The Top Battles From December

Some hidden gems, some big comebacks and a few of the best battles of the year.

Happy New Year from! As the world starts fresh with 2016, we're still looking back at the best battles from last month, while continuing to dive deep into the best of 2015 in our Year In Review coverage, with much more still to come.

As for December, it was another busy month, with several leagues getting in one last event before the holidays arrived. U.K. upstarts Battle Of The Brave put on their first event, and though the truncated version of Hollow Da Don vs. Pat Stay showed a glimmer of the epicness we were expecting, the fact that it was reduced to a one-rounder at the last minute had the Internet calling for the league's heads after an unnecessarily long day. URL's "A Perfect Day To Die" was fantastic, as long as you made it to the Proving Grounds event the day after the main card. Meanwhile, KOTD looked ahead to February, dropping the first few trailers for "Blackout 6."

Daylyt vs. O Red

Who: Daylyt (Los Angeles, Calif.) vs. O Red (Newark, N.J.)
Where: GO-Rilla Warfare's "The Crown 2" in Markham, Ill.
When: Nov. 21, 2015

If you’ve been waiting for someone not to pull any punches against Daylyt and truly attack every fiber of his being for three rounds, you’ve come to the right place. O Red does just that, but Day chose to rap on this day and put up a hell of a fight.

There’s a pretty clear split going on here: people interested in highly relevant, unforgiving content will invariably go with Red, and those more interested in “bars” will go with Day. I don’t mean to downplay the latter in the least, because Day’s material is incredibly strong (as it usually is when he chooses to rap). There’s just something about Red’s first round, which he begins with a spot-on impersonation of Day, that takes some of the wind out of Day’s “bars only” sails.

Interestingly, Day abruptly abandons the strictly-bars approach in Round 3 to deliver a round very similar to his third versus Ooops. It’s an edgy move, but it feels a little out of place here. Still, Rounds 1 and 2 are highly debatable, so get to picking your preference.

Oshea vs. Kid Twist

Who: Oshea (Liverpool, England) vs. Kid Twist (Toronto, Canada)
Where: Don't Flop's "7th Birthday Weekend" in London, England
When: Nov. 14, 2015

Oshea is back in prime form, and Kid Twist gives what is probably his best performance of the year after making his return against Shuffle-T at "Blackout 5." If you like non sequiturs, silly-ass wordplay, and all around clever absurdity, you’re going to love this one.

Oshea telling Twist, “You look like Big T if Big T looked completely different” is still oddly hilarious, and it’s a symbol of the absurdist irreverence he’s made his own. It shines gloriously in every round, and it’s a genuinely difficult style to compete with when he’s in rare form, as he is here. You know true talent is involved when even “ah, fucked that up” actually adds to a performance.

Twist had a steep hill to climb in vying for attention over Oshea in the U.K., and he took a brilliantly smart-but-stupid approach. Twist is someone you can tell plans his attacks extremely meticulously, and that’s bound to take you to weird places with someone like Oshea, but he nails it, even throwing in a daring anti-U.K. angle in the third. Plus, those every-round rebuttals never hurt.

Caustic vs. Bigg K

Who: Caustic (San Jose, Calif.) vs. Bigg K (Norfolk, Va.)
Where: KOTD's "Back To Baysics 3" in San Jose, Calif.
When: Oct. 24, 2015

This is the clash that earned Caustic and Bigg K cash bonuses for winning Battle of the Night at KOTD’s "Back to Baysics 3." In his intro, Organik referred to it as an “unofficial #1 Contender match," and that’s decidedly moot now, but K and Caustic both show why they’ve cemented themselves as KOTD staples.

Believe me, I get tired of saying this, but this battle is all about preference. On Caustic’s end, there are jokes, bars, and a surprising amount of realness, while K brings his seemingly unbeatable brand of punches and wordplay. This all comes to a head in the beginning of Caustic’s third round, when he name drops a deceased friend of K’s, causing K to get in his face and warn him not to speak on it any further. It turns out that it was really a misunderstanding though, as Caustic used the name (perhaps foolishly) just for a reference point and said nothing disrespectful, instead focusing on his own struggles. Shit, the disagreement might even add to the footage, and the interviews immediately after the event make it clear that there’s no bad blood.

This battle is more than worth watching for the competitive back-and-forth and for the way it might subvert your expectations. Bet you didn’t expect K to follow up Caustic’s harrowingly real third round with one entirely about a cat, but here we are. Round 1 is debatable, but most fans had K taking the first two rounds and Caustic with a standout third.

Check out the lyrics to this battle too.

Mike P vs. Ave

Who: Mike P (Long Island, N.Y.) vs. Ave (Norfolk, Va.)
Where: URL's "A Perfect Day To Die" Proving Grounds event in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Dec. 13, 2015

For the first time ever, URL released two battles for the esteemed Christmas Day drop, and while Tay Roc vs. John John Da Don may be the one getting the views, it's this PG battle that's making our list.

We told you this was a classic, and we’re glad you agree. Aside from those utterly resistant to change, fans are welcoming Ave as URL’s next top gunner, and most can see the star in Mike P as well.

This felt like a 3-0 for Ave in the building, but it was obvious that Mike P’s third was going to look great on camera. That definitely held true, and there’s not a round here that’s not fire. If you don’t already know, Ave is absolutely relentless with the punchlines, and no one has quite figured out how to beat him yet.

In reality, Mike’s Round 3 gave a glimpse at what might be one of the only ways to defeat a grade-A puncher: talking to him. If you hadn’t already noticed the savvy, marketable moves Mike was making, he laid it all out in Round 3, and it’s something a lot of PGs could learn from.

Dre Dennis vs. Prez Mafia

Who: Dre Dennis (Lawnside, N.J.) vs. Prez Mafia (Bronx, N.Y.)
Where: We Go Hard's "Midnight Bars 5" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Dec. 20, 2015

Yes, that Prez Mafia. This battle pits PG stepper extraordinaire Dre Dennis against Prez, the dude who seemingly retired in disgrace after being exposed for stealing a verse. Even if you’re ready to hate him for his transgressions, he’ll probably still win you over, and Dre puts up a great fight as well.

As evidenced by Steams’ relentless shimmying in the background, Prez snapped in his return. Nothing short of this would have sufficed after his dishonorable hiatus, and his rising to the occasion says great things about his future. He cooled off a bit in Round 3, but the first two rounds are packed with punches and wordplay that genuinely stand out, including the best “gun so big” line in a long time.

Dre is a figure of persistence at this point, and it’s done great things for him. He’s embraced his “PG step” stigma, taken battle after battle when fans doubted him, and most importantly, he never slacks a round. That works wonders for him here, as his third round alone is worth revisiting multiple times.

Craig Lamar vs. Rum Nitty

Who: Rum Nitty (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. Craig Lamar (Tampa, Fla.)
Where: Spit Dat Heat's "Hunger 4 More" in Decatur, Ga.
When: Dec. 12, 2015

This has “small-room classic” written all over it, as SDH battles often do. Craig Lamar never disappoints on his home platform, and Rum Nitty never disappoints, period. The punches are all over the place here, and you’ll probably rewind more than once if you have any intention of catching them all.

You know when there’s potential for a bar to be great, but the setup is a little clunky? Nitty does not have that problem at all. The way this dude packages his haymakers is mind boggling, and they hit impossibly often. As I’ve noted before, part of what makes this so effective is Nitty’s impatience: he won’t wait for the crowd to catch up, quickly moving on as they only begin to freak out from the last bar.

Craig showed up here, as he always does, but there’s really no argument against him being outclassed. He undoubtedly has star power — you’ve probably caught yourself muttering “you gon’ learn brother…” — but his chuckle-y stumbles hold him back. If he polishes up that performance, he’ll be even more of a threat.

RELATED: Don't miss our picks for Spit Dat Heat's Top 5 Battles Of 2015

Cashflo Rizzy vs. Uneek Fatal

Who: Cashflo Rizzy (Norfolk, Va.) vs. Uneek Fatal (Trenton, N.J.)
Where: Spit Dat Heat's "Hunger 4 More" in Decatur, Ga.
When: Dec. 12, 2015

Welp, Debo and Babs have a couple calls to make. They’re the owners of Queen Of The Ring, and they’d be wise to recruit either of these ladies for their next card. You may not have heard of either, but you’ll probably be checking for both of their older battles after watching this.

Uneek Fatal truly lives up to her name: she sounds a lot different from other female battlers, with a slower, more precise style that’s almost entirely based around wordplay. There’s a nice pacing to all of her rounds as she heats up, and many battle rappers could learn from her ability to simply pause momentarily to remember her material (rather than exclaiming “Fuck!”), and even that only happens once. Overall, she seems poised, and the potential couldn’t be more clear.

As for Cashflo Rizzy, she brings a bit more grit and aggression, and it’s a great counterpart to Uneek’s style. She’s a bit more animated as well, and it’s easy to picture her wiling out in the QOTR boxing ring. She starts stronger than Uneek, but good luck picking a winner, as this one will come down to personal preference as they so often do.

B Magic vs. Danja Zone

Who: B Magic (St. Louis, Mo.) vs. Danja Zone (Temple Hills, Md.)
Where: Black Ice Cartel's "The Format Vol. 1" in Milwaukee, Wis.
When: Oct. 10, 2015

To be fair, this might not have made the list if it weren’t for Jon Dough’s editing. It’s a little weird, at first, to see B Magic and Danja Zone so closely (the footage is quite zoomed in), but it gives the battle an interesting feel. On that backdrop, Magic gives a solid, if somewhat sleepy performance, and Danja heats up throughout to provide yet another room rocker.

Black Ice crowds tend to feed off the energy of the battlers themselves, and Magic admittedly didn't give them much fuel this time around (apparently it was late at night). However, his punches are still consistent enough to make the first two rounds debatable. Danja’s performance is extremely animated compared to Magic’s, but Round 3 is where he really pulls away. It’s like the dude has been getting swag lessons from Goodz ever since that fateful L, and this was the year that, like it or not, he couldn’t be beat.

Read the lyrics of this battle here.

Sno vs. Dirt

Who: Sno (Pontiac, Mich.) vs. Dirt (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Where: iBattle's "Takeover 3.5" in Syracuse, N.Y.
When: Dec. 6, 2015

As a resident of New York in the wintertime, this is a combination I know all too well. Fortunately, this battle is the exact opposite of that (really good). The mention of Sno will understandably raise eyebrows, but this is probably one of his best— and certainly one of his cleanest— performances to date. As for fan favorite Dirt, he hasn’t lost a step in his two years away from battle rap.

After getting bodied at URL's "Rookies vs. Vets" last March and having several low-viewed battles on smaller leagues (including Don’t Flop USA), former up-and-comer Sno had a lot of pressure on him to not suck. Here, he takes an amazing first step toward reversing that stigma. He’s always had bars, but they’re better constructed and sharper here, with the “dirt” flips being top notch. The amount of effort he put into this match is extremely clear — you could easily argue he took the first two rounds — and it says great things about salvaging his career.

If you know Dirt, you’re probably already a big fan. If you don’t, prepare to become one. The multi-assisted graphic imagery he spews may not be your favorite style, but you’d be hard-pressed not to be won over by the sheer skill he uses to deliver it. The first two rounds are crazy close, but that third is something special. Dirt vs. Tink Tha Demon, please.

RELATED: Check out the Top 5 iBattle Releases From 2015

Step Easy vs. Reverse Live

Who: Reverse Live (Hollister, Calif.) vs. Step Easy (Guelph, Canada)
Where: No Coast's "SnowCoast" in Minneapolis, Minn.
When: Nov. 14, 2015

It’s a strange world we live in where material from guys like Step Easy and Reverse Live is not popularly referred to as “bars.” In lieu of gun lines and street talk, they opt for imagery, unconventionally violent lines, jokes, and some personals. It’s a display totally distinct from what you’d find somewhere like URL, but that doesn’t make it any less fire.

Step Easy is actually a lot more versatile than you probably realize. He might sound a bit shaky in his first round, but trust that he only heats up from there, and every round is packed with substance. He takes a much more personal approach than Reverse, and he’s able to take “fat and lazy” content to the next level at times.

If you have a keen ear, Reverse low key has some of the best “beat you up” bars in the business, and he makes excellent use of them in every round here. It’s well known that this sort of one-note style can only work for so long, but that’s not necessarily true if you vary it in the way Reverse does. Switching between this ultra-violent character and a jokey stoner only adds to his unpredictable, slightly psychotic persona. Check out his recent near-classic with Only One for more, including another very, very dope showing from Only One.

RELATED: See more of the most slept-on battles of 2015

Did we miss any classics? Let us know in the comments below.