Black Ice Cartel War Season

Black Ice Returns to Brooklyn

While many leagues try to build up hype for their events over the course of weeks or even months prior to the events taking place, I was recently caught off guard to see that Black Ice Cartel dropped the trailer for its upcoming War Season event a mere five days before the event is set to go down. The event will take place on Saturday, July 30, 2016, and will be the second time that the Milwaukee-based Cartel will hold an event in Brooklyn, after its Format 2 event, went down there at the end of last year. As War Season was announced so unexpectedly with little time to build up hype around the matches, I assumed the card wouldn’t have many (if any matches) worth looking out for, but it seems that the suddenness was likely in part due to the fact that there won’t be a pay-per-view for the event as the league is trying to limit bootlegging issues that have come up with previous events. Surprisingly, in addition to featuring some recognizable battlers who have been feature on previous Black Ice events, the event will also feature a couple of big names who will be making their league debuts at War Season.

WAR SEASON MAIN EVENT

The headliner matchup for War Season will feature Charlie Clips against Qleen Paper, and while this match could likely have some potential under the right circumstances, I predict that Qleen will pick up an easy 3-0. Over the last year or so, Clips has started to show signs that he doesn’t have as much passion for the sport of battle rap lately, as evidenced in his lackluster performance from his latest match against Rum Nitty (BATTLE HERE), and many fans have started to return the favor by having equally less interest in Charlie’s performances. When you consider that and then see that Qleen has continued to evolve his writing over the last couple of years and that Black Ice Cartel has become his home league, I don’t have much confidence in Clips taking a single round of this matchup. Still, Clips might get lucky and get a round if he has some really good freestyles and/or Qleen chokes (as he’s been prone to do in the past), but even then, I still don’t think Clips will give enough to get the victory.

INTER-GENDER MATCHUP

Next on the lineup is an inter-gender match between C3 and DNA. While many fans were recently calling for DNA to cut back on the number of battles he was booking in order to reduce the oversaturation, he has recently started to receive more positive feedback from his battles, including one of his latest performances as the surprise opponent against Dizaster (BATTLE HERE) in a rematch of one of the most viewed battles of all time. In comparison to DNA though, I’m admittedly not as familiar with C3, but while I may be in the minority on this, I actually liked her performance against Tay Roc (BATTLE HERE). I know most fans think Tay Roc bodybagged C3, but personally, I’m not a huge Tay Roc fan to begin with, and I wasn’t very impressed with what he was saying compared to what C3 brought to the ring in that matchup. Overall, it’s hard to predict DNA battles given how hit or miss he can be, but I think he’ll likely get the victory 2-1.

CARTEL DEBUTS

QP and Danja Zone are no strangers to the Cartel stage, but both of their opponents will be making their Cartel debuts at War Season. First up, QP will be taking on Marvwon in what I see as an interesting style clash as QP relies largely on intricate wordplay, while Marvwon has a more laidback and direct style that often leans heavily on jokes. Similarly, Danja Zone, who is regarded as being another battler with one of the best pens in battle rap, will be taking on someone who is known for his often animated performances: Big T. Both of these matchups are difficult to predict and will likely be difficult to determine a winner even after they are finished as the overall judgment will probably come down to personal preference, so I’ll simply have to predict a 2-1 either way for both matchups. Again, there will be no PPV for this event, so make sure you’re subscribed to the Black Ice YouTube channel to get any updates on the battles when they drop. In the meantime though, you can check out the full matchup card and trailer for War Season event below.

Black Ice Cartel War Season matchup card

  • Charlie Clips vs. Qleen Paper
  • DNA vs. C3
  • Marvwon vs. QP
  • Danja Zone vs. Big T
  • Killa B vs. Heartless
  • Bankhead vs. Re Up Snub
  • 100k vs. Kyd Slade
  • Capboy Hurt vs. Tapedeck
  • G Face vs. Aura
  • Da Example vs. Who Sane

RBE Starting 5

Team Homi vs. Writers Bloque –

Over the last few years, there has been a major shift to where the vast majority of battles are no longer judged, so when RBE recently announced that its upcoming event, Starting 5 (going down Saturday, February 27, 2016), will feature five matches which will all be judged, it seems like that should be enough to already catch the attention of fans. In addition to the matches being judged though, all of the battles at Starting 5 will be made up of battlers from two groups: Team Homi and Writers Bloque. Personally, I think this looks like a very interesting idea as it elevates the competitive aspect of the battles as the battlers are not only putting their own reputation on the line, but also that of their crew.

For the most part, I actually do think that it’s a good thing that most battles are not formally judged nowadays based on the fact that judged battles can sometimes lose their replay value and the subjectivity of judging battles can lead to controversial or wrong decisions being made with regards to the winner. However, one of the major downfalls to not having battles judged is that it means there is less on the line for the battlers, which can lead to some people showing up with half-assed performances just to pick up a check. Because of this, I think the format of the Starting 5 event will perhaps help to reinvigorate some of the lost love that some battlers have for the competition aspect of battle rap, and depending on the success of this event, I think we can look forward to seeing more events like this (from RBE or other battle leagues) in the future. Something else that will be interesting to see from Starting 5 though is how the individual judging will play out. ARP has said that there will be different methods of judging utilized for each battle, with some being based on the votes from just a couple of people, while others will be opened up to the fans in attendance. Ultimately, the results of some judged matchups might come down to the individual preferences of the people judging them, but for my prediction, I expect Writers Bloque to come out of Starting 5 with the victory by winning 3 of the 5 battles, if not 4. Be sure to check out the full trailer for the Starting 5 event, in addition to the full matchup card, below.

Starting 5 matchup card (Writers Bloque vs. Team Homi)

  • Danny Myers vs. Swave Sevah
  • B Magic vs. Money Bagz
  • Big Kannon vs. Xcel
  • JC vs. J Murda
  • Ooops vs. Mackk Myron

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.

Black Ice Cartel: Format 2

Black Ice Cartel: The Format 2

Black Ice Comes to NY: The Format 2 –

On this Sunday, December 10, 2015, one of the best up-and-coming battle leagues, Black Ice Cartel (based in  Milwaukee), will host The Format 2 event, the league’s first event in New York. This event has some great potential for some classic small room battles, with the headlining matchup of the night featuring Charlie Clips and Danny Myers. In a promotional video for their matchup (SEEN HERE) Charlie stated that this will likely be one of only two matches that he will take throughout the course of 2016, which seems a bit unlikely given how much he overbooked himself with big matchups back to back to back in 2015, but then again, perhaps it’s because of this overbooking that Charlie needs to take a break for a while and focus on some other things besides battling. Assuming that what he says is true though, we should expect to see Charlie put a lot of effort into this battle since he shouldn’t have any other battles distracting him, but given his reputation for showing up without three full rounds, compounded with the fact that this is a smaller event on a smaller league, I would be extremely surprised if Charlie doesn’t depend on freestyles to get him through at least the majority of one round, if not more. On the other hand, Danny Myers similarly takes on many battles in various leagues, but unlike Clips, Myers always seems to put 100% of this energy into writing and preparing for any given performance. When you combine this with the fact that Charlie Clips is considered by many people to be one of the GOATs of battle rap, a title Danny has expressed many times that he wants to achieve himself, you can pretty much guarantee that Myers will show up to the battle for more motivated (and prepared) than Clips. Given that, I would predict Myers to walk away with a 2-1 victory.

Who has the best pen in battle rap?

Following his battle with 100 Bulletz at KOTD’s Back to Basics 2 event in June 2015, QP did an interview in which he criticized and called out Chilla Jones (INTERVIEW HERE), stating that Chilla essentially modeled his style after QP and that Chilla should acknowledge that fact. Most people would agree that for both Chilla and QP, their primary strengths are their pen game, but in the past, both battlers have been criticized for their lack of performance compared to their lyricism. While both have shown some noticeable improvements in this area over the last year or so, I would argue that Chilla has made much bigger strides in this area, even claiming one of the biggest bodybags of 2015 against Prep (BATTLE HERE). Since then though, QP has increased his interest in a battle with Chilla, by first calling him out multiple times during his battle against Bonnie Godiva (BATTLE HERE), and he then recently took things a step further when he called into the Angryfan Radio and accused Chilla of stealing material from other battlers who are lesser known (INTERVIEW HERE).  Perhaps the biting accusations will give QP the motivation and ammunition he needs in order to take the win (he has said that he’ll retire if he loses a single round to Chilla), but with the performance advantage, I would give the edge to Chilla for the win. You can see Chilla’s thoughts on the matchup as well as the full matchup card below, but to see what QP is referencing in the biting allegations, check out the original scheme from Kansas City rapper 58 Names HERE and Chilla’s similar “divine scheme” HERE.

Black Ice Cartel Format 2 matchup card:

  • Charlie Clips vs. Danny Myers
  • Danja Zone vs. DNA
  • Qleen Paper vs. K-Shine
  • QP vs. Chilla Jones
  • Gwitty vs. Hazey
  • Capboy vs. Pvper
  • Example vs. Jai Smoove

 

Go-Rilla Warfare: The Crown 2

The Crown 2: 2015’s Biggest Midwest Battle Event

Despite the fact that the Midwest has produced a number of top tier battle rappers over the years, the battle scene in the Midwest is often overshadowed by the more prominent presence of battle events that take place on the east and west coasts. Still, while the coasts have hold some memorable battles and host some entertaining events over the year, there have been a large number of events, albeit on a much larger scale, that have continued to go down in the Midwest. Now, this weekend, on November 21, 2015, Go-Rilla Warfare will host The Crown 2 event, which will not only be the biggest Midwest event of the year, but it will also be packed with some of the promising matches of the year, regardless of location.

It’s showtime for Tsu Surf

Aye Verb is looked at by many battle fans as being one of the godfathers of the Midwest battle rap movement as he is one of the first battlers to bring attention to the region and its battle scene. Through his rise in battle rap, he was also one of the first Midwest rappers to travel to and have high profile matches in the east coast. Over the years, many have started to say that Aye Verb has fallen off and is no longer as relevant as he was once, and this was emphasized even more after his last big battle when he took on and lost rather decisively to K-Shine in their battle at N.O.M.E. 5 (BATTLE HERE). On the other hand, his opponent at The Crown 2, Tsu Surf, has continued to have strong performances and debatable matchups over the last few years, so most people I’ve heard from seem to be giving the edge to Tsu Surf for this battle. Personally, I think that Aye Verb at his best would beat Tsu Surf pretty decisively, especially considering that The Crown 2 is taking place in the Midwest, which would seemingly give Verb the advantage with the crowd. Additionally, the fact that the battle is going down in Chicago could factor against Surf since he has never had a major battle outside of the east coast, but given the trend that Verb has been on over the last couple of years, unless he comes fully prepared and ready to prove something, I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses 2-1, if not 3-0 to Surf.

Mirror match for Charlie Clips?

Charlie Clips has had a very busy year, taking on some of the most prestigious competitors in battle rap, including Hollow Da Don, Loaded Lux, and Shotty Horroh, so it’s difficult to say if he will approach his battle at The Crown 2 with 100% focus. This is especially true when considering that his match with Shotty was just one week prior to The Crown 2, and it was then followed up with an unplanned impromptu match with Quill (see Clips and Quill discuss that match in an INTERVIEW HERE). This can be further emphasized by the fact that Charlie’s opponent, Big Kannon, is someone that is perhaps not as well known by some of the newer fans as he has not been featured very prominently on Charlie’s primary battle grounds of the URL over the last few years. Putting that aside though, Kannon has had some classic performances on the URL stage in the past, and he has continued to have some entertaining battles as a member of Writers Bloque, including his recent matchup with fellow Bloque member JC on RBE (BATTLE HERE). Altogether, the match between Charlie Clips and Big Kannon has the potential to be a classic as the two actually have some similarities between them with regards to not only their appearance (which Charlie references in The Crown 2 trailer), but also their gift of combining their bars with their ability to freestyle, rebuttal, joke around, and still perform with aggression. Historically, Charlie Clips has had some classic performances on the Go-Rilla Warfare stage, including his battles with JC (BATTLE HERE) and Hitman Holla (BATTLE HERE), so the fact that the battle is taking place in Big Kannon’s hometown of Chicago and in his league may not be enough to ensure that Kannon will get the win over Clips. Still, when you also consider the fact that Kannon may have more time to focus and prepare for the match as well as the fact that he seemingly has more to prove than Charlie does, I would favor Kannon to win. Check out the trailer and full matchup card for Go-Rilla Warfare’s The Crown 2 event below, and feel free to share your thoughts on the event and battles in the comments section.

Go-Rilla Warfare Crown 2 matchup card

  • Aye Verb vs. Tsu Surf
  • Charlie Clips vs. Big Kannon
  • Math Hoffa vs. Bigg K
  • Lady Luck vs. O’fficial
  • Daylyt vs. O-Red
  • Ill Will vs. K-Shine
  • John John Da Don vs. Young Kannon
  • JC vs. Born
  • Xcel vs. Heavy Half

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.