After pushing the date back amid compromised venues and general wariness surrounding hip-hop following the Troy Ave shooting at Irving Plaza, URL finally managed to pull off "Unfinished Business 2." The crowd at the Highline Ballroom in NYC was smaller than URL is used to for its larger cards, but it was a select group of core fans who, frankly, really knew how to watch battles.
The highly anticipated rematch between NWX and Gun Titles went off without a hitch. As for the rest of the card, Smack got exactly what he needed out of his newer gunners. Tone Montana canceled his battle against Saint Mic, although the match-up was more of a prelim and hadn't been advertised on the card.
URL tried something different this time in not allowing fans or media to post direct quotes of bars, or take photos or video clips throughout the event. The policy frustrated some fans, but we'll have to see how it turns out in terms of building anticipation for the official drops. Let us know your thoughts on the policy and the event in general in the comments below.
Battles Of The Night
Tsu Surf & Tay Roc vs. DNA & K-Shine
In what was probably the right decision, URL organized this rematch so that nobody but the rappers and security were on stage. There was nothing close to a scuffle this time around, but it wasn't hard to imagine one breaking out considering past dealings. It won't quite live up to the original in overall quality, but it was a very dope, complete package.
To the surprise of many, NWX tore the roof off in Round 1, much like Gun Titles' first round in the original battle. The coordination was stunning, and K-Shine, the overall MVP of the battle, seemed particularly determined to deliver a flawless performance. NWX's Round 2 was similar, featuring more amazing showmanship and delivery from K-Shine, even though it lost a bit of steam toward the end. Their Round 3 was their worst, but even that round featured some hilarious moments, including DNA and Shine roasting Surf and Roc for reaching formulaically in battles.
Whereas NWX started on fire and declined slightly throughout, Gun Titles did the opposite. Interestingly, they really didn't hit the glow they had in the original battle until Round 3, but they may have still done enough to win. They were clearly outdone in Round 1; the energy and coordination just wasn't quite on par with NWX despite some cold lines. In the second though, they heated up instead of cooling off in a round that is the most debatable. Round 3 was clearly theirs, featuring a hauntingly cold performance that grew into a room shaking one.
Opinion on who won is split right now, and the footage will undoubtedly rack up hundreds of thousands of views as fans argue over who took it.
In my opinion, Gun Titles took it 2-1.
Shotgun Suge vs. Brizz Rawsteen
As soon as this battle was announced, fans knew these two would be barking on each other for three rounds, and that's exactly what happened. As has become his custom, Shotgun Suge's third round was madness, but Brizz Rawsteen didn't really have a dry moment throughout.
After soldiering through two strong performances against three of URL's biggest names, Aye Verb, Tay Roc and DNA, Brizz seems to be becoming a fan favorite on the big stage. He went first and started this battle off with THE most reckless pocket check I've ever seen, damn near ripping Suge's pants off and even grappling with him for a second. Pretty much everyone in the crowd expected a fight to break out for a brief moment, but thankfully Suge let it slide.
Here he is talking about it.
Brizz then proceeded through two haymaker rounds with his cleanest performance yet. His third was fire too, but Suge quickly overshadowed it.
The first round was close, as Suge came out the gate with crazy energy and aggression, but his Round 1 wasn't quite as consistent as Brizz's. His shorter and less explosive second round almost began to raise eyebrows, but he made it all up with the third.
Suge now seems to possess the power to switch into "what your life like" mode and overshadow pretty much anything that occurred before that. It's a brilliant strategy, really, where he's able to essentially guarantee a win if he picks up one of the first two rounds. That didn't happen here though, and this fire battle went 2-1 to Brizz.
Performances Of The Night
T-Top vs. Math Hoffa really could have gone in the "Bodybag Of The Night" category, but given that Math had a daughter the morning of the battle, that didn't really seem right. But goddamn, you can't take a thing away from T-Top.
Let's get it out of the way: this might have been the best T-Top ever (and the worst Math ever), and certainly was the best T-Top to hit URL's main stage. He was talking to Math's soul throughout the battle, with intensity and conviction around the personals rivaling the quality of Bigg K's now infamous third round against Math. It was the usual stuff — you're a bully who doesn't really know how to stand up for himself — but done with an insane amount of energy and very, very creatively. Frankly, it really seemed to be getting to Math, who stumbled through most of his performance.
Regardless of caveats, it's clear that top tier T-Top is here to stay. He did everything, joking, barring out, and personalizing attacks against Math that cut undeniably deeply.
There wasn't one person who left the Highline Ballroom thinking Rum Nitty was NOT a huge problem. His last performance versus Ave had fans buzzing, but there were still many who doubted he could get a clear W over Charlie Clips. Clips had a ridiculous Round 1 that really, really made it seem like he was going to outclass Nitty, but it only got worse for him from there, and Nitty walked away with a clear 2-1 that approached bodybag status.
"How the hell does he think of this shit?" was the question of the night, as Nitty's perfect-match entendres and layered punchlines were really something to behold. He was perhaps a bit too laid back in Round 1 to get the crowd, but Rounds 2 and 3 were electric. The sheer lack of space between punches was remarkable, and Clips' freestyle-heavy performance just couldn't keep up. Simply put, Clips was pleading with the crowd to fuck with him by Round 3, but it was too late; Nitty had already shook the building one too many times.
At this point, we can hopefully expect to see the match people have been calling for, Rum Nitty vs. Tay Roc, very soon. Nothing is ever guaranteed in battle rap, but debatable wins over Chess and Danja Zone and clear wins over Ave and Clips are leaving URL little choice. But it's not like they don't want to promote Nitty; he's under contract and could easily become one of URL's top gunners.
Clips, now a castmember of "Wild 'N Out" with Nick Cannon, has been taking the loss in stride.
Debatable Of The Night: Big T vs. John John Da Don
Now, "debatable" might be a bit misleading here, as most everyone in the building had John John edging this 2-1. Nevertheless, it was the closest back-and-forth of the night and a great way to kick things off.
JJDD went first and proved, as only a few others have, that it's still possible to creatively flip "T." With as many things as one can do with such a minuscule syllable, any flip that doesn't sound played out is an accomplishment in and of itself. As he so often is, JJDD was very successful in setting up to-the-point personal angles (e.g. you're fat, you take too many battles) and hammering them home with succinct but unpredictable punchlines. This tactic, which yielded very few dry spots, was enough to edge him Round 1 and clearly win him Round 3.
There seems to be a trend developing (or has it always been this way?) in Big T's second rounds: they're bananas. To be clear, the first round was close, and T had plenty of energy stored up to shake the building in Round 2. The gun sounds and the like were there, but more self-aware this time around, and delivered with even more animation than usual. If there was one way to really separate himself from JJDD, it was to totally fly off the handle, and T did that expertly in Rounds 1 and 2. By the third though, things seemed to catch up to him, and he stumbled more than once. Regardless, this battle will likely still be debated and is sure to be solidly re-watchable.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.