The Top 10 Rap Battles From February

Our picks for the best battles of February, featuring battles from U Dubb, URL, KOTD, Colosseum Battle League and others.

In our last edition of Battles of the Month, we noted that January was an uncharacteristically quiet month for battle rap releases, and in many ways, February was much the same. While it was somewhat slow we still got a highly anticipated grudge match years in the making, strong releases from battle rap heavyweights URL and KOTD, and a dope match-up between two OGs of the West Coast scene.

Hitman Holla vs. Shotgun Suge

Who: Shotgun Suge (Newark, N.J.) vs. Hitman Holla (St. Louis, Mo.)
Where: U Dubb's "High Stakes 2" in Elizabeth, N.J.
When: Jan. 22, 2017

This didn't quite reach the surreal heights fans expected, but it's still a dope battle, which is more than you can say about a lot of the most anticipated match-ups these days. The majority of fans in the building had Shotgun Suge 2-1 in an upset, but now that the footage has dropped, Hitman Holla seems to have swayed public opinion in his favor with a slept-on second round and a slightly more consistent third.

Hitman has had some unforgettable opening rounds, and although this is nowhere near his best, it brings a familiar energy that's always gonna be tough to beat. Despite some solid material from Suge, Round 1 clearly goes to Hitman, per usual. In the building, Hitman's second fell surprisingly flat, but the footage seems to have given it some life. Even on camera though, his angle about Suge's character fluctuating in and out of Jersey comes off ... uninspired. You might give Hitman Round 2 if you're feeling generous, but Suge's pacing is stronger and frankly just more fun to watch. 1-1.

Unfortunately for Suge, it's even more clear on cam than it was in the building that his third is cut slightly short, preventing him from edging the battle that he was on pace to steal. What does this mean for Suge? Plenty of fans said the battle would be an overall W if he didn't get killed. He didn't, so is that the case? He's got URL's newest star, Ave, at NOME7 in April, so it seems his momentum has stayed steady.

Jaz The Rapper vs. E Hart

Who: Jaz The Rapper (Brooklyn, N.Y.) vs. E Hart (Yonkers/Bronx, N.Y.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 4" in New York, N.Y.
When: Jan. 28, 2017

After her two-year hiatus following her loss to O'fficial, this comeback battle felt like a glorious triumph for Jaz in the building. As usual though, E Hart's more understated material simply can't be denied, so things get quite a bit more complicated on cam. This particular match-up has been in demand for years, with good reason, as both Jaz and Hart prove why they're still two of the most respected female battlers.

Yes, it's clear that the crowd's excitement to see Jaz back on URL might have affected this battle, but as she herself pointed out, you can't really blame her for that. It's not as if the crowd covers up her mistakes or heckles Hart, and there's unquestionably a strong argument for Jaz taking the first and third (even though Dad The Rapper damn near choked).

Still, Hart is in a great position having remained consistent in a tough room, and plenty are now giving her the battle despite crowd reaction. It's become kinda trendy to say the person who obviously lost won once the footage drops, but thankfully this is just a legitimately debatable clash.

For more on this battle, check our full recap of URL's "Born Legacy 4."

The Saurus vs. TOPR

Who: The Saurus (Las Vegas, Nev.) vs. Topr (Asheville, N.C.)
Where: Counter Productive's "Battle of the Zae 7" in San Jose, Calif.
When: Jan 28, 2017

This match-up came out of nowhere, but it couldn't be more logical. TOPR doesn't pop up in the ring often these days — you're more likely to find him making music like on his excellent new album — but he's a legend of the West Coast freestyle scene, just like The Saurus. More importantly, TOPR clearly hasn't lost a step in the written format, and Saurus evidently anticipated that.

This is a bar-fest featuring a tirelessly enthusiastic crowd and priceless reactions from Head I.C.E, and it really doesn't get much better than that. Saurus has a couple minor stumbles, but his material is predictably sharp, and TOPR's back-to-back punches more than make up for any lulls. Even if you've never heard of him (maybe especially if you haven't), some of these haymakers from TOPR might shock you.

Tay Roc vs. Charron

Who: Tay Roc (Baltimore, Md.) vs. Charron (Ottawa, Canada)
Where: U Dubb's "High Stakes 2" in Elizabeth, N.J.
When: Jan. 22, 2017

Both these dudes' battles tend to be pretty polarizing, and this one is not much different, but that's by no means a bad thing. They both always seem to give 100%, and if you're into style clashes, there's plenty to like here. The consensus seems to be 2-1 Charron, taking the first and edging the third, but you could definitely argue that Tay Roc's Round 3 deserved more reaction than it got.

Regardless of how you feel about Charron typecasting himself as "The Smack Killer" — I cringed a little just typing that — his resume is getting pretty ridiculous. He has virtually no clear losses and continues to reel in some of battle rap's biggest names, even if he doesn't always get them at their best. Roc, on the other hand, has been a fan favorite for some time now but may be endangering himself in the eyes of some fans with how many battles he's been taking lately. Still, he's yet to phone it in even once, and you might edge him the W here.

Madflex vs. Ness Lee

Who: Madflex (Richmond, Calif.) vs. Ness Lee (Atlanta, Ga.)
Where: KOTD's "Battles At The Bunker" in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Dec. 10, 2016

Just about every Bunker match-up has been stylistically on point, and the unorthodox approaches these emcees bring to the table do a lot for this battle. Whereas some of Madflex's more dense patterns might go unnoticed against more direct opponents, Ness' off-kilter wordplay makes a perfect foil. That said, this is borderline "putting on a clinic" material from Ness, whose pacing is noticeably stronger in every round.

For a more in-depth analysis, check our BATB recap.

Head I.C.E vs. Dunn D

Who: Head I.C.E (Harlem, N.Y.) vs. Dunn D (Hobart, Tasmania)
Where: Real Talk Battle League's "Total Eclipse" in Brisbane, Australia
When: Jan 21, 2017

The talent pool down under is relatively small these days, so if you were to call someone the Australian Head I.C.E, it might actually be Dunn D. That's not saying much, but naturally the resulting combination here is hugely entertaining, as neither emcee bothers to depart from his usual style in the slightest and the attentive crowd loves every minute of it.

At the moment, Dunn D is a clear standout in Australia in terms of being able to hang with international competition. He 3-0'd Realiztic on KOTD, had a low-key classic with Shuffle-T on Don't Flop, and now managed to make every round with Head I.C.E debatable. His style is unpredictable in that he toggles constantly between humor and aggression, at times so that the crowd laughs when they probably never expected to. It all works though, and it leaves a lasting impression if you can understand the thick Aussie accent.

As for I.C.E, he's his usual self in this battle, which somehow always seems to be a perfect fit for any crowd. That should come in handy at "Blackout 7," where he'll be looking to snatch the KOTD chain from reigning champion Rone. Will he manage it? Let us know in the comments below.

Glueazy vs. Nu Jerzy Twork

Who: Nu Jerzey Twork (Trenton, N.J.) vs. Glueazy (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Where: URL's "Born Legacy 4" in Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: Jan 28, 2017

Another battle that clearly went one way in the building but now has become more split on camera, this one features two of URL's top prospects. Twork recently caught some heat for "amoxicillin/uh, mocks a ceiling" (uh, what?), and his showing versus Dougy was far more memorable despite being messier than this one. Still, he brings just enough to arguably outdo Glueazy here, who could have stolen the battle had he been ever so slightly more polished.

Even if it's not a round-ruiner in your eyes, it's a real shame that Glu stumbled in Round 2, because it was shaping up to be the best round of his career. He was barring consistently as always, but more importantly, he was showing true versatility in the way he was able to clown Twork and over-perform his more ridiculous punches. Ironically enough, although a fair number of fans noted ahead of time that Twork's performance would need to be free of any stumbles, his consistency probably won him this battle, and his instant slogan ("I'M STRAPPED IN!" etc.) definitely didn't hurt.

For even more on this battle, revisit our BL4 recap.

Geechi Gotti vs. Saynt

Who: Geechi Gotti (Compton, Calif.) vs. Saynt (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Where: KOTD's "Battles At The Bunker" in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Dec. 10, 2016

Geechi Gotti earned Performance Of The Night back in our recap of KOTD's "Battles At The Bunker" with this showing, somewhat overshadowing the also promising newcomer Saynt. Even though Geechi's performance is far from perfect, featuring some awkward pauses and round endings, you'll quickly see why his demeanor and cold lines stand out in the sea of up-and-comers.

Saynt's Round 1 is extremely strong, actually round of the night thus far at the time, but his performance fizzles out a bit from there. After the first, which boasts some original if not exactly groundbreaking punches, his wordplay seems to settle into more conventional territory, but Saynt clearly still has the ability to snap all the way through his next showing. Once he clears up the stumbles, Geechi should be able to use his street talk approach to do the very same thing with maybe even more gusto.

TeeWhy vs. Cable Guy

Who: Cable Guy (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) vs. TeeWhy (Union City, N.J.)
Where: Colosseum Battle League's "Uncrowned Kings 2" in New York, N.Y.
When: Jan. 15, 2017

He hasn't yet gained the notoriety of most battle rappers who announce their "retirement," but TeeWhy claims this to be his final battle. Even considering how few people have probably heard of Cable Guy, it turned out to be a hell of a way to bow out. The only true "small league" battle to make this month's list, every round of this one is fire on either side. That's particularly true for Cable Guy, who is not retiring and should definitely be booked again ASAP.

TRIGGER WARNING. Like a lot of good small room battles, the only complaint one might have with this one is its length, of course brought on by a highly reactive crowd (a phenomenon fans delight in complaining about). But as anyone who's attended a battle will tell you, there's simply no containing the energy in this kind of environment when the performances are this good. Is it an annoying trend? Sure, but don't let it have you missing great battles. Maybe just use your arrow keys to skip a little crowd reaction if you have to and we'll all probably survive.

The Saurus vs. Aye Verb

Who: The Saurus (Las Vegas, Nev.) vs. Aye Verb (St. Louis, Mo.)
Where: KOTD's "Battles At The Bunker" in Los Angeles, Calif.
When: Dec. 10, 2016

Billed as "Two-Time Versus Showtime," the marquee is probably a little misleading on this one. It's not an epic clash between legends in the sense that it's long and tense; it's more of a lighthearted back-and-forth that's perfect for a lunch break. That said, despite his very strictly 90-second rounds, Verb is in solid form here, and Saurus has some standout moments despite, sigh, more stumbles.

To be clear, having two battles make the monthly list is something of an achievement, but the fact that Saurus has been stumbling at least once or twice in all of his recent battles (and had a much longer, checked-his-phone choke that was substantially shortened for this official release) should still raise some eyebrows. He's undoubtedly one of the most consistent if not the most consistent of all time, but nobody's invincible.

As for Verb, he also recently announced his "retirement" from battle rap (I always put that in quotes because retiring from battle rap is a weird concept in itself and people typically return even after "retiring" with few exceptions, but that's a topic for another piece). Regardless, it would be nice to see him close out the show with a few more to-the-point performances like this one with vets he hasn't crossed paths with yet.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackson was too humble to include himself on this list, but hot damn,'s lead editorialist turned into something of a rising star, first in Beastmode NY and now in the newly relaunched iBattle. Check out his solo debut after his opponent no-showed and his first battle below. - BRC]

Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.