Welp, it happened. Hollow Da Don vs. Pat Stay went down and, just as many feared, first-time British league Battle of the Brave botched it. Both emcees were present and clearly prepared, but BOTBUK made the unprecedented, stunningly unprofessional decision to change the battle to one round at the very last second for reasons including “time constraints” and, most likely, payment issues.
Still, given that we’re dealing with two of the best battlers in the world, it shouldn’t surprise you that this is an incredible one-rounder. But that’s part of what makes it so frustrating.
Watch the battle here.
If it had been three rounds and taken place on a platform worth its salt, this could have been one of the best battles ever. To be clear, the event had mostly fallen apart leading up to the headliner, with absurdly long delays and all but one battle being or becoming one-rounders, so the overall positive response to this compromised clash says a lot. Before we think about what, if anything, should be done to round out what should have been a classic, let’s get into the battle itself.
One can surmise from the footage that Hollow compressed content from his three rounds into one and that Pat spit his first “plus eight bars,” but the classic potential remains painfully clear. Hollow goes first, and frankly, it’s not even fair how good his round is. He’s known to go in and out of different bags depending on the mood of the room, and his use of that tactic here will remind you, “Oh right, there’s probably no one else who can do all of that.”
Hollow starts with some freestyles that seem basic until you realize how specific and fitting to the situation they are. Clearly confident that they’ll catch it later, he proceeds to cover all the bases in terms of breaking down Pat Stay, in rapid succession. There’s the “you’re not actually tough” angle, flagrant disrespect, violent bars, ridiculous multi’s, a hilarious British-Jamaican tribute, Hitman-level performance, more jokes, and more personals, all done damn near to perfection. It’s hard to imagine who could present a more multi-dimensional round, and admittedly Pat doesn’t, but he more than holds his own with his trademark first-round gusto.
Pat really never disappoints with Round 1, and even though it’s pretty clearly not enough to outdo Hollow, his first is still amazing — most notably his incredible Mike Zombie freestyle save. It’s mostly filled with jokes and comically cruel judgments, but that’s just how most of his first rounds are. The glory of this approach can be summed up in one line: “Hollow Da Don … What’s your mother’s name? Donna Da Mom?” Pat mentioned in our interview that he had more serious content in his other rounds, and it feels wrong that we haven’t seen it.
Naturally, the question on everyone’s mind is whether a rematch is necessary. While wanting to move on would be understandable on either side, to me the answer is pretty clearly “yes.” Imagine the quality of this one round for three, with neither battler having to worry about bad business.
Assuming Pat and Hollow are indeed willing to give it another go, I’ll say that I think this rematch should go down ASAP on any credible, sufficiently funded league that can do it properly.
Is this rematch necessary? Where should it go down? Let us know in the comments below.