Mr. Mills vs. J Murda

RBE Validation Vol. 1 –

Until recently, I wasn’t really familiar with either J Murda or Mr. Mills, but lately, I’ve started to see their names come up in a lot of people’s lists for top up-and-coming battlers. With all the hype that has been building around these two, when Rare Breed Ent. (RBE) dropped a battle with Mr. Mills facing off against J Murda, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to see what they have to offer to the battle scene and why they’re starting to be ranked so highly. While it can often be disappointing to watch a matchup between two battlers that you don’t know much about and have never seen before, this battle was definitely worth the watch.

The battlers’ strengths

J Murda and Mr. Mills have very different styles, but one commonality I picked out between the two of them is that they seem to do quite well with their wordplay and schemes. While this was one of the shared strengths that stuck out to me, there are definitely a lot of differences between them. For example, in this battle at least, J Murda did a pretty good job of utilizing his delivery and projection while also showcasing his comedic timing and ability by getting the entire room to crack up on more than one occasion. In contrast, Mills stuck to a more serious tone throughout the course of the battle, and for me, I think he displayed one of the best examples of an older guy trying to give life advice to a younger dude that I’ve ever seen in a battle. The reason I say that is that many of guys who take this angle seem to focus on how the younger battlers need to get more serious about life and stop focusing on a life that’s motivated by violence and drugs, whereas Mr. Mills instead gave a more original perspective by telling J Murda to stop being so stupid and to start being more careful when pursuing these activities since “this generation” has shown higher instances of getting caught and in trouble than their predecessors who were doing many of the same things. This was an interesting contrast to J Murda’s use of violence-driven imagery which was so vivid in some parts that it left some viewers questioning in the comments section whether he had just incriminated himself in an actual murder. Overall, these talents helped to create a very entertaining matchup where the only disappointment was that both battlers had some stumbles. Still, while many viewers might be quick to discredit a battler’s ability (and the battle’s overall quality) based on a choke, I tend to see things a little bit differently.

What does a choke mean to a battle?

I often run across comments from battle rap fans where they say something along the lines of “EVERYBODY knows that you automatically lose the round if you choke.” It’s almost impossible to get battle rap fans to agree on anything, so when someone makes a blanket statement regarding a belief that is held to be true by EVERY battle rap fan, you should immediately be a bit skeptical. That being said, I will concede the idea that many (if not most) battle fans do believe that the above statement is accurate, but I have a few counterpoints to raise against this idea. Consider the following [hypothetical] scenarios:

  1. Battler #1 is spitting some serious bars with perfect delivery. If we were to assign this battler a letter grade for the round, we’d easily give him an A, but then something happens to break his concentration. Because of this, he chokes right towards the last 15% of his round, causing him to cut the round short. In comparison, Battler #2 is able to get all of his bars out, but they’re really weak, poorly structured, and get absolutely no crowd reaction, earning him a D grade for the round. Is the choke from Battler #1 enough to force him to lose the round to the subpar lyricism from Battler #2?
  2. Battler #1 does a decent job in the round, but doesn’t do anything too spectacular. Overall, he earns a C grade in the round, but has a minor choke, causing him to stumble around for a little bit before he gets back into his bars after some fair attempts at freestyling through a few lines. On the other hand, Battler #2 has a very good round, which would have qualified for an A grade until he has a major choke, which seemingly causes him to cut out part of his round. Who wins the round in this situation? Obviously, you can’t say that anyone automatically loses the round for choking since they would both lose, but then again, it’s hard to say that the chokes cancel each other out since it seems more reasonable to weigh out the severity of the chokes along with the overall quality of the rounds excluding the chokes.

I’m sorry for going off on the tangent, but after seeing some people criticize the overall quality of this or other battles just for some chokes or minor slipups, I wanted to try to discourage some fans from being so dismissive and judgmental. Altogether, for the battle between Mills and J Murda, given that the battlers were spitting some serious bars either before or after the chokes happened, those slipups seem to be offset as these two more than made up for some lost ground in their rounds. If anything, this might be a rare case where the chokes actually make the battle even more debatable, especially since they weren’t so severe that they completely derailed the rounds. In closing, I’m glad a checked out this battle as it let me discover two battlers who I’m sure have a bright future ahead of them if they can work out some of the kinks in their delivery. I think we’ll definitely see more of these two in the near future, and in fact, you can look forward to seeing J Murda battle as a representative of Team Homi at the upcoming RBE Starting Five event which will put five members of Writers Bloque against five Team Homi members, with all five battle being judged. You can watch the trailer for the Starting Five event HERE. As for who won the match between J Murda and Mr. Mills though, I’ve gone back and forth after a couple of views, but be sure to check out the battle below and share your thoughts on the outcome.

Copywrite vs. Danny Myers

Shredder vs. Raphael –

For anyone who hasn’t heard, Dizaster recently hosted a Halloween themed battle event titled “Virus” where all of the participants wore costumes and took on alter egos for the battles. While the initial feedback from most of the people involved has been mostly positive, after the event, there has been a bit of controversy which has brought into question how much (if any) of the footage would be made available to the public. The first incident involved Daylyt and Cadalack Ron (you can hear Ron’s side of the story in his Angry Fan Radio INTERVIEW HERE), while the second issue stems from questions regarding how FilmOn was associated with the event and who knew about the company’s involvement. Although some of the controversy has not been fully resolved, thankfully, it looks like (at least some of) the battles will be released, as the first battle of the event, a showdown between Danny Myers and Copywrite has just been dropped. Since all of the battles have some theme which is derived in part from the appearance of one or both of the rappers, it seems like a perfect fit for Danny Myers to play the part of Raphael, as Danny’s resemblance to the Ninja Turtles has been brought up in a number of his previous battles. Copywrite’s character in the battle is less of a typecast, but it sticks to the theme of the battle as he took on the role of the Turtles’ nemesis Shredder. In a post battle interview (as seen HERE), Copywrite and Danny both discussed the difficulties related to writing for a character based battle like this as it limits the amount and type of material that you can pull from, but at the same time, they stressed the idea of how this type of exhibition (and battle rapping in general) is a good exercise for rappers to put their lyricism to the test in attempt to better themselves as an artist and a writer. Keeping that in mind, while both performers came with strong bars and a good performance, one of the best takeaways from this battle is the fact that while this may be Copywrite’s first venture into modern era battle rap, he may be one of the first and few “studio rappers” to step in the ring and give full respect to both the sport of battle rap and its competitors. While other rappers of this nature have stressed the idea that a high monetary incentive would be a requirement to encourage them to battle, Copywrite suggests that most of these individuals are actually too scared to put their reputation and lyricism on the line against battle rappers. Given that Copywrite holds battle rap in such high regard, hopefully he will continue to perform in battles going forward and perhaps encourage other mainstream artists to put their pens to the test against some of the greats of battle rap. In the meantime though, you can watch the Raphael vs. Shredder battle below and check out more information about Virus, including the full flyer for the event, at THIS LINK.

Marvwon vs. Caustic

Showdown Between Friends at BOTZ –

When two friends decide to battle one another, things can sometimes get way out of hand when one or both of them try to get the upper hand in the battle by utilizing some very personal information that they have acquired about their opponent through their friendship. However, in some cases, a battle between two friends can also lead to some good laughs and great entertainment if the battlers choose to focus less on attacking their friend on a personal level and instead opt to tease, poke fun at, and roast one another. A perfect example of this is the battle that went down between Caustic and Marvwon at the Battle of the Zae (BOTZ) 4 event hosted by Dirtbag Dan. As Marvwon and Caustic state during the battle, the idea for them to battle one another actually came up at the KOTD Back 2 Basements “event” that went down a few months prior when Caustic faced off against Pass and Marvwon went against Rone. While there, the two apparently discussed the possibility of facing off against one another, and this discussion seemed to develop pretty much perfectly from that event as the vibe of this battle aligns very well with the battles that went down in Back 2 Basements in that it took place in a very lighthearted atmosphere with both the rappers and the crowd laughing and having a good time throughout. While the battle as a whole is pretty entertaining and funny to watch, its pretty clear that Caustic took the win as Marvwon had a few stumbles in both his delivery and material, while Caustic came with back to back to back punches as he delivered some of the best hitting fat jokes in battle rap since Rone’s third round against Big T at Blackout 5.

 

 

Gjonaj

Born vs. Gjonaj

The Return of Gjonaj –

Prior to his PG battle in the URL, not many people were familiar with Gjonaj, but after his aggressive and amazingly lyrical performance against the Texan Gutta (BATTLE HERE), Gjonaj started to create a buzz for himself. Unfortunately, while many fans and fellow battlers were quite impressed with Gjonaj’s ability, URL went on to wait about eight more months after the battle took place before releasing it to the public in March of this year, which meant much of the buzz had died down prior to its release. Since the battle dropped though, Gjonaj has managed to gain more adoration and hype, but has remained inactive in the battle scene. As he has since explained, he had difficulty coming to an agreement to agree to any new battles, at least in part, due to an exclusivity contract he had with the URL. All of that has now changed as Gjonaj made his return to the battle rap arena on the Bar Wars platform in his home state of Michigan against Born. As another battler who is relatively unknown, Born actually had three really strong rounds, but Gjonaj seemed to give a more convincing performance as he continued to impress with his unconventional delivery and writing ability.

While the performance from both Born and Gjonaj is likely to please fans of either and create new followers for them as well, KOTD’s Organik and Gully TK were both in attendance for the battle and seemed to be equally impressed as well. With those two scouting the battle, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see Gjonaj, Born, or both on a KOTD card in the near future, and with regards to who Gjonaj might face off against next, there seem to be a few viable options. For starters, he said that he was previously given the option to battle Danja Zone, but aside from Danja Zone, two other KOTD rappers have already expressed interest in battling Gjonaj: Dizaster (see his shout-out HERE) and fellow up-and-comer Psycoses (SEEN HERE). For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what develops, but in the meantime, there’s definitely some replay value in watching the Born and Gjonaj battle a few times to catch all of the bars and elaborate wordplay:

 

Tricky P vs. HFK - KOTD

Tricky P vs. HFK Rematch

Rematch of the Funny Guys –

After almost seven years of hosting events and throwing battles, KOTD has seen many of its battlers come and go over the years, so it’s surprising to come across a GZ battle that has two emcees that were once considered to be a couple of the top tier funny guys in KOTD going head to head in a battle that has less than 10,000 views after being up on YouTube for nearly three months now. As Organik states before the battle, HFK and Tricky P actually battled one another at the very first KOTD event, so this battle is actually a rematch between two close friends who battled one another six and a half years earlier. While these two haven’t been headlining any KOTD events for some time, they still clearly are able to enjoy putting on a show and do a pretty good job of doing so as well. While some may criticize these two for being considered more “comedians” and less “rappers,” as HFK states in his closer, “…it’s entertainment over everything,” and these two certainly deliver in that regard.

Tricky P vs. HFK (Rematch):

 

PH vs. Yung Casper

PH vs. Yung Casper

PH’s Final Battle –

Honestly, this battle probably wouldn’t be very noteworthy under normal circumstances, but given that this is the last battle that PH competed in before he passed away, I do think it is worth checking out at least out of support for him, his legacy, and the things that he’s done for battle rap. Surprisingly, this battle between PH and Yung Casper took place in KOTD’s GZ (Ground Zero) league just a couple weeks before PH passed away, which has led many people to comment on the video that it seems odd that this battle was even happening given the opponent that PH was facing and the fact that it was such a low profile event compared to many of the others that have gone done this year. If you think about it though, these circumstances help to show exactly how involved in the growth of the battle rap culture Pumpkinhead was. It seems like so many battlers can become divas sometimes by always pushing for more money, bigger exposure, and more high profile opponents at major events, but when you think about the fact that PH was willing to battle someone who most people will skip over if they watch the video (seriously, Yung Casper’s voice is very annoying to listen to) in a league where many of the videos average a few thousand views each, that just helps to show that PH was really dedicated to helping the battle rap culture grow. Even if you don’t watch the full battle, I’d say that the video is worth checking out for the dedication video alone that precedes the battle, and if you feel inclined to do so, please feel free to visit the link below to make a donation to the PH memorial fund in order to honor and support a man who has played such an important role in the growth and development of the battle rap culture:

PH vs. Yung Casper battle (with tribute):

PH Memorial Fund