July saw battle rap hitting its summer frenzy again, with multiple events happening around North America and beyond almost every weekend (and sometimes even multiple events in the same city).
Most notably, URL finished the business of the NWX vs. Gun Titles rematch at an event that got many of the league's most popular emcees on the stage, while nearby, RBE put on a strong event for the fourth entry in the Blood, Sweat & Tiers series.
KOTD, meanwhile, continued its Bunker series with another well-received event with the now-signature "out-there" match-making style that usually somehow seems to work out.
In Atlanta, Bullpen's undercard talent showed out after Daylyt canceled his performance and K-Shine postponed his clash with Charron until the following day.
So yeah, expect to see a lot of matches from those events on the site (and these lists) in the coming months, along with the lead-up to two more major events on the last weekend of August with KOTD's "World Domination 6" in Toronto and URL's "Born Legacy 3" in New York.
Here are our picks for the battles worth checking out from July. Let us know your favorites in the comment section at the bottom.
Saint Mic vs. A.Ward
Who: Saint Mic (Omaha, Neb.) vs. A. Ward (Kansas City, Mo.)
Where: The Connects & The Loop KC's "Raise the Bar 2" in Kansas City, Mo.
When: July 2, 2016
We've got the lyrics for this battle here.
You're sleeping if you haven't heard of Saint Mic by now, but I guess I can't blame you for not being familiar with Christian up-and-comer A. Ward (this is only his fourth battle). Regardless, this battle will likely make you a fan of both, particularly A. Ward, who had something of a breakout performance here.
In an era of widespread uniformity, it's always worth noting when someone rises through URL's ranks and sounds truly unique, and Saint Mic is one of those people. Although he's been making a name with his URL battles, he's still had time for small league showings, but he evidently doesn't use it to slack off. Here he powers through an incredibly long and varied first round, starting with jokes and slowly transitioning into densely layered biblical wordplay, but he does lose a bit of steam throughout the battle and stumbles a bit in Rounds 2 and 3. Still, this is a strong performance, especially considering the round length.
At times during this battle, A. Ward notes how he's already being pigeonholed for his religious affiliation. He's exactly like Th3 Saga in a couple ways — he's Christian but still raps with aggression and heavy punchlines without cursing — but he sounds completely different. More importantly, he charges through this entire clash with unwavering conviction and a nice mix of complex patterns, jokes, and good old fashioned haymakers. Every round is dead solid, and even though he's at home, it's hard not to give him the well-earned W here.
NWX vs. GunTitles II
Who: DNA (Queens, N.Y.) & K-Shine (Harlem, N.Y.) vs. Tay Roc (Baltimore, Md.) & Tsu Surf (Newark, N.J.)
Where: URL's "Unfinished Business 2" in New York, N.Y.
When: July 9, 2016
This rematch has had less of an impact than the original, but that's not saying much since the first battle had one of the best performances of the year and is currently sitting around 2 million views after just a few months. Regardless, this one still has plenty going for it.
For one thing, all three rounds went off without a hitch, which is exactly what needed to happen after the issues with URL's first two attempts to put on this match-up. Plus the final result turned out to be a lot more debatable than the first time, though the majority of fans gave the first round to DNA and K-Shine clearly. Opinions on Rounds 2 and 3 got a bit more muddled and different polls have picked different winners.
Here are the results from URL's page and BattleRap.com's Twitter.
Who won (in the rematch)?— BattleRapDotCom (@battlerapdotcom) August 2, 2016
Check out our "Unfinished Business 2" recap for our thoughts on who won at the event.
Showoff vs. Bigg K
Who: Bigg K (Norfolk, Va.) vs. Showoff (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Where: RBE's "Blood, Sweat and Tiers 4" in New York, N.Y.
When: July 9, 2016
This is another battle that has turned out to be pretty divisive, with most fans in attendance giving it to Showoff while a slight majority edged it to Bigg K once the footage dropped. That's a pretty familiar scenario in battle rap, and at the end of the day, this is just another dope RBE battle with a solid amount of tension between the emcees to keep things interesting.
Who won?— BattleRapDotCom (@battlerapdotcom) August 2, 2016
As I've indicated many times before, K is predictable in the best way. With the possible exception of his recent Cortez battle, he brings three solid, punchline-infested rounds every damn time with almost nothing that feels like "filler." He arguably appears a little more disinterested than usual here, but he still has plenty to say to Showoff, calling him a nobody without RBE and mocking his animated style. In the eyes of many fans, he did enough to win Rounds 1 and 2 despite rapping for less time than Show.
Showoff is dangerous in many ways, with the only real chink in his armor being a couple of regrettable lines per battle (like his "Lion King" scheme here). If it weren't for one or two bars like that, he would probably have walked away from this battle with a clear W.
The scrutiny might feel unfair, but it makes sense next to K's to-the-point punchlines that rarely require stretching. But it would be wrong not to clearly acknowledge Show's dynamism here, as he does have plenty of fire lines and an energy that far surpasses K's, and you could easily edge him the last two rounds.
Be sure to check this out to decide which approach you prefer.
Pnut vs. Bonnie Godiva
Who: PNut (San Jose, Calif.) vs. Bonnie Godiva (Yonkers, N.Y.)
Where: KOTD's "Battles At The Bunker" in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: June 25, 2016
Check out the lyrics for the battle as well.
Male vs. female match-ups have an unfortunate way of becoming formulaic with predictable gender-based content on both sides, but this one easily breaks that mold. Bonnie Godiva and Pnut were clearly just focused on out-rapping each other, and the intensity makes for a debatable, highly replayable clash.
Bonnie recently started something of a campaign for the KOTD title, arguing that more women should be given the shot. Her "World Domination 6" opponent Charron doesn't think she deserves it, but this battle is a pretty solid statement, especially after her debatable W over Realiztic.
Bonnie's only shortcoming here is her delivery, which sounds a bit shaky at times, but she has plenty of wordplay to make up for it and gets through her rounds cleanly. She does a bit of everything, bringing jokes and angles about Pnut's lack of recognition while making a case for her own.
Pnut has been criminally underrated for a long time, and this is yet another dope performance. His last battle at the Bunker versus J Dose actually fell below his usual standard due to a pretty bad stumble, and his eagerness to return to form is obvious here. He snaps on Bonnie throughout with a range of material that goes far beyond the predictable angles, and he gets it all off perfectly with only a couple minor exceptions.
Most edged this to Pnut live (plus he won a $1,000 performance bonus for the showing) but this remains a competitive and very entertaining clash.
The Saurus vs. Chedda Cheese
Who: The Saurus (Las Vegas, Nev.) vs. Chedda Cheese (Calgary, Canada)
Where: GZ Battles' "Gastown 2" in Vancouver, Canada
When: June 18, 2016
When KOTD feels the need to drop a battle on their main channel that didn't take place at one of their marquee events, it often involves Chedda Cheese. The Saurus, well over a hundred performances in without ever having slacked, rises to the occasion as usual and does his part to make this a quintessentially KOTD battle.
As Chedda himself notes in Round 2, he always sticks to the time limits, reportedly because he thinks it makes for better battles. He's got a solid argument there, as none of his material ever sounds drawn out, and he always gets in several big laughs while frequently reminding the audience that he can actually rap too. That's very much the story here, as he sails through a classically weird and clever performance.
Saurus was met with a very warm reception in Vancouver, and he really seemed to ride out that energy throughout this battle. Aside from a tiny slip in Round 1 and a mic malfunction in Round 3 that he didn't let affect him at all, Saurus barked through three dope rounds with even more conviction than usual. It's not often that you hear someone get personal with Chedda, and Saurus' second round angle about Chedda's lack of musical creativity (he does parody videos) is pretty refreshing.
This is highly debatable, and if you're a fan of either of these two, you really can't go wrong.
Charlie Clips vs. Rum Nitty
Who: Rum Nitty (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. Charlie Clips (Harlem, N.Y.)
Where: URL's "Unfinished Business 2" in New York, N.Y.
When: July 9, 2016
As you may have heard by now, this is not the best showing from Charlie Clips (check out his debatable battle versus Young Kannon for a far better recent performance), but it's a great one for Rum Nitty. Nitty is now arguably 5-0 on URL as he continues to climb the ladder to battling URL's top gunner Tay Roc, who he's been calling out for quite some time.
This showing from Clips was oddly reminiscent of the stigma he became associated with years ago: showing up with a phenomenal first round, a passable second, a lazy third, and still debatably winning the battle. The only difference here is that Nitty didn't give Clips nearly enough room in Round 2 or 3 for him to edge it. Clips seemed on pace to out-class Nitty after Round 1 with a much more versatile style, but Nitty's punches became way too much for Clips' freestyle-y rounds as the battle went on. He had the building shaking by the third, and it goes without saying that you'll be seeing a lot more of Nitty on URL.
Shox The Rebel vs. Raptor
Who: Shox The Rebel (London, England) vs. Raptor (Manchester, England)
Where: Don't Flop's "Revival 5" in Manchester, England
When: June 18, 2015
It's no secret by now that Shox The Rebel is one of the U.K.'s top gunners, and Raptor has been a problem long enough that he was Don't Flop's most recent #1 contender. So it shouldn't surprise you that this battle is fire. It's a one-rounder, which is uncommon on Don't Flop, but there's plenty of substance on either side to fill it out.
It's a sure sign of star power when opponents dig into a battler's personal life, and some have indeed started to turn on Raptor. His reportedly reckless lifestyle does a few things for him, like providing his opponents with endless material while simultaneously enhancing his own presence. His haphazard style is always hugely entertaining and riddled with cold lines, and he's his usual self here. Interestingly though, his chaotic approach plays into the angles accusing him of generally being a mess, and he makes himself particularly vulnerable when his opponent is completely on point.
If it wasn't already obvious, this is a pretty flawless showing from Shox. He hits Raptor with punch after punch, all tailored specifically to him with some amazing "why didn't anyone think of that before?" references and wordplay. His brand of back-to-back punches is universally appealing at the moment, and his consistency over the past year or so doesn't hurt. With as much momentum as he's built, it's no wonder more and more fans are calling for him to get the league's next title shot.
Loso vs. Barry Bandz
Who: Barry Bandz (Richmond, Va.) vs. Loso (Tampa, Fla.)
Where: BullPen Battle League's "Main Event" in Atlanta, Ga.
When: June 18, 2016
You may have heard of Loso by now, as he's being referred to by many as one of the top prospects from Bullpen Battle League's roster. In reality, Barry Bandz came with three solid rounds with plenty of dope moments, but like many of his recent battles, this was Loso's show.
Loso is another Christian rapper who manages to spit aggressively without cursing aside from the occasional "hell," once again sounding completely different from his counterparts. He wastes no time between his punches, but he still manages to build up several per round in an extremely unpredictable way, frequently catching the crowd off guard and making them lose their shit. There's already a certain rhythm to his rounds that makes him sound seasoned, so it's almost scary to imagine what Loso will do as he continues to rise through the ranks.
Daylyt vs. Yung Ill
Who: Daylyt (Los Angeles, Calif.) vs. Yung Ill (St. Louis, Mo.)
Where: Street Status' "Martial Law 2" in St. Louis, Mo.
When: May 29, 2016
Unpredictable as he may be, you have to admit Daylyt often brings the best out of his opponents, especially when they've been quiet for a while. And although it's asking a lot to see him back at his "Ice Pack" peak, Yung Ill comes close to classic form in this battle.
Even though Daylyt's third round "real talk" was cool for a while, at its best in the Ooops battle, it's turned into more of an escape hatch. Day essentially throws this battle away in Round 3 with a vague speech that, though morally defensible, comes off a bit phoned-in and completely irrelevant to Ill. Luckily, his first two rounds are packed with wordplay and a surprising level of humor, so he definitely did enough to win at least a round, and you may even edge him the battle.
There's no question that Ill's performance is more fluid than Day's here, and he seems fully prepared to wig in every round. Even though not all of his lines hit the way he probably intended, he has some timelessly cold ones that, unsurprisingly, are pretty specifically aimed at Day's character. His posse was kind of doing the most in the background, which is always a bummer, but Ill still does enough here to keep his main stage momentum going.
Cadalack Ron Memorial Royal Rumble
Who: Sam Kolt (Sacramento, Calif.) vs. Ncredable (Stockton, Calif.) vs. Caustic (Oakland, Calif.) vs. Ex-I (Santa Clara, Calif.) vs. FLO (Oakland, Calif.) vs. Frank Stacks (Hayward, Calif.)
Where: Counter Productive's "Battle of the Zae 6" in San Jose, Calif.
When: July 16, 2016
These Royal Rumble battles are always sort of an undertaking because, yes, there are six battlers involved and yes, they all do three rounds each. That said, they're usually pretty damn entertaining and yield standout performances from at least one or two people, and this one is no different.
Frank Stacks was the clear MVP this time around, with Caustic more than pulling his weight as always and being a fairly close second. Frank steals the show mostly due to sheer conviction. Approaching each opponent separately, he barges through absurd multisyllabic insults with the utmost commitment, still maintaining a calm demeanor as the crowd loses it. Predictably, Caustic gets some hilariously mean lines off on just about everyone as well, particularly Sam Kolt and Ncredable.
Also notable is Ex-I leaving just as he's about to start his third round, saying that there was a family emergency.
What were your favorite battles that dropped in July? Let us know in the comments below.