URL's "A Perfect Day To Die" mostly lived up to the modest expectations fans had set for it, with a comfortable crowd of diehard fans filling New York's Gramercy Theatre on Dec. 12 to take in the five battles. Anyone expecting fireworks from the NWX vs. Dot Mobb feud that has been brewing over the last few weeks most likely left disappointed, although at one point the fire alarm did go off, forcing the evacuation of everyone from the venue.
That said, the Proving Grounds event the next day was absolute fire and produced some of league's best battles of 2015. Full recap is up now.
Performance of the Night: Brizz Rawsteen
If you’ve tracked Brizz Rawsteen’s trajectory from Aye Verb to Tay Roc, it probably doesn’t surprise you that he was in top form for his third main stage performance, where he hit a similar stride to his best work in the PGs. “This dude is a psychopath,” said a nearby fan during Brizz’s second round against DNA, and that’s an accurate description based on this performance.
About halfway through his first round, it became clear that Brizz had massively improved his main stage delivery and was about to shake the building. As always, his borderline-horrorcore bars were entertaining, but his refined, gut-wrenching delivery and projection brought it all together. He then proceeded to destroy the room in Rounds 2 and 3, even soldiering through the crowd’s distaste for his “you’re gay” angle early in Round 2.
In his Verb battle, one of Brizz’s glaring mistakes was the weakness of the angles he took. Not the case here. With the exception of the very beginning of Round 2, Brizz was talking to DNA, and it was extremely effective amidst the chaos and gore of the rest of his material. He mixed comedy in perfectly too, and most of his jokes for DNA were fresh and landed hard.
By now, Brizz has found a way to make an off-kilter flow, disgusting imagery, and cruel personals pop on the big stage, and it’s probably safe to call him a new URL staple.
Battle of the Night: DNA vs. Brizz Rawsteen
Since I just spent three paragraphs singing Brizz Rawsteen’s praises, I’ll try to make this quick, but don’t get it twisted — DNA snapped too. Most fans called this Brizz 2-1, but an interruption that forced DNA to deliver his third round in two separate pieces (more on that below) definitely complicated things. Overall, this was a hugely energetic clash, featuring Brizz’s psychotic aggression and DNA’s faster, more dynamic flow that he’s developed over the last year.
Brizz went first and delivered a strong Round 1, foreshadowing his destruction of the building, but DNA pretty thoroughly outclassed him in that round. He had about four times the punches, setting them up so they’d hit basically every bar, and that proved to be a successful foil for Brizz’s style.
Round 2, though, is where things really got interesting. As you now know, Brizz went into spaz mode, but DNA answered with a freestyle-only second round, even asking the crowd for suggestions of words to build rhyme schemes around. This was impressive of course, even more so since it was in front of the historically impatient URL crowd, but Brizz took the second.
It will be interesting to see how URL edits the third round, because it will probably look like there was a huge energy drop-off about a third of the way through DNA’s round. Brizz delivered his third very similarly to his second, so the pressure on DNA was high. Not long after he started what looked to be a promising third, everyone was forced out of the building after a fire alarm went off, only to return about forty minutes later to watch the last few minutes of his round. Even with the compromised third, this battle will look great on camera.
It’s also worth mentioning that both Chilla Jones vs. Th3 Saga and Tay Roc vs. John John Da Don were competitive battles that should translate well on camera.
Bodybag of the Night: Cortez over Uno Lavoz
Despite Uno Lavoz gunning for Cortez for what seemed like years and undoubtedly sitting on material, most URL fans gave him no chance against Cor ahead of the battle. They were right. Personally, I was certain that Uno would deliver his cleanest performance to date and effectively clown Cor (who only had a week to prepare), but the utter shakiness of his delivery prevented him from doing anything close.
Cor was in his bag here and couldn’t have looked more comfortable. As usual, Cor had a ton of solid wordplay, but that’s not ultimately what killed Uno. It was more the ease with which Cor delivered his rounds, casually flipping between calm, matter-of-fact character judgments and aggressive punchlines and wordplay. He was there to thoroughly shame Uno — like when he threw photos from a battle of Uno in blackface out to the crowd — and it seemed to have a devastating effect.
While Uno’s style might have worked on URL against Jae Laww and Young X, Cor went first and created an atmosphere that wouldn’t tolerate stumbles and unevenness. With the exception of a brief moment in Round 3 where Cor paused and did a quick freestyle ending with, “now I’m choking like this nigga” before getting right back into his bars, his performance was flawless alongside Uno’s chokey, disconnected display. If it seems like I’m being too harsh, check the footage when it drops. Ahhhhh, who am I kidding? It’s probably already in the vault.
Uno vowed to retire if 3-0’d, but doesn't seem to be honoring that promise.
Round of the Night: Chilla Jones – Round 3
Many, if not most, fans expected Chilla to smoke Saga just like he did Prep, and that didn’t happen. After Chilla's just-pretty-good Round 1, Saga blacked out on him, covering way more ground with a fair amount more energy. This seemed to cause Chilla to heat up throughout the battle, debatably taking Round 2 and clearly taking Round 3.
In the building, Chilla’s third was by far the most memorable round of the night. As you’ve probably heard, footage of Saga admitting to previously being addicted to pornography recently made the rounds, and Chilla made diabolically good use of that information. He had the crowd in hysterics with easily his funniest material to date, declaring that Saga gave “a whole new meaning to Palm Sunday” and even mirroring O-Red's cookie antic against Big Kannon (and Big T) by putting a Playboy magazine on stage and telling the crowd to “count how many times he looks at that pussy.” It’s hard to say how well this round will translate to footage, but live, it was something to see.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Clips — Round 3
Charlie Clips’ third round for Shotgun Suge — that drew parallels between Suge and Shaquille O'Neal (because he supports Suge) — was a close second for round of the night. It was vintage Clips, which is exactly what he needed to bring after a terrible first round that got next-to-no reaction and had people tweeting like this:
Yo Clips is terrible b...— Mr. Carter (@DanjaZone16) December 12, 2015
The connections he made in the third were forceful, and he was able to edge the battle 2-1 in the building.
Buzzkills of the Night
Fire Alarm During DNA vs. Brizz Rawsteen
All in all, the fire alarm that began blaring during DNA’s third round didn’t amount to a disastrous interruption, but it was definitely annoying. To be clear, it had nothing to do with URL and was seemingly the business of the venue. We were surprised to hear that it wasn't the smoking in the building that set off the alarm, but instead the opening of an unguarded emergency exit.
Anyway, after several seconds of silence (aside from the blaring) and confused faces, the venue staff began taking the stage to tell everyone to get out. It was an extraordinarily confusing moment, because the URL staff was simultaneously telling everyone not to go anywhere. In the end, every last person had to leave the venue, wait outside for the fire department to “ok” the building, get patted down again, and come back inside. It sucked most of the energy out of DNA’s third, but the whole process only took about 35 minutes, and at least it wasn’t cold.
Mic Issues Delay Charlie Clips vs. Shotgun Suge
I’m still not sure what exactly happened here, but after Suge and Clips had both finished their first rounds, around five minutes passed before they were able to begin Round 2. Suge had delivered a solid but beatable Round 1, and the crowd was somewhat disgusted by Clips’ freestyle-filled first, so the delays (seemingly caused by mic issues) were not welcomed. Like a mini-fire alarm, this drained Round 2 of a lot of its potential energy.
K-Shine vs. X Factor Canceled
After Clips vs. Suge, it was announced that K-Shine vs. X Factor would have to go down the next day at the PGs “due to circumstances beyond Shine’s control” (X was there). This didn’t bother many fans, who already planned to attend the PG event, but spoiler alert: it didn’t happen there either. It’s not clear what caused the second cancelation, but URL cited issues on both emcees’ sides. Both emcees have since blamed each other for no-showing on separate days.
All photos by Smart Alix for BattleRap.com.
Questions about the event? Post them in the comments below.