There was a time ago where Engaging in verbal competition within hip hop was the key factor of determining what a True emcee was made out of. If you couldn’t get into the Lions Den(as I would call it) and accept a challenge from another rapper calling you out, You were either seen as a poser or someone who didn’t respect the culture. Going through the battling aspect of hip hop was metaphorically compared to jumping into the ring in a boxing match, You sometimes had to take losses in order to sharpen up your toughness in rocking the crowd or really showcasing how strong your skill set really was. It was a platform that 95% of these rappers today were AFRAID of participating in. Going toe to toe with an opponent in the streets or on a stage is totally different from going inside of the booth with a pad and pen and writing a diss record. It takes alot of skill because you’re judging by crowd reaction, Punchline execution, Protecting your reputation, Being quick-witted on your feet along with constant practice because the crowds could be straight venomous.
People can say what they want about Eminem, That he’s went pop, That his albums have been sub-par,. Theres one thing that People would have to give him credit for and thats focusing on the truly lost aspect of hip hop which is the realm of battle rapping. In a market today where alot of these rappers are mainly focused on or blowing up because of Payola, Swagger, How much money they have or how many women they have, Eminem taking his power and creating a UFC like event to focus on the Battle Rap aspect was a BRILLIANT move for the culture. It really gives the up and coming guys who don’t have to worry about fighting the politics of the music industry a new platform to really show what they made of in a larger scale.
When Joe Budden signed up to participate within this battle, It was looked upon as a surprising. It was a first in a long time that an Established artist was gonna participate and join into the lion’s den which gave the event a much broader look than the small-time Smack DVD/URL Coverage over the past decade. Loaded Lux and Murder Mook were also the co Main Event on the card and that was booked as one of the most anticipated battles in years. The Interest level of Mook and Lux battling was a heavy draw amongst hardcore fans while the Slaughterhouse participation was gonna guarantee to draw new fans so it seemed like a great deal on paper.
What throws me off about alot of battle rap events is the fact that many of them(Especially Smack) are nothing more than talent showcases with punches thrown here and there. After you hear 20 minute rounds of an emcee bragging about how many guns he has, how much coke he be slinging or how they be on the block, You start to get bored really fast and rightfully so. One of the best “mainstream” battle events I ever seen was the 2000 Blaze Battle because we seen different emcees and signed rappers participating showing creative ways of their skill-set. If it wasn’t about rhymes going at the opponents clothes, teeth, family, broke crew, or lack of creativity and broken flows. It’s what made the battles interesting and vibrant.
The Under-cards prior to the Main events were pretty solid thanks to performances from T-Rex and Arsonal, They both proved to be worthy contenders in the near future, They both hit with a fury of hard punchlines and knew how to connect with the audiences which plays a key role in these type of battles. These emcees knew that they had to go harder to upstage the headliners. Daylyt(T-Rex’s Opponent) made some headlines by coming out with a Spawn Costume and stripping NAKED during the last round of the battle.
Loaded Lux and Murder Mook are pretty much the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquio of the Battle Rap Scene(According to Royce Da 5’9). Lux within the last few battles have been showcasing more of a conscious side. He incorporated more of the Fatherly preaching mode when it comes to the approach of his battling and it has done wonders for him(As against Calico) But it also worked heavily against him as proven against Hollow Da Don.
Murder Mook on the other hand been holding his weight within the past decade in the battle rap scene and he approached the angle of that of Stacy from Menace II Society whom quoted in the movie that “They weren’t trying to hear that Black Power shit” Lux started off pretty solid, Bringing up Mook’s flawed battling, being ignorance to the knowledge and tried the same approach of giving him a fatherly approach as he did with Calico.
Mook this time came more prepared and his rebuttals were more calculating. Case in point where Lux had his hands on his hips and he hit him with you light work like electricians… take your hands off your hips nigga listen” which was a very precisely timed punchline which set the course for the battle. Mook played on the audience whom didn’t really want to hear Lux’s preaching and proceeded to attack him based off his contradictions, his tired approach in battling, and made references to his diss record towards Busta Rhymes which may provoke future problems.
Lux were seemingly threw off his game and were just basically kicking a bunch of struggle lines. The Crowd stared to even boo Lux and give him the silent treatment which was possibly the worst performance of his battle rap career. Mook came through with the clear W proving all of his critics wrong.
Joe Budden vs Hollow Da Don
This was the main event and obviously the most talked about battle in a long time. Alot of Joe Budden Critics and haters alike were expecting to see possibly the worst slaughtering(No Pun intended) of a emcee ever in battle. Hollow seen chinks in Loaded Lux’s armor so this looked like a guaranteed slam dunk considering all the ammunition being used against Joe Budden. People thought that this could possibly go at least 5 rounds just off material alone against him.
To many surprise, Hollow didn’t really go for Joe’s jugular like many anticipated with lines here and there. Talking about the Women in his life along with Budden’s Ls takened by Wu Tang, Saigon, and him having his claim to fame of being a Pump it Up rapper. The punches were there but for some reason the way Hollow executed them(based off his style) didn’t really hit hard with the audience at times.
Joe on the other hand did pretty well considering this was the first time he was in front of the battle field. His approach was very confident and the way he executed some of his witty punchlines were some of the main reasons why alot of people started connecting with his music and put him on the platform as one of the best lyricists of the current Generation. Especially with lines such as :
Cause we had an exchange on Twitter, I was disturbed some, you asked me where’s my last hit, nigga where’s your first one?
The Battle started to get personal when Hollow literally got in Joe’s face and threatened to kick his ass for him allegedly hitting women and based off how he treats them. I personally thought that this was a personal L on Hollow’s part and this made him look very weak and simpish. This could have been the opportunity for Joe to take the battle and really chop his head off for being a sucker for love. But instead Joe kept on letting the hecklers get under his skin, Clearly inexperienced in the field, He let them get under his skin to where he literally quit on stage. He put the Mic down and walked out which led to Hollow being the winner by default.
Overall I thought the event could have been better. Its clear that these guys were caught off guard with the platform of this being a more mainstream event instead of being being on Street DVDs. Lines which would have connected with “Street niggaz” who follow these battles egregiously didn’t connect with the newer fans which were brought in with the Eminem and Slaughterhouse association. I also feel that these dudes need to stop rapping about how many guns they have, How much work the have on the block, how many women they have and focus more on their opponents. This is supposed to be a BATTLE, People want to see rappers get their heads chopped! Not a talent showcase. But despite my feelings, I’m still happy either way that this realm of hip hop is become more of a focus point than trying to get the latest club banger or Justin Beiber feature. The Fredro Starr and Keith Murray battle just may be crazier!