There's just something about that small room. Another "Born Legacy" goes by, and another strong event is in the books. There's just a certain energy that the "Born Legacy" events have that's very difficult to match; and it really does seem to bring out the best in the battlers. Unfortunately it wasn't all good news, as two of the most anticipated battles on the card had to be cancelled, when St. Louis emcees B Magic and Yung Ill no-showed their battles with Ave and Mr. Wavy respectively. In addition, the Young X and Mo Mula battle was cancelled, though no reason was officially given.
Despite the cancellations, the battles that did go down didn't disappoint, most came off very well, and many of the emcees really raised their stock. Here are some of the standouts from the event:
Battle Of The Night: Rum Nitty vs. Ill Will
With Ill Will returning to URL and Rum Nitty's name buzzing as of late, this battle seemed bound to deliver. It fully lived up to the hype, featuring a standout performance from Will and another three rounds of straight punches from Nitty.
Most fans had Will edging this one 2-1 in the building, but it's safe to say it will be debated once it drops. Nitty went first and did exactly what was expected of him in every round, which was by no means a bad thing. The name flips were there (much more creatively than you might expect), his intensity was on point, and although he cooled off a bit throughout the battle, his remarkably relentless punchline approach was pretty consistent in every round.
With what proved to be a wise tactic, Will really seemed to lean into his dynamic, animated style versus Nitty, going far beyond straight punches. He was wilding from the gate with unpredictable setups and, perhaps more importantly, the patented brand of humor that's made him stand out over the years. He easily did enough to arguably win the first and third rounds, taking an interesting approach in the third by freestyling answers to fans' questions in what he called a "press conference" with the crowd. Most notably in that round, Will directed some hilarious content at Smack, repeating "I thought I was your gunner, Smack!" as he discussed how the culture had changed since he'd been on URL.
There was a noticeable difference in round length— Will's third was close to twice as long as Nitty's— which is yet another reason the battle was debatable, but Will unquestionably did enough to lock down a successful URL return. As for Nitty, this arguable loss won't likely set him off track either. It probably won't be long until this battle drops, but it's certainly one to look forward to.
Performance Of The Night: Chess
In what turned out to be a tense, highly competitive battle with Th3 Saga, Chess lost his damn mind in rounds 2 and 3 with arguably his most well-rounded performance to date. Th3 Saga snapped too, especially in Round 1, but the depth of Chess' material and the rawness of his performance completely stole the show toward the end of the battle.
To be clear, Th3 Saga won the first round. He was aggressive, seemed extremely focused, and landed plenty of cold lines about Chess' weaknesses as a young, ignorant battler. There's always a certain thoughtfulness to Saga's content, and it was very apparent here.
In terms of material, Chess easily did enough to make the first debatable... Until another unfortunate dry heave interrupted his round and freaked out the crowd. Like the DNA incident, it had nothing to do with memory (or even nerves for that matter) and seemed to be more like an acid reflux-type situation. Thankfully, Chess recovered almost instantly this time and somehow managed to continue to earn reaction throughout the round. Still, it was 1-0 Saga going into Round 2.
Simply put, Chess delivered arguably his most impressive material to date in the second and third. He fully countered Saga's predictably preachy approach by accepting his sinful persona and justifying it in the context of modern struggle, and the angle hit hard. Of note, Saga's third, centered mainly around Chess' father's supposedly poor parenting skills, felt pretty dry and generic after Chess' second. It felt even more that way after Chess' third, which he essentially used to trace the black man's plight since biblical times, dropping room-shakingly clever haymakers along the way.
Bodybag Of The Night: Swave Sevah Over Tink Tha Demon
If you've seen Swave Sevah vs. Danny Myers, just picture Swave's third for three rounds. Tink powered through a flawless performance for a mostly quiet crowd, but it just wasn't enough, and the sheer number of personal haymakers Swave landed made Tink's loss feel devastating in the building.
At this point, one of battle rap's great questions is why people continue to think it's a good idea to diss Harlem versus Swave Sevah. Swave was already on fire in Round 1, breaking Tink's horrorcore character down with cold line after cold line, but Tink eventually made the mistake of going at not only Harlem, but Swave's family. Needless to say, it only seemed to fire Swave up that much more, and the glasses were off by Round 3. He seemed completely prepared to spazz in every round, and he was dropping classic quotables all over the place (e.g. "They said this was a mirror match... I'm about to catch seven years of bad luck). Swave also performed an "exorcism" with Th3 Saga in that round, which was definitely a gimmick, but a quick and impressively creative one.
Although this was by no means a poor performance from Tink, Swave probably retains his unofficial title as battle rap's gatekeeper by taking out yet another relative newcomer. I know what you're thinking: how can this be a body bag if Tink wasn't bad? Watch the footage when it drops and you'll see what I mean.
Newcomer Of The Night: Glueazy
In the very first round of the event, Glueazy landed a punch within seconds that instantly had the crowd going crazy. It was his first of many, and though he lost some steam in Round 3, he earned a 2-1 victory over Bedaffi Green in the building with impeccable projection for a newcomer and of course, constant punchlines.
Bedaffi put on a great show as well, and this spot (as well as the victory) could have been his if he'd shown a bit more consistency and confidence in his delivery in rounds 2 and 3. Ironically, the highlight of his performance was his second round impression of Glu's setup/punch style, which was hilariously spot on. Still, at least in the building, that style proved to be a tad too much, and Glu woke up the few remaining fans who weren't yet familiar.
The Return Of Prez Mafia
Self-deprecation is relatively rare in battle rap, but sometimes it's the best way to cope with a situation. Prez Mafia has done that exceptionally well by not making excuses for his bar biting scandal and simply showing why he's now better than his former self, without being afraid to laugh at himself in the process. That was a successful tactic at BL3 and an effective counter to Nunn Nunn's impressively unrelenting breakdown of that topic.
Nunn is dangerous in the building with the way he projects his material and presses his opponents, which only made Prez's ability to shrug off his haymakers that much more impressive. Nunn definitely did his thing and had plenty of hard-hitting lines about Prez's wrongdoings, but there was a certain fluidity to Prez's rounds that made them come off smoother. What really made the difference was Prez's bars about himself (e.g. "you know how to bark, but I know how to BITE"), that were at times sincere and other times just hilarious. All this was enough to win him at least the first and third in the building.
The Cancellations/Tension Between URL & St. Louis
As you probably know by now, both B-Magic and Yung Ill both no-showed at BL3. Late in the first day, Beasley took the stage to explain their absence. The short version of what Beasley reported is that Magic contacted URL about an emergency on Thursday, was offered more money if he could still make it, accepted, then canceled last minute on Friday. Ill, on the other hand, simply couldn't be reached on the day of (it now appears he was at a baby shower).
After informing the crowd of all this and offering to reschedule the battles for whenever the no-shows were available, Beasley joked, "hashtag pray for St. Louis," setting off a wave of backlash from the likes of Aye Verb and Hitman Holla, whose relationship with the league is already tense at the moment. Magic has reportedly cut ties with URL as well and plans to release his rounds for Ave on his own.
Battle Of The Night: Mike P vs. Daylyt
As many were confident he would, Daylyt came to rap at BL3 and ended up delivering one of his most impressive overall performances to date. Interestingly enough, Mike P did the very same thing with probably his best three rounds yet, and he managed to arguably take Round 1. Daylyt's second and third, though, were full of simply incredible, show-stealingly lyrical content. The battle felt thoroughly classic in the building, and there really wasn't a dull moment throughout.
You might notice that there's no Performance Of The Night for Day 2 here, and that's just because it would go to Day too, hear? Sorry. In all seriousness, Day pretty much blew everyone's minds in rounds 2 and 3, and it was exhausting to keep up. Every line had a jewel in it, and the highlights ranged from Day's inevitable relationship with URL to an room-shaking interpretation of Mike's now-famous Street Fighter scheme. His first, in which he donned and un-donned the ski mask, spitting straight bars all the while, was also impressive, but Mike may have been even more consistent that round.
It's easy to fall into the "battling Daylyt" trap where you end up pointing out the same character flaws others have while Day steals the show, but Mike didn't let that happen. Although he gave Day the requisite props, he kept the battle competitive and heated even through Day's seemingly unbeatable rounds. He had some incredible moments himself, particularly in Round 1 and the beginning of Round 2, and this was far from the sort of loss that might set him back.
The Returns: Tech 9 & Prep
With the exception of Tone Montana, who had an unbelievably bad showing where he choked in every round versus Saint Mic, all of the returning emcees performed extremely well. Tech 9 was his old self, leaving the crowd in stitches with almost every line and reminding everyone that his presence is hard to match, while Prep also gave a strong performance featuring one of the most spectacular recoveries from a "pauseworthy" line in battle rap history.
In reality, Jerry Wess almost definitely beat Tech 2-1, but it didn't really take away from Tech's return. Tech stole the first with a presence that simply couldn't be ignored, but Jerry was in the zone in every round. His third was wild lyrically, and the cherry on top was a crowd surfing gimmick that somehow didn't go awry. All that said, Tech did more than enough to make fans eager to see him face someone else on URL sometime soon.
Prep's first round against Lotta Zay (who also performed well and made an arguable case for victory) was everything it needed to be, even overshadowing the photo Lotta brought, which showed Prep's mother "working it in the club" (her words). Prep addressed getting bodied by Chilla Jones and other mistakes he'd made and showed exactly why none of that mattered anymore. Round 2 was all Lotta though, as his extremely animated approach finally started to really connect, and Prep slipped with a rebuttal.
Finally, Prep's third round was, in a way, legendary. He was cooking before, for some reason, starting a pattern with "I got a looong banana." Needless to say, "pause" was the name of the game, and the crowd was losing it in a bad way. Prep then said, "I'll take that, I'll take that," which only made things worse. And then a miracle happened: Prep got back to his material and brought the house down. He had a haymaker for everything notable that happened at the event, from Tone Montana's wretched performance to Dougy losing to Nu Jerzy Twork. I'm still not sure how he crafted those lines so quickly and delivered them so well, and even though they'll be inevitably less powerful to those who weren't at the event, Prep is back.
Newcomers Of The Night: Reepah Rell & Nu Jerzy Twork
Many fans in the building were familiar with Reepah Rell after seeing him versus Glueazy and Bangz, but this weekend's battle versus Gutta may have been his best yet. Some fans at the event already knew of Nu Jerzy Twork and actually predicted he'd beat Dougy, which he did, and he quickly woke everyone up in the process.
In case you weren't sure, Reepah is the guy who paints half of his face white. The reason he hasn't been roasted by the battle rap populous for that is simply that he's nice and that the paint actually adds to his sinister image. He's not exactly reinventing the wheel with his style, which mostly consists of aggressively delivered punches and references, but his presence is something to behold. That alone is always notable in a newcomer, and he turned even more heads at BL3.
I have to admit, I was unfamiliar with Twork before BL3, and I was understandably apprehensive about his name. Imagine how surprised I was when I found out he was dead nice a few bars into his first round versus Dougy. He started calmly and quickly transitioned into a barking machine gun-style punchline style that was extremely unpredictable and resulted in dozens of haymakers. The cleverness of his material shocked the room, and he needs another URL battle ASAP.
Mo Mula vs. Young X Canceled
It was never addressed by the staff, but Mo Mula vs. Young X did not go down as it was scheduled to on Day 2 to the disappointment of many fans. There were murmurs of X no-showing, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.