This match pits the guy many consider the best writer in the game, Loaded Lux, against the guy most were calling the all-around G.O.A.T. earlier this year, Charlie Clips. Not long ago, it would have been easy to think of this battle as deciding the King of New York. Now, it can’t be said to crown even the King of Harlem (due to Murda Mook’s incumbency), but it’s still absolutely massive. Although this match-up would have seen the two emcees at their peak some time ago, it now finds them at their most determined to win.
There’s a conveniently clear consensus here to serve as a backdrop: Lux lost to Mook, and Clips lost to Hollow Da Don. Clips has done smaller battles in the interim, but both emcees are coming off clear losses for all intents and purposes. To be fair, Lux’s loss to Mook on "Total Slaughter" was relatively colossal. The un-seasoned crowd definitely played a part, but let’s face it — Beloved was looking bad up there. Still, although Clips’ loss took a bit longer to settle in, the ramifications for him have also been severe. He’s been scorned for perceived lack of interest, abruptly removed from Top 5 lists, and ironically hailed as the master of excuses.
Under these circumstances, it’s not difficult to see why both battlers need the W, but there’s still a significant distinction. While we have no idea how Lux will tweak what definitely didn’t work at "Total Slaughter," we’ve already seen Clips work to correct his shortcomings. Versus both Pass and Ah Di Boom, he made great use of energy and seemed far from disinterested. He arguably lost both, and the Boom battle has yet to drop, but his Pass performance is still considered a marked improvement. Aside from that evidence, he has repeatedly assured his fans that he is officially “done playing.” He needed to be done playing before he battled Hollow, but he probably knows that now.
Although on a longer hiatus, Lux has given us some indication of his approach. In the SM5 trailer, he reminds Clips that he’ll have to “rap … for all three rounds.” In fact, Lux sticks to that subject for the entirety of his portion of the video, making it seem like that might be his sole M.O. He’s been known to allow gimmicks to accompany his written material, but he’d be wise to recognize that that’s not currently what the fans are looking for from him. They’ll probably accept nothing less than flawless, no-nonsense performances on either side, which brings us to each emcee’s merits.
This clash is fascinating in that each battler has strengths that his opponent simply can't match. Just as there is no way Clips’ material will be as complex or sophisticated as Lux’s, there’s virtually no chance of Lux being able to joke, project his bars, or control the crowd as well as Clips. So, what’s really more important? Part of Lux’s lyrical prowess is in his use of angles, and that might be enough to tip the scales.
Sure, Clips has used angles to great success before as well (see his X Factor battle). But can he claim to have reached the heights of, “Your daddy wasn’t no gangster ... He was just another lost nigga?” Absolutely not. Simply put, Lux will probably come with something resembling a dissertation, one massive takedown of Mr. Charismatic. There’s so much to expound upon that Clips’ talking points — “You lost to Mook, you preach too much, etc.” — seem meager in comparison.
In a sense, one more bad loss could reduce either emcee to something of a tragic figure. The battle just might come down to who can make a better case for why his opponent deserves that status. Even given the complications to both battlers’ legacies, this will be a fateful moment.
Even with an undercard that seems “light” to many fans compared to past Summer Madness events, this match-up remains an enormous draw, and the urgency on either side raises a number of questions. Will Lux be able to present his material in all its complex glory and still play to the crowd? Probably. Will Clips be fully prepared and enthusiastic for all three rounds? He’d be crazy not to be.
At the end of the day, I think what Lux has going for him will weigh more in the ring. Clips will be polished, but sports references and other setup/punch formulations won’t have the same impact next to a meticulous character breakdown. Clips will undoubtedly push himself to come at Lux with angles as well, but I don’t see him pulling it off in the same way. Beloved 2-1.
We'll be in the building with live coverage for this one so make sure you check the site this weekend. There's also a live PPV of the event.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.