Mr. Mills vs. J Murda

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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.

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