Dumbfoundead’s return was a huge deal for many fans at “Blackout 5.” Ahead of his announcement on the BO5 card on Christmas Day last year, Organik even touted that the trailer would “break the Internet.” (Pro tip: it didn’t.) Still, Dumb was undoubtedly one of the major players in a cappella battling’s crucial Grind Time era, and his battle with Tantrum is one of the first ever to hit that highly esteemed million-view mark.
Conceited vs. Dumbfoundead is a battle that, like The Saurus vs. Arsonal at “Ether,” would not have looked out of place at a classic event like “Battle of the Bay 5,” and its position as a highlight of what may turn out to be one of the most fulfilling cards in the new era is both completely unsurprising and a hefty relief.
Conceited is a battler who has seen some considerable mainstream success of late through MTV’s “Wild ’N Out,” but also seems to have held on to his integrity at the top of many of the bigger cards in the biggest year for the culture.
Confoundead, as I am now calling it (and which sounds far better than Con/Dumb), was booked with entertainment (and perhaps YouTube views) in mind. Conceited switched off the aggression and slowed down a little on the Slow-It-Downs to meet Dumbfoundead in the middle for amusing asides and old-school race jokes. Dumbfoundead brought his patented breed of delivery; a perfect fusion of silver-tongued humor and efficient multis. The dynamic lent itself to a relaxed, fun back-and-forth between the emcees. It felt like we were watching a classic battle that had already happened, and the stylistic trappings of each performer were at once nostalgic and refreshingly different.
This was not Cassidy vs. Dizaster nostalgic. Because it actually happened in full at the event it was supposed to, this was not handheld camera in a garage territory, and the writing was incisive and developed enough to stand with any battle in circulation right now. Dumbfoundead was the first battler I ever watched (against PH) and the laid-back, inventive use of humor is what first attracted me to the form. Five years on, he has lost none of his edge — it’s the kind of edge, that appearance of ease, that may actually be enhanced with an extended hiatus like Dumb’s.
Even though there was a need for the returning veteran to re-establish himself, I actually feel that Conceited deserves credit for being the one who stepped out of his comfort zone. It felt more like the knockabout style he puts to hilarious use on Nick Cannon’s show, and although this approach is one he is becoming increasingly comfortable with, his forte is his dense wordplay and the variety of ways he can threaten to shoot someone. Rarely do the two worlds meet.
Dumbfoundead has evolved very little stylistically, but in terms of writing he has kept up with the longer rhyme schemes and more complex ideas that are no longer a way to stand out in battling but simply a requirement. In bringing Conceited into his domain, he ensured that his opponent’s swagger and bravado meant virtually nothing. Dumbfoundead’s whole demeanour has been drenched in humor for years, and Con simply did not deliver funny material with as much nuance and experience as a result. Plus, some of Con’s race jokes were pretty played out, as race jokes go.
Ultimately, like the classic Grind Time match-ups that went to OT for no reason other than the battle’s energy and quality, this was simply a treat for the fans. Dumbfoundead’s only flaw was a slightly fumbled rebuttal, and he effortlessly won the clash for me. Ultimately though, everyone wins, from the emcees, to the league, to the viewers, and likely will again should Dumbfoundead decide to do a follow-up battle.
What did you think of the clash? Who would you like to see Dumb clown on next? Let us know in the comments section below.