The match-up that took almost two years to put together happened last night, and, judging by the feedback from the battle rap community, maybe shouldn't have.
The long-awaited battle between industry artists Keith Murray (Def Squad) and Fredro Starr (Onyx) went down last night in Brookyln, N.Y. after falling apart very publicly in September 2014.
The event drew a crowd of about 300 people, including VIPs like Peter Gunz, Beasley, Charlie Clips, DNA, K-Shine, Math Hoffa, OD, Iron Solomon and Goodz. Murda Mook and Loaded Lux hosted the headliner, although they were really only on the mic briefly.
Several warm-up acts and an undercard battle didn't do much to move the live crowd and were thoroughly mocked by the online audience, and though it was meant to begin at "11:00 p.m. sharp," the headline battle finally got underway around 1:30 a.m.
Murray ran his opening bars back three times and used a rastacap with fake dreadlocks attached to it as a prop, and at times got physical with pretty much anyone who was within shoving distance of him.
Starr was far more composed, coming with well-memorized material that he spat aggressively, sometimes past the MC WAR staff members who were struggling to keep the two emcees away from each other.
Despite the physicality, the battle ended with the two emcees hugging before quickly leaving the stage.
BattleRap.com contributor Frankie Piff was in the building to witness the event first-hand.
I think people are taking the battle way too serious. There are some hilarious quotables ... even though they were dead serious. The weirdest part was that 85% of the crowd was over 40 and reacting to shit no fan of this era would. Two fights almost broke out outside, one involving Jack Thriller and then two more inside. Security felt like you were boarding a plane. You got patted down by two sets of bouncers and everyone had to take their shoes off.
There was also constant commentary from the peanut gallery watching the (admittedly high-quality) free livestream from home. Twitter users and YouTube commenters didn't hold back at all. Here are some reactions to the main event.
Wtf am I watching??? Smh— Da Don 💪🏾 (@JohnJohnDaDon) October 5, 2015
Yo KEITH MURRAY IS OUT OF HIIS FUCKINGG MINDDDDD 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂— Rillshet (@JustCaustic) October 5, 2015
I'm feeling slightly ashamed that I bought Keith Murray's Def Jam album back in 2003.— H.B.Y. (@iamHBY) October 5, 2015
Reading these updates better than watching the stream I got tacos to eat— RUIN YOUR DAY (@AvocadoIsGod) October 5, 2015
Yo @MATHHOFFA push Keith off stage b— Dre (@3letterman) October 5, 2015
SON IF I WASNT SICK I WAS GONNA GO TO THIS EVENT— Frosty the Dope Man (@CashisClayFNF) October 5, 2015
NEVER BEEN MORE HAPPY TO HAVE THE FLU IN MY LIFE LOL— Frosty the Dope Man (@CashisClayFNF) October 5, 2015
They Booing Keith Murray man smh— QueenzFlip (@QueenzFlip) October 5, 2015
Keith Murray the new DMX— ☣☣NoMercyTV.com☣☣ (@NoMercyHarlem) October 5, 2015
R.I.P. Keith Murray. I'm going to go cry myself to sleep now.— Ryan O'Leary (@superhater) October 5, 2015
Whoo that Keith Murray N Fredro Star battle 🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮— Iceberg Nerd (@IcebergNerd) October 5, 2015
Keith Murray vs Eli Porter or 50 Tyson would be fire— ☣☣NoMercyTV.com☣☣ (@NoMercyHarlem) October 5, 2015
KIETH MURRAY IS ON ANGEL DUST WORST BATTLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT ON MY LIFE DAT SHIT WAS HORRIBLE SMH BAD FOR THE CULTURE VERY BAD— Arsonal (@ARSONALDAREBEL) October 5, 2015
Not all reaction to the battle was negative though, with several commentators praising the quality of the stream, Fredro's performance, and the sheer entertainment value of the whole event.
I don't care what anybody say that nigga Fredro had BARS.— Mook. (@MurdaMookez) October 5, 2015
If you weren't a 90's hip hop head, you wouldn't get all the references and gems in that battle last night by the way lmao..— Bishop Brigante (@BishopBrigante) October 5, 2015
Of course the new generation of battle rap didn't like it. Cause y'all expected them to battle like y'all do. But THAT would've been wack...— Bishop Brigante (@BishopBrigante) October 5, 2015
Any battle in 2015 without bars about the Martin show or a 2 minute scheme of robin Williams movies is good in my book— the kid (@efarrell_) October 5, 2015
I am entertained— Organik - KOTDTV.com (@OrganikHipHop) October 5, 2015
BattleRap.com contributor Jason "Majin" Dotts also posted his thoughts to his personal blog:
Allow me to provide the short version for y’all…Keith Murray got his ass beat SO bad that he went back to being unselectable on my copy of def jam vendetta. Nigga was a shadow in a box I couldn’t select b. Had to unlock him again and as soon as the announcer said fight, keith Murray dropped and the term k.o. Adorned my screen…and I had to unlock the nigga AGAIN.
Read more of that piece here.
ThatShitIsHotSunLive caught up with Murda Mook after the battle, who gave both emcees kudos for stepping in the ring:
And, just as a reminder, here's some music from these guys:
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.