In an innovative move, RBE just put together the first ever major card pitting two battle rap crews against each other. Team Homi (repped by Mackk Myron, J Murda, Xcel, Money Bagz and Swave Sevah) and Writers Bloque (repped by Ooops, JC, Big Kannon, B Magic and Danny Myers) faced off at a strip club in Queens, with Team Homi taking three of the five judged battles.
The vibe of the event was just as it should have been: competitive. It was tied 2-2 before the main event, and there were great performances on either side throughout the night. RBE showed that, as more and more battle rap crews pop up, it might make sense to make them battle it out.
Here are the standouts from the event.
Battles Of The Night
J Murda vs. JC
This battle was clearly 1-1 going into Round 3, and the decision understandably upset about 50% of the room.
JC was punching and scheming like crazy as always, but J Murda was in prime form. He seemed completely comfortable, and his aggression worked perfectly against JC's more restrained style. He had heat in every round, but he managed to clearly take Round 2 with energy and back to back punches. Simply put, this was probably his best performance yet.
Although JC clearly won Round 1, the crowd had started to sleep on him by the time Round 3 rolled around. In the building, it seemed like there was no way Murda wouldn't get the judges' decision, but it also seemed pretty obvious that JC's third would look great — better than Murda's, maybe — on camera. The judges must have thought that too, as JC won on a 2-1 decision.
This could easily have gone in the "debatable" category, considering the simultaneous cheering and heckling that occurred directly after the judges announced the winner.
Big Kannon vs. Xcel
Here's a battle that will undoubtedly have replay value once it drops. In the weeks after it was announced, it actually became a grudge match as a result of Big Kannon and Xcel trading shots over Twitter and in blogs (with a little help from Angry Fan). The end result was a unanimous decision in Kannon's favor, but you'd be dead wrong to say Xcel was slacking.
Xcel hit a rough patch last year where he was stumbling in a lot of his higher profile battles, but he's been comfortably beyond that for a while now. He's been sharp in his last several performances, and there will be a lot more to catch than the Queens crowd realized when this drops. As usual, he did a phenomenal job of breaking Kannon down with bars and wordplay, doing enough to win Round 2.
When Kannon is in a certain zone he's incredibly dangerous. It just didn't matter how many punches Xcel landed that night; Kannon was going to land just as many and be a lot more animated doing it. Throw in some (extremely) well-placed freestyles, and you have a near untouchable performance. Oh, and he's still arguably the best name flipper out.
Performance Of The Night: Money Bagz
Just about everyone in attendance (read: people who really know battle rap) knew that Money Bagz was going to black out on B Magic. It was largely a matter of how prepared Magic was. Magic's performance was solid despite a couple stumbles, but Bagz snapped in every round and had the crowd chanting "3-0" by Round 3.
Any day of the week, it means a lot to out-punch Magic. Bagz has actually been punching back to back for years, and his relentless style is finally getting him the attention he deserves.
His best moment had to be in Round 3 where, after already amassing a ton of reaction, he looked to the heavens to ask fallen Team Homi member PH, "YOU SEE ME COOKING THIS MOTHERFUCKER?!"
After the event, RBE staff member Lawrence assured me that J Murda and Money Bagz were "next up." Can't argue with that. The game needs more Money Bagz.
Bodybag Of The Night: Mackk Myron over Ooops
Saturday was not Ooops' night. He stumbled through most of his material and opened himself up to a clear loss at the hands of Pontiac emcee Mackk Myron, who brought solid aggression and a performance that hit perfectly as the event's first battle.
Debatable Of The Night: Danny Myers vs. Swave Sevah
Ah yes, the age old question: can you win a battle with one bodybag round? Depending on how you judge Round 2, the answer to that question could be critical to deciding a winner.
As was clear in his recent Charlie Clips battle, Danny seems pretty unwilling to change his bar-heavy approach, even for angle-heavy opponents. He was punching at Swave from the gate, moving on as quickly as possible without caring how the crowd reacted, and it did a lot for him in the first two rounds. In Round 3, he really started talking — "You're respected in battle rap, but not as a battle rapper" — but it might have been the wrong round to do it in.
I say that to say this: Swave's third round was almost all angles, and it was a body. Danny made the mistake of once again declaring himself the "King of Harlem" in Round 3, and Swave capitalized on it with full-on rage. "HOW DARE YOU?!" he shouted throughout his round, while casually dropping haymakers on numerous facets of Danny's character and personal life.
As Jaz The Rapper (the one judge who voted for Danny) noted, there's a strong argument that Danny won Rounds 1 and 2. Swave choked pretty severely in the very beginning of his first, and Round 2 was close, but many were saying Danny 2-0 before Round 3.
So it goes. Look out for this one and decide for yourself.
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