that … Most of the people that were there were given free tickets and there was a lot of media … We also did have some sponsors involved and what they had allocated to the event didn’t get to us on time. It’s like everything that could have went wrong, did go wrong. What we should have done is we should have pushed it back. That’s basically what it is.”
“Unfortunately we’ve made a lot of mistakes in business,” Saqar continues. “We got a lot of good ideas but we got a lot of work as far as our infrastructure goes. We’re doing something different, and when you do something different sometimes it’s a little harder than the people who are just emulating what’s going on … At the end of the day we don’t have ill intent. It’s not like we made a million dollars [or] a $100,000, we didn’t make no money. We spent out almost a $100,000. We had the ad in the XXL magazine. All of the [battlers] had their deposits."
Finally, Saqar says that if the battle rap community wasn’t “shittin’” on the event, they may have sold more tickets.
“I hate that the people that did really wanna see it were disappointed. It’s funny that the people who were shittin’ on it are mad it ain’t happen [laughs]. Why you mad it ain’t happen? You were shittin’ on it!
“Y’all were shittin’ on legends. We wanna put bread in these dudes' hands and put their names back in the spotlight. Nobody [else] was thinking about doing that for them. The community was shittin’ on them like they haven’t done anything good. If they had supported it, guess what? We might have sold some tickets, it could have been a success,” Saqar continues. “Like I said, we’re gonna do our best to execute the event with them although we know there’s some guys that may just jump out and pay them and are probably able to pay them and if that happens, cool. We got more. We got other artists. We got more guys that have accomplishments that are committed to come in. We know what to do next time: pay everybody upfront. We definitely ain’t done. I want that to be known. We definitely ain’t done.”