Don’t Flop’s event in Sheffield on March 5 was nothing short of brilliant, from start to finish, and arguably the best event Don’t Flop has thrown since "Sunburn 2" last summer. The consistency of quality from the bottom of the card to the top was a credit to the depth of talent that Don’t Flop has worked hard to develop over the past 12 months. Short-notice cancellations for two of the main events became a blessing in disguise as the paying fans were consoled with the return of one of DF’s best writers in Villun, and one of the all-time greatest battle rappers, Oshea.
The following article features a brief summary of each of the battles as well as some of the standout punchlines from the event.
Oshea vs. MyVerse
Drafted in to battle last minute, Oshea put on arguably the most entertaining performance of the day and exploded into the battle with obvious yet hilariously executed angles, including a bar about his son that probably belonged in the Enigma vs. Dekay battle. MyVerse seemed to have an expectedly horrified expression as she started her round, using a flip before proceeding with her usual punch-heavy approach as well as taking a shot at (her original opponent) Quill.
Osh continued to entertain from the start of his second, claiming that he’s battling Pocahontas wearing "Pat Butcher’s earrings," and persisting with extreme sexism in a manner only Osh could: "You put the whore in hormones." MyVerse’s second might have included her best bars of the battle, in which she notably called out U.K. emcee Lady Leshurr, and had some smart wordplay to break down Oshea: "Thank god for that beanie, see he got a hair line that be reaping what he sows, it’s receding [re-seeding]."
Oshea quite possibly got even better in his third round whilst MyVerse spat some questionable bars ("It’s like taking a dump in a cup, you ain’t built for this shit") and had a couple of stumbles, despite bringing some interesting wordplay — "You couldn’t please her (please, sir) or make all of her twist (Oliver Twist)."
Result: Oshea won pretty comfortably; he was just entertaining and incredibly offensive whereas MyVerse was going for a standard, indirect approach. She had a great debut on Don’t Flop with two solid performances, and should be hugely credited for taking two battles on six days prep, but unfortunately came up against two of the U.K.’s best.
Round of the battle: Oshea, Round 2
Bar of the battle: "I’m sure you’re proud of your heritage, she’s a real Dominican / But she ain’t half as real as, da mini can" – Oshea, holding a scrunched-up beer can
Unanymous vs. Cojay
Unanymous began the battle by predicting Cojay’s angles and saying that it should have been himself who battled Psychosis Holochaust. He brought a nice mixture of energy and bars, calling Cojay out for using his American heritage to progress even though it doesn’t suit him, as well as more of the kind of humor he’s brought in the past six months ("You said try me, it’s 5p / Even by Eurgh’s standards that’s quite cheap"). Cojay’s first round matched the energy of Unan’s, breaking down his personality and using some original wordplay on his name; "In the pen, bullying Tommy like Angelica."
Unan’s second continued to clown on Cojay really smartly, including a hilarious scheme about rappers who do wordplay on "rounds" such as referring to pizza as "stuffed crust rounds." He then quickly transfers to a super direct, aggressive breakdown of Cojay’s personality and his rap crew; "You’re as average as the Smack rappers you’re impersonating … so what’s good bringing Lytwork out when I’ve been circuit training."
Cojay’s second involved another highly original angle, this time addressing how Unan aggressively says "yeah" after punchlines and using this to clown on his criminal record; "When the judge asked him if he showed his boo stray hands / He was like ‘yeah’ in the courtroom like the Kool-Aid man." He took the rather played out angle about Unan’s mum, although he did have a few strong punchlines such as "He doesn’t need Akon to see his mother land lighting up."
Unan’s third followed a similarly refreshing balance in his approach to neutralize Cojay’s more direct breakdown, producing another fantastic round from both.
Result: Undoubtedly another step up for Cojay and yet another classic performance from Unanymous, but Unan seemed to just have a bit more every round. A close 3-0/2-1. He got the judges' decision on a 3-2 split decision too.
Round of the battle: Unanymous, round 2
Bar of the battle: "This is more like an inkblock test to determine whether you’re emotionally scarred / Cause they put you in front of the professional that’s holding up the card." – Unanymous
Shox the Rebel vs. Jonny Storm
Jonny brought a highly intense and aggressive approach to try and overpower Shox from the get-go ("So bring that plain work like a business trip / And I’ll clock your eye like a hypnotist"), with enough light-hearted humor to maintain a comfortable balance in his performance. Shox retaliated with the level of energy we’ve come to expect with a non-stop stream of bars from "Turn up full of yourself, chat shit for two minutes then leave like a speed dater" to "One bar can lift him up then sit him down like a seesaw."
Jonny went for a more humorous approach in his second using a combination of jokes and punchlines to expose Shox’s real life persona, for example pointing out that he has a "complicated" relationship status online and saying, "You’re a mama’s boy in church, I guess that’s your alter [altar] ego." Shox persisted with a direct and aggressive approach and began delivering his trademark violence bars as well as addressing MyVerse’s recent social media rant about Quill's no-show: "She needs to change her name to Chernobyl, cause there’s an attraction but after that fucking meltdown nobody wants to go there."
Jonny continued with his combination of comedy and punchlines yet his final round seemed to fall slightly flat in comparison, despite bringing some original wordplay ("I tend to [tender] snap bones if that’s what’s in you [sinew]").
Shox maintained the intensity of his first two rounds and continued with aggressive bars ("Leave bits of gum stuck to the desk like the teacher’s coming"), and brought a refreshing blend with comedy such as saying Jonny "did a battle that made Lexx Luthor look good."
Result: 3-0 Shox, but each round was close. Great performance from both, arguably battle of the day.
Round of the battle: Shox The Rebel, Round 2
Bar of the battle: "I came to flip words back and forth to send you to God, dog ... Anubis – Shox The Rebel
Shuffle-T vs. Heretic
Shuffle-T began the battle with a high standard of rhyming, originality and humor that he maintained throughout, calling out Heretic for copying his style ("It’s like looking in a fucking mirror … one that urbanizes you"), before going into an incredibly funny angle about Heretic’s veganism. Heretic responded with a solid round exposing Shuffle’s poor record in battling and ridiculous opponents ("You’ve beaten less rappers than you have inanimate objects"), but overall struggled to match the energy and entertainment of Shuffle’s first round.
The second round went a similar way with Shuffle-T taking one of the most creative angles in recent Don’t Flop history, using a Heretic fan he meets in a coffee shop as a mouthpiece to satirically and indirectly break Heretic down as a battler, a perfectly executed approach sticking to the same complex rhyme pattern that Shuffle observes by breaking the fourth wall to comic effect; "mate, are you aware that all of this is rhyming?."
Heretic’s second involved a typically direct approach, calling out Shuffle-T for his advertisement of ghost writing and using class as a gimmick, a well-crafted round that would usually be a winner if it hadn't of been overshadowed by an on-form Shuffle-T.
The veteran Shuffle used more of his trademark multi schemes in the third to break down Heretic’s poor stage presence ("You don’t just rap, you overact / Animated delivery – Postman Pat"), while the DF Newcomer Of The Year took a clever angle using Shuffle-T’s day-job as a window into his personality and failed career aspirations.
Result: 3-0 to Shuffle-T, possibly 2-1. Heretic was good, and the final round was close, but Shuffle-T’s first two rounds were simply unmatchable.
Round of the battle: Shuffle-T, Round 2
Bar of the battle: "Not even Lisa Simpson went to veganism / Know what rhymes with veganism? “Ooh look at me, I’m different!" – Shuffle-T
Villun vs. MyVerse
Villun displayed considerable ring rust with an extensive choke in his first round, followed by subsequent stumbles forcing him to call time early. This was followed by a strong round from MyVerse, who brought a lot of confidence and energy to her Don’t Flop debut with a string of tidy bars and wordplay such as, "If this pussy think to speak, that’s a Soliloqueef." Her second round was equally as strong and involved one of the punchlines of the day, "Your voice cracked so much even [Unan’s] mum wanted a hit."
Villun’s second round however was the best of the battle and overpowered MyVerse comfortably, flawlessly executing a breakdown of her use of her image to progress (naming her videos "sexy ass chick spits") and using a mixture of jokes, wordplay and bars with a well-articulated narrative woven through, ending with the joke, ‘This is MyVerse, going against well-hung Albino rapper spits fire."
MyVerse continued to put Villun under a lot of pressure in the final round, but once again he seemed to bring enough to edge the round in his favor; ‘I’m built for murder like the Silver Surfer, now watch me put out Jonny’s flame."
Result: 2-1 to Villun, with the U.K. rapper taking the second two rounds. However, arguably the huge choke cost Villun the battle, but on a round by round basis he edged the victory.
Round of the battle: Villun, Round 2
Bar of the battle: "If I was Storm, I wouldn’t even let that run / Yes I know, love is blind, but that does not give it breath to be deaf and dumb" - Villun
Innuendo vs. Jonny Storm
This extremely odd one-round battle seemed strangely out of place on the card yet nonetheless produced an entertaining outcome. This was a very last-minute battle and Innuendo stumbled frequently but used his humor effectively to play it off well, deploying a typically misogynistic and offensive strategy to insult Storm’s girlfriend; "Your bitch has been smashed more times than the Spanish announce table."
Jonny took a while to get going and did a lot of freestyling, including using objects in the venue, and bizarrely seemed to think that Innuendo was Rob Wilson and later changed to calling him Innuendo – it was very odd and his motive was unclear. Jonny seemed to use a lot of throwaways but put in a strong performance for a two-day-prep battle.
The battle then went in the only direction this peculiar encounter could, calamitously descending into a back-to-back freestyle match, an environment where Jonny looked comfortable.
Result: Storm had more composure and fewer chokes so probably took the battle overall.
Bar of the battle: "I’m scouse lad, I watch crime watch just to see my mates on telly / We’ll make your whole block disappear like we’re making jelly’ – Innuendo
Danny Jaqq vs. J-Red
Danny spent his first round mocking J-Red for looking like a typical stoner with ill-informed political beliefs, balancing his comic angle with some nice bars such as, "Burning bush will leave your family split, why can’t Red see?" He had some well structured and amusing angles throughout the battle, questioning how J-Red got a girl pregnant and mocking him for rhyming "Smart Alex" with "fart palace" in his tryout match.
J-Red brought his typical absurdity, a somewhat childish yet highly likeable approach that he’s become known for; "I should take your girl to my crib, finger bang her 'til she’s soaking my floors / I’ll have her squirting so much my downstairs neighbors will have to wear their coats on indoors." He seems almost like a more laid-back Pedro with his creatively insane material. J-Red might be the only battler in Don’t Flop who can within seconds go from a serious breakdown, in this case attacking Danny for his lack of humility and undeserved YouTube views, to typically ridiculous punchlines such as "I swear to God like I’m in heaven with Tourettes."
Result: Danny Jaqq looked really comfortable in this battle and produced arguably his best performance to date. J-Red, however, is almost impossible to beat. He was just more entertaining and funny throughout yet also balanced his material with direct attacks, which probably edged the battle in his favor.
Round of the battle: J-Red, round 2
Bar of the battle: "If Eurgh said ‘you’re a waste man’ you’d be like ‘hahaha, you know that’/ If Cruger said ‘remember when no one liked you, Danny’, you’d be like ‘ahaha, throwback!" – J-Red
Ambi vs. Bobby Rex
The first battle of the day was an entertaining crowd warmer, with newcomer Bobby Rex taking on Ambi, who has recently been finding his feet and developing an interesting style. Bobby came with a lot of fat jokes in his first round, which proved to be his best round of the battle by a landslide. Though his material was somewhat predictable he combats this with a sardonic self-awareness, doing an impression of Ambi saying, "Oh how original, nobody’s ever called me fat before."
Ambi took the angle of calling Bobby a generic rapper, for instance his satirical replication of Bobby’s style saying, "You’re bald – haha…ha…ha." Bobby persisted with energetic, funny material, as well as a creative scheme filled with acronyms of "A.M.B.I.," but ultimately failed to live up to the energy generated in his first round, while Ambi, despite a slight choke, gained momentum and had a nice balance of personal attacks and sarcastic clowning.
Result: Picking a winner for this battle is largely a matter of preference. Bobby seemed to take the first round comfortably whilst Ambi’s second appeared just as clear a win, so it comes down to the third round. Bobby won the official judges score on a 2-1 split decision. With a few harder hitting punchlines, Ambi could start turning these debatable decisions into clear wins.
Round of the battle: Bobby Rex, round 1
Bar of the battle: "Fuck was that shit? I wanted a proper battle, like a Western” – Ambi
The highly energetic crowd and atmosphere, the presence of a lot of familiar Don’t Flop faces, an awesome venue and a string of classic matches all contributed towards an outstanding battle rap event. If this is the standard of battles and diversity of talent we are to see more of then it should be an exciting year for Don’t Flop fans, particularly with "Checkpoint 3" on the horizon.
Don’t Flop Sheffield is an event well worth paying to watch before it drops on YouTube. Buy the full event or individual battles here.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.