RBE continued its acclaimed Lift His Soul series with a card full of themed battles with "Lift His Soul 3" on Saturday, February 4 at Club Drom in Manhattan. Each battle had a special theme describing the battle's setting. I was lucky enough to attend the event with additional members of the BattleRap.com staff on site. Here's my firsthand account of each battle.
(There were 2 1SK Battles that took place before I arrived so I can't speak on those, but the review for everything else is below.)
Max Disrespect - Arsonal vs. QB (Battle Of The Night)
This is my pick for battle of the night. The level of downright disregard for anything sacred was end to end. There were moments of cringeworthy insults and threats lobbed between the two that would probably spark a melee in any other battle. The professionalism and showmanship carried out by Arsonal and QB was exemplary. The BattleRap.com Twitter ran some live samplings of the jabs each threw, but the highlights of the battle took place in the later rounds.
Arsonal, after already initiating a brief fondle exchange, also gave QB a rather loud smack on her derriere. This again was after each emcee had grabbed the other by the crotch earlier. The shock of the impact may have thrown QB off as she could not physically react quick enough to retaliate this time.
I realize I haven't referenced many bars recapping this battle, but this battle wasn't about the bars. This battle is available on PPV and is my must-see pick. I know this is a recap but I'm not going to spoil all of the surprises of this clash.
QB has long been considered the most disrespectful female battler and Arsonal is her male counterpart. They did not disappoint, this battle is highly debatable and worth an instant watch. The combination of material and battler behavior may even make it classic.
Winner Take All Battle - Jimz vs. Aye Verb
This battle was promoted as the winner taking all of the proceeds. Five judges were elected to decide the winner. Votes were submitted in written form to avoid pressure on the judges to state their picks out loud. The unknown amount of the prize bag was brought to the stage. Aye Verb won the coin toss and choose for Jimz to go first. Two Minute Rounds...
Jimz' first round wasn't received well live. It was a consistent Jimz round, full of humor and bars aimed at tearing down the mystique of Captain Marketable, and the crowd simply didn't receive it well.
Aye Verb opened his first with a Showtime and the crowd enjoyed it thoroughly, he clearly took the first round and the sentiment was that the expected Aye Verb clear win was en route.
Jimz' second and third rounds were received much differently. He turned his energy up and began to deliver material that is common for an Aye Verb opponent (his issues with running from a fight on camera, being raised by a woman, etc.) but from a perspective and sense of humor that personifies what is best about Jimz. His material remained focused on convincing Aye Verb of his fallen status and the crowd of his false status as a top tier battler.
Aye Verb, unfortunately, opened his second with a Showtime that simply didn't resonate at all. As has happened before, the lack of response seemed to affect the remainder of Aye Verb's performance.
I felt Jimz would win 2-1 and the judges (all five) agreed with a 2-1 Jimz victory and Jimz left with the bag.
Main Event - Bully Battle - Showoff vs Math Hoffa
This battle took place immediately after the back and forth of QB and Arsonal. Math Hoffa making his long-awaited debut on RBE after his first chance was derailed by the Dizaster battle. (Math was scheduled to battle O-Red in NY the week before Dizaster in LA, but accommodations were made to ensure Math was ready for Dizaster, and his RBE debut had been delayed ever since.)
Math lost the coin toss and went first. His first round was immediate and to the point about his opponent. As per Math, "Showoff is gay" and he used an array of slurs, references to Facebook exposure posts, and Showoff's battle vs. Jai 400 to drill down his beliefs that Showoff's entire persona is a facade of false masculinity. Punchlines and jokes all seemed to lead to this idea when completed. The crowd, although at times thrown off at the brash and blatant message of his first round, still responded with positive feedback and allowed Math to finish.
Showoff's first round was equally potent and much more direct than Showoff is known to be. He went directly at Math, taking time to address Math's name Justin and scheme with his name. He spent some time addressing all of Math's recent pitfalls in battles and painted a portrait of the decay of his legend status. The crowd definitely responded louder to Showoff's punchlines and material.
The remainder of the battle was unfortunately marred by interruptions on both sides while the opponent rapped. Crowd interruptions disrupted Math's second round to a point so extreme that Math stopped rapping to point out the unruly woman he felt disturbed by. This unfortunately led to a disjointed view of his material and his third round, which he seemed to end abruptly out of frustration.
Showoff faced similar issues in his second and thirrd rounds, moments when he let Math know to stop talking, alternately when he said on multiple occasions "no one is going to touch me, if someone touches me, the venue doors will be locked..." This further added to the tension in the venue but also made the material of his round seem even more aggressive.
Although he completed his second and third rounds cleanly, the overall take on this battle is that watching it again is necessary. A great deal of credit goes to both emcees for maintaining their poise, but also providing plenty of moments of aggression and tension to match the billing of the battle itself.
RBE Bar Battle - Craig Lamar vs. Big Kannon
Billed as a bar battle, it seemed like Craig Lamar was prepared to live up to the billing and he did so. Big Kannon appeared to have a different interpretation of this match-up and set the stage for that as his attack method all battle.
Craig Lamar is fresh from a possible breakout battle vs. JC. He seemed poised to return to RBE in a similar fashion. His unique gravelly voice and accent, partnered with a rapid-fire delivery of punchlines and multis, made for some very entertaining moments in each of his rounds. Overall he took angles on Big Kannon's physical size and health (a common angle used on Kannon) and had some sequences that connected well lyrically and with the crowd.
But overall he was no match for the showmanship of Big Kannon. Big Kannon took the veteran approach and mocked the idea this battle was a bar battle at all. He proceeded to interweave written and freestyled material effortlessly all battle. He used Craig Lamar's Mortal Kombat line against him, and brought to light Craig's own history as an avid YouTube dancer.
Overall the combination of lyrical dexterity and personally crafted angles made more of an impression than Craig's material. Yet considering the ample amount of connecting punchlines that Craig delivered, what may have seemed clear live could be closer when released.
I still believe that Kannon won this battle 2-1 if not 3-0.
Style Clash - Heavy Half vs. Floss Da Boss from Loud Boys
Floss Da Boss, flanked by Dre Dennis and the Loud Boys, has a unique voice, capable of commanding a room with a drawl that demands close attention. His opening round had some potential but it was marred by occasional stops to reboot his bar sequences (something that plagued him all battle). Whatever momentum he could build seemed to be abruptly halted by these stops. By the third round Floss had begun to unravel and a choke ended his night.
On the other hand, Heavy Half came to work. He has been building to a bigger moment with every appearance on the RBE platform. His opening round set the tone with a rapid succession of punchlines and schemes that were delivered effortlessly. He had clear room control from that point on. With the stark contrast of Heavy Half's clean completion of all three rounds to the unfortunate stops and restarts of Floss Da Boss, this was a clear 3-0 for Heavy.