Three years ago, U Dubb put on one of the best events of all time with the original "High Stakes" event, headlined by a much-hyped battle that many thought would go down on URL, along with several other top tier battles on the undercard. It's now three years later, and U Dubb has done it again with another much-hyped headliner many expected from URL, along with a strong undercard.
We're here to break down what to expect from the event.
The full lineup is:
- Hitman Holla vs. Shotgun Suge
- Arsonal vs. Chilla Jones
- Tay Roc vs. Charron
- Pat Stay vs. DNA
- Rad B vs. T-Rex
- O Solo vs. Serius Jones
Our Jonathan Velez already wrote an in-depth preview of the main event between Shotgun Suge and Hitman Holla here, so the rest of this article will be spent previewing the undercard.
Since he announced his upcoming retirement in 2016, Arsonal has had a career resurgence, having some of his best battles in recent memory within the past year. 2016 saw a return to the Arsonal of old — the guy with one of the best deliveries in battle rap, undeniable consistency and some pretty intense disrespect in his bars. At "High Stakes 2," Ars will be looking to ride that wave of momentum into his battle with Chilla Jones.
Chilla for his part, has been as solid as ever, having some of the best writing in battle rap, and an improving delivery. The different skill sets that Chilla and Ars bring set up the quintessential style clash, where Chilla's pen will do battle with Ars' rapping ability. Arsonal has been absolutely overpowering lately, and with this being a home game, Chilla will have to be extra on top of his shit. I can't predict how it will go, but it should be an interesting one to watch.
I'm almost apprehensive to write about Tay Roc vs. Charron. This is the style clash to end all style clashes, and no matter what happens, the fans of both guys will likely say their chosen battler took the W. Charron and his fans have anointed him the "Smack Killer" after having a run of at least debatable battles with a bevy of rappers who made their name on the URL stage. Given this moniker, a match-up with arguably the face of URL, Tay Roc, makes all the sense in the world.
Roc over the past few years has established himself as one of the top battlers in the world with his aggressive style and expert use of gun bars. It seems that no matter who is put in front of him, he's able to make the battle at least debatable, and no matter what your opinion of Roc is, nobody could deny that he's more capable than nearly anyone of whipping crowds into a frenzy.
Despite this, he also has a fair number of detractors who chastise him for at times reaching with his wordplay. And in this way, despite being Charron's polar opposite, the two face similar criticism. Both guys absolutely have their strengths, but they also have things about them that earn a fair bit of ridicule. For Roc it's the aforementioned reaching, for Charron it's that his entire battle persona can come off as corny and inauthentic. I expect both guys to do the things that their fans love them for, and also do the things that their haters hate them for, and there will be no agreement about who won. Predicting this battle is absolutely impossible and no matter who I say will win, I'd likely catch some hate from the other side, so I'll just call this one debatable......(P.S., Tay Roc 3-0).
This event marks Pat Stay's debut on the U Dubb stage, and admittedly, it's a somewhat strange battle. While many would like to see Pat against another aggressive, bully style emcee, at HS2, he's facing off with Queens' DNA. DNA has to some extent been unfairly maligned by battle fans. Sure, he has some pretty nonsensical lines sometimes, but he also has been known to rise to the occasion in big battles and outperform expectations.
For Pat, it'll be interesting to see how he is received by this audience. Having battled the vast majority of his career in front of friendly crowds in Toronto and Dartmouth, he's started to branch out a bit more in the last couple years with performances in Massachusetts and the U.K. But there are a lot of questions that will be answered today: Will he switch up his tendency of having jokey second rounds? If he doesn't, will his second still be well-received by the audience? Will his more aggressive material work in front of a street audience? If Pat can have a very strong performance on the U Dubb stage, it will do wonders in terms of solidifying his legacy in battle rap. If not, he may continue to hear the criticism that his style only works in front of the KOTD audience.
Elsewhere on the card, two Jersey emcees face off as the always entertaining O Solo goes up against battle legend Serius Jones, and U Dubb's top up and comer Rad B faces off with another battle rap legend in T-Rex.
The event will be going down in Elizabeth, New Jersey on January 22. Venue information is listed in the flyer below and purchase details for the live pay-per-view are here.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.