According to Okayplayer, this multi-year deal that Drake has signed with the streaming platform Caffeine founded by Ben Keighran should not come as a surprise. Drake has dabbled in battle rap as a fan, appearing as a guest at the 2015 NOME 5 card, where Wild ‘N Out’s Charlie Clips battled Hollow da Don. A few years later, the Toronto rapper linked up Ninja on another streaming company called Twitch and shifted how many saw gaming. So much… 600,000 views… and actually broke their viewing audience record.
This collab is going to be something special. The Caffeine deal will give you hot battles for free, almost working with the already successful app that not only has battles but mini-docs on their star battlers and interstitials like I’m Just Asking.
URL will have their first event with Drake and Caffeine on February 29th in Atlanta with a card named Genesis. How apropos! This really is the start of a whole new bible in the culture.
Most of you are too young to remember when Billie Jean King battled Bobby Riggs in the epic “Battle of The Sexes” tennis match in 1973. In this historic contest, King beat Riggs in a brutal 6–4, 6–3, 6–3 victory. He was so devastated that he wanted a rematch. King never gave him that satisfaction. He actually admitted that he was embarrassingly ill-prepared to battle her… he underestimated her because she was a girl.
So often men underestimate women when they are put head-to-head in competition. That kinda is what Roxanne Shanté had to deal with when she slayed everyone from QB to Kings County. It is definitely what comes to mind with this card, Royalty.
Queen of The Ring and the Ultimate Rap League have partnered for the first time to bring forth some of the top ladies in battle rap to battle against the top men in the culture.
Starting off the card is Deisel vs. Chetta ad Ms. Murk vs. Casey Jay. The first two single-sex battles at the event will prove to be entertaining. Deisel has a history of slick-talking while Chetta on the flip will take that slick-talk and raise it with a bar or two. This will be sure to war. Another war might be Ms. Murk and Casey Jay who have proven themselves titans in the ring. Murk’s disrespect can get to such a high level that you might turn purple with blush from how easily it falls from her lips. But Casey is ain’t the one for it. Don’t let her pretty face fool you, she can hold her own. That Texas spitfire may be up to the challenge to rock with old girl, Murk.
The next battle on the card will be a two on two with Brooklyn’s Murda Ave. (Cortez and Ms. Fit) vs. The Mafia (Geechi Gotti and Coffee Brown). It will be interesting to see how these two mixed-gendered teams will pan out. Closer than siblings, we can’t wait to see how Ms. Fit and Cortez, Brooklyn Finest, will fair against the West Coast King and Queen, Gotti and Brown.
Who remembers when Tori Doe was the young kid in QOTR that put fear in the hearts of those femcees looking to grab the crown off her Harlem head? This would be the best pairing because Chess now is who Tori was back then. Chess has made a name for himself (with a 2019 unmerciful killing spree), it seems like this might be an easy win for him. But… remember Billie Jean King. Tori, with her unorthodox cadence and illmatic phathom-ization of a mind, could equally match or outdo the CakyLyfe king. Not easily… Chess is a beast… but maybe. This has the potential to be the battle of the night.
O’fficial is battling Rum Nitty. Just let that resonate. One half of the Bardashians and also one of the most vicious rappers in the culture will go up against The Source’s 2017 Unsigned Hype from Arizona, Rum Nitty. This is going to be a barfest and with a slight edge to O with her performance. Wait… let’s backtrack… Nitty has been upping his performance over the last few years… This also has the potential to be the battle of the night.
Rounding off the card might be the 40 B.A.R.R.S. vs. Ms. Hustle battle (hope the rumors are not true).
What can be said? 40 can arguably claim to be the Queen of Queen of the Ring (Team 40 says it all the time). Hustle, in her own right, can claim a title as the First Lady of URL. Hustle will be her aggressive self, with angles for days. 40 will be intricately weaving her bars like a professor. The streets vs. the scholar… This will be such a cat-fight. We will see who wins.
This card is a great way to start the year. A wonderful look for QOTR and a progressive look for its brother league, URL. Royalty will happen next week, Jan. 11, 2020 at The Top in Richmond, VA. If you can get on it, be sure to catch the PPV on www.WatchBattleLive.com.
But wait… not so fast… Royalty has a second day on the card and it is just as fire as the first day.
A new year, a new decade and for The Source that means a few new lists.
As we prepare for another year of outstanding coverage of battle rap culture, we pause to salute those who have made an exceptional mark throughout last year. But before we get into all of that… before the culture gets mad because their favorite emcee was left off the list… before people accuse us of being biased and no knowing what we are talking about… before battle rap outlets throw shots because we are treading in their territory… we have painstakingly created five superlative lists tipping our hats to those emcees that have invested their blood, sweat, and tears into the culture, making at least our staff and readers actually want to tune in.
This time it’s not just the “Top 20 Battle Rappers of the Year” and the “Top Battle Rap Events,” but it is also the “Top 10 Impact Makers in Battle Rap,” the “Top 5 Battle Rap Media Outlets” and those that we consider “Catalyst Superstars: Top 20 Battle Rappers of The Decade.”
Honorable Mentions: Bill Collector, Ace Amin, Dre Denis, Don Morino, O-Red, Shooney da Rapper (again), Swamp and Mike P.
TOP BATTLE RAP EVENTS
(1) NOME 9
(2) Summer Impact
(3) Volume 5
(5) Pearly Gates 3
Honorable Mentions: Born Legacy 8, Ladies and Gents, Town Business 2, Banned Legacy 1 and Respect the Shooter.
TOP 10 IMPACT MAKERS IN BATTLE RAP
(1) Cassidy:The way he impacted the cultured with his promotion and sheer presence.
(2) John John Da Don:“Go Get It!” Showed that just because you tell us you are ready, doesn’t mean you are (no matter how much they push you to the front.)
(3) Ms. Fit: Arguably body of the year; made everyone pay attention to female battle rap again… Also history-making battle (fastest to hit 1M on QOTR YouTube channel). Debo send her some flowers and an additional check.
(4) Goodz:Broke Cassidy’s undefeated record. STATEMENT MADE TO INDUSTRY RAPPERS: Just because you think you can come into the battle rap arena you can’t. This is a whole different ballgame.
(5) DNA:Won 25K on Live on BET, showing the industry the slickness of modern-day emcee battle culture.
(6) Tsu Surf: Being battle rap’s biggest superstar/ mogul. Books (House in Virginia made Amazon Urban AA Lit #1, Seven25 charting record with single “What Changed” on radio mid-level HOT 97 rotation, Blood Cuzzins over 5 Million Streams on YouTube, Spotify and Apple in 3 weeks and still most sought after battler in the industry.
(7) Chess: After Tsu Surf got locked up and Tay Roc was in need of a partner, with less than two weeks prep stepped in and redeemed himself fully by slaying two dragons. No one remembers that he used to throw-up during battles now… all we remember is them damn shell cases and how he put fear in the eyes of two bonafide Mt. Rushmore candidates.
(8) URL APP: Game Changer having all other leagues doing power meetings and going back to the drawing board. The move made them free and independent from YouTube and allowing them to monetize fully their brand through what appears to be a network producing original programming, high impact battles and giving real estate to smaller leagues. The trues GOATs of the industry.
(9) My Expert Opinion:Math Hoffa shows that a battle rapper can transition out of the performance space and find a comfortable seat as a host on the premiere battle rap talk show. Takes a page from NORE’s Drink Champs and Joe Budden’s self-titled podcast, he, HipHopIsReal’s Knowledge tha God and Ms. Fit produces a weekly show with celebrity guests to talk everything from battle rap to politics, relationships and pop culture.
(10) Summer Impact Reloaded:Biggest conversation in battle rap, making everyone concerned about the violent state of culture. Hindered the most anticipated return off Murda Mook and potentially stopped SMACK/URL from doing business in New York ever again.
TOP 5 BATTLE RAP MEDIA OUTLETS
(1) Champion(Jay Blac, Drie, Anwar, Reda, Mark Jamgochian and Debo)
(2) HipHopIsReal(Knowledge tha God, Noo Barzz, Tr4 French, Eelite and Shoota da God)
(3) 15MOFE (Uncle Rah, Nikki Knowledge, and Finesse en Chill)
(4) My Expert Opinion (Math Hoffa, Ms. Fit, Knowledge tha God, and Space Ghost)
(5) Vada Fly(Vada Fly and ShoTime SP, the Nobody that Knows Bodies)
CATALYST SUPERSTARS: TOP 20 BATTLE RAPPER OF THE DECADE
(3) Tay Roc
(5) Hitman Holla
(6) Tsu Surf
(7) Charlie Clips
(10) Jaz the Rapper
(11) Loaded Lux
(12) Murda Mook
(13) Hollow Da Don
(14) Aye Verb
(16) Head Ice
(17) Pat Stay
(18) Ms. Hustle
Honorable Mentions: Math Hoffa, Ill Mac, E Hart, Calicoe, QB Diamond, John John, Iron Solomon, 40 B.A.R.R.S.
These lists are incredibly subjective, but we did comb over votes from fans, battlers, league owners, media outlets and other execs. The lists are also intended to promote conversation and to put a fire under people’s asses. Can’t wait to see what the next year will bring, and we are grateful for a full year of flame worthy battles. It is important to note further, that many other leagues and individuals could have made the list this year but there are just not enough spaces 1- 5, 1 – 10 or 1 -20 to put everyone in. In fact, just consider folk like Math, Ill Will, and Saga who had poor showings on last year’s list, but are basking in the glow of victory this year. It’s more than The Source’s lists… it is all of your lists. You all have the same opportunities to add to the numbers as our staff.
Let’s see how everyone steps their game up in 2020.
Aye Verb caught a lot of heat on social media about his recent URL battle against DNA in which fans believe the St. Louis born rapper got 3-0’d on Smack Vol. 5. Ave took the opportunity to confront Aye Verb for his poor performance and even told him he wants to be Verb’s next battle.
“You won’t look in that camera and say ‘give me Ave next,’” the Norfolk battle rapper told Verb in a video posted by 15 Minutes of Fame. “That s–t was ass. I’m disappointed,” Ave told Verb about his battle against DNA.
Verb was mostly nonconfrontational brushing off the idea of battling Ave calling him trash. “This is not gonna get me in the ring,” Verb told a seemingly drunken Ave.
Although Verb seems dismissive and curious why Ave is taking the angle, Ave repeatedly notes that Verb was the one who initiated the idea of a battle in Atlanta. According to Ave, Aye Verb pulled up on him before Verb’s battle with Loaded Lux and told Ave that he was next.
This is not the first time that they went back and forth. Seems like Ave really wants that smoke. Is the Island God ducking?
Goodz and Dave East were in the studio not too long ago, and the product of that studio session seems to be this new single “Real” that the battle rapper dropped off on Friday. The two NYC lyricists have back to back verses giving listeners bars that we’ve come to expect from the street rappers.
“Before I let my mind, I let my pen lose it// work it out through a song like gym music,” Goodz raps on the song. This new track is Goodz first single from his upcoming EP No Weirdos dropping on Black Friday.
“I ain’t Frank White I won’t claim the king of NY n—a// I still talk to Nip in my sleep ain’t think you would die n—a,” Dave East raps on his verse. Dave just wrapped up a project of his own, his debut album, Survival. The album drops on November 8th.
When we saw Goodz in the studio with Dave East, it was following Goodz battle on SMACK/URL against Cassidy. The two artists roasted Cassidy for his poor performance although Cassidy claims that he won the battle. In the video, reposted by 15 minutes of fame, Dave East calls Cassidy delusional for thinking he won 5,000 battles in his life.
Battle rap was on the big stage at the BET Hip-Hop Awards on Tuesday as North Carolina born rapper T-Top took on DNA in a live rap battle for $25,000. Later on, T-Top revealed that while he was getting the look of a lifetime, his grandfather had passed away.
“While I was on the awards tonight my grandfather took his last breaths, hope I made you proud king,” Top wrote on Twitter following the awards show. The Smack/URL battler received many well wishes from fans via social media.
While I was on the awards tonight my grandfather took his last breaths, hope I made you proud king R.I.P
Battle rap was a major highlight of the Hip-Hop awards and although T-Top didn’t win the $25,000, he did receive a lot of praise for the bars he spit on stage, some fans even felt as though he was robbed in the battle.
“No cameras because the feds like to hold that image/so tell T.I. my trap museum ain’t have no Kodak’s in it,” Top spit in his battle with DNA. Top also participated in a BET cypher giving himself the maximum exposure he could get on BET’s platform Tuesday night.
My Condolences and my prayers are with your Family
SMACK/URLTV continues to drive the ascension of battle rap to the next level with a 4-man battle tournament confirmed for this year’s 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards ceremony featuring DNA, Geechi Gotti, T-Top and Shotgun Suge hosted by SMACK himself. With filming set for this Saturday at the Cobb Energy Performing Centre in Atlanta, Georgia before being televised on BET throughout America on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 8PM ET, the star-studded award ceremony to be hosted by Lil Duval will be the first time battles have taken place live on stage at a BET award show.
Although numerous and now classic BET ciphers have heavily featured battle rappers in recent years, this brief four-man URLTV battle tournament consists of one 90 second-round each per battle, with the two winners then facing off in the finals for the $25,000 prize to be judged by the crowd live in the building. These four battle rappers are among the culture’s leading at the moment, with veteran and highly viewed battle DNA taking on the rising superstar out of the west in Geechi Gotti who has had a very strong last two years in what is sure to be an entertaining encounter in this unique format.
A rematch of sorts of T-Top vs. Shotgun Suge after their classic battle in July 2015 on the ‘Redemption’ URL Card finds a welcome home on BET. T-Top had a breakout 2014 year which included a battle versus John John Da Don and taking out BET’s “Ultimate Freestyle Friday” on 106 & Park against the previous seasons’ champion Sno and the 10k with it. Shotgun Suge has been a long-running force in battle rap on SMACK/URLTV for a decade with his aggressive style and the inclusion of him will ensure that the authentic feel of battle rap will remain on stage here.
Also, brand new this year, the “Best International Flow” segment honors selected artists globally with nominees from Canada, Ghana, France, UK, and Nigeria. Internationally, these hip hop awards will air on BET Africa October 9, 2019, at 7:00PM CAT; on BET UK on October 10, 2019, at 9PM BST; on BET France on October 10, 2019 at 8:45PM CEST; and on BET South Korea October 10, 2019 at 9:00PM KST – and with it battle rap reaching potentially millions of new eyes worldwide. Tune in!
The team at the Ultimate Rap League made good on their promise by providing fans with an event to make up for Murdaland and Parklyfe not battling in Charlotte, shy of a month ago on the original Summer Impact mega-card. And they even brought DJ Don Demarco back!
Billed as the battle of the decade, few can argue that Summer Impact did not give battle rap enthusiasts an epic experience – touting match ups like NWX vs. EFB, Goodz and Clips vs. Multiple Remixes, Monstars vs Quest MCody and Marv One, Gunz N Cake vs. Loaded Hollows and The Bardashians vs. 40 B.A.R.R.S. and E-Hart. Due to a late start and the venue closing at a certain time, the co-title bout between Murda Mook and Calicoe vs. T-Top and Brizz Rawsteen simply never happened. Thus Reloaded was set up to pacify fans, who felt duped.
Does this make-up card calm their rumblings?
It seemed to… as URL did everything that they could to make the experience one for the books for those who purchased tickets or the PPV for the battle. They attempted to do this by adding extra value to the new double impact themed summer card that still has people talking. They added additional battles and a performance from Loaded Lux.
The event even saw two stars emerge from the PG ranks (Franchise and Ace Amin), allowed friends to see Shotgun Suge and Nu Jerzey Twork rap like never before and saw street-style toxic masculinity pour outside of the fictionalized lyrics and onto the stage.
The first battle was against Richmond’s Jakkboy Mane and Toronto’s Franchise. Franchise did not come to play. From the time he opened his mouth in the first round, he lit the stage up with haymaker after haymaker. There is not much to say, as Jakkboy Mane – WHO CAN RAP – stumbled through the battle like a blind man in the pitch dark of winter. It was painful to watch as this Goonie forgot his rhymes. Franchise, clearly a great sport (well both of them were), encouraged his opponent to stand firm. But it did not help. Franchise did not let anyone down even though Jakk did not show up. He emerge as the first star of the night.
This was a bar heavy scrap that has been meaning to happen forever. Ace Amin (another Goonie) and Snake Eyez (from Dot Mobb fame) delivered an interesting battle that appeared to be a style clash and aggression barometer. Hip-Hop is a space where traditionally Black male machismo is celebrated; encouraged even. The back and forth kept the crowd engaged, but it was clear from round one that a huge chunk from the audience rocked with Ace. His crowd control was equal to that of a seasoned vet. They not only knew his slogans, “Holy Sh*t” and “He Knows,” but they really were rocking with the intricacies of his word play and aggression. Snake Eyez on the other hand, matched his aggression and raised his lyrical stock by adding color to his performance… in a way that few have seen over his career. Particularly in the third round where T-Rex assisted with an alley oop. Let’s face it… people love seeing T-Rex. Fresh off of a horrible car accident, the Dot Mobb Capo set the third round off, setting up this battle as a debatable preference battle. Many believe that the debatable or preference category is a co-out. Well it is not, if that is the God honest truth. 2-1 either way…. Both had moments. Both had energy. Both almost punched the other in the face, the tension was so high between crews. And even though you can argue that… Ace Amin emerged as a shining star in this battle. Great for his debut on the big stage.
Woah! Ace Amin going at Tay Roc and says he bought a Cave Gang chain like John John Da Don did Jakkboy! pic.twitter.com/pExIH2euFB
The Monstars vs. NWX was one of the battles that came out of nowhere. No one can deny that NWX are gods at this two-on-two thing. Hardly ever losing to any other group (well they did lose that one time to Gun Titles), this new team had their work cut out for them. Did the Monstars deliver? YES. THEY. DID.
Antics aside, these big guys came with a melding of their styles that made them formidable opponents. Punching swiftly… Punching consistently… Landing them jawns… Monstars showed why New Jersey is not to be messed with ever.
But NWX is like fine wine to the Monstars’ Jack Daniels. K-Shine and DNA seem to have nooks and crannies in the brains that they share. What advantages did they have over the Jersey boys? That damn DNA and his freestyling, their symmetric timing and choreography and the energy that K-Shine seems to have bottled up in his little body. On the flip side, Monstars benefits are first apparent in their appearance. The fact that they dominated with their intensity, dunking on them this way and that way, pushed them closer to the win than anyone expected. And while their antics did not go as planned, there is something to be said about their creativity. BAR NONE. This is another preference battle. 2-1
“i watched him pull Shine card… i woulda did Holla graphic”
The last battle of the night was between Murdaland and Parklyfe. Aggressively generational. It looked like to uncles arguing with their younger nephews. And while both sides started out giving the crowds what they wanted, too many personals stoked the fires burning in their bellies. Alas, a scuffled popped off and ended the otherwise wonderful event abruptly.
What a shame, because URL did everything that they were supposed to do. Unfortunately, battlers don’t move with a certain code of honor and respect, not only disrespecting themselves (looking like brutish hoodlums and not the beautiful and brilliant Black men that they are), they disrespected the platform that has afforded them a comfortable lifestyle.
One to the next one… perhaps the fans will get a card as dope as all the other cards URL has produced this anniversary year.
By now it is common knowledge that former Jive recording artist and Swizz Beats protegé, Cassidy lost in a rap battle against the Bronx bomber, Goodz.
The two have had history. They were both loosely affiliated with the Ruff Ryder camp, but also have had beef. Cassidy claimed that he never lost to anyone, much less the kid he once “mentored.” That was until…. SMACK/ URL hosted a battle this Spring called “Resolution,” where the lead battle on the card was this grudge match between these two rhyme spitters.
Cassidy did not have the same caché he sported back in the early 2000s and did not have the same gas that he enjoyed during the battle against Dizaster in Los Angeles on King of The Dot. According to most, he lost to the Grown Man Bars leader.
Fans have been saying that. Battle rap media and analysts rappers have been saying it. But now some of Cassidy’s fellow commercial rappers have weight in… Dave East linked up with Goodz in a studio to talk real rap about the now infamous battle. Battle rap media giant, HipHopIsReal captured it on film.
Dave says to Cassidy, while kicking it with a group of friends:
“Ayo Cass, I believed in you bro. I was a fan at one time. So I ain’t one of the n*ggas that ain’t gonna say, ‘I wasn’t a fan.”
But before he could say that “Goodz f…” everyone starts hysterically laughing, presumably at the his loss.
He finishes with a word to the wise, “You have to grow with the time.” And later broke down the real problem with Cassidy, “He is delusional.”
Legendary Harlem battle rapper Murda Mook has announced his long-awaited return to battle rap’s premiere platform SMACK/URLTV, appearing on the platform’s inaugural “Summer Impact” card. The event will be held next month on Saturday, August 10th at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Dot Mob general will team up with Detroit’s Calicoe forming the super group “Murdaland.” Who are the lucky (or brave) emcees that they will be battling? The two vets will take on the combined talents of T-Top and Brizz Rawsteen (Dark Lyfe) in what is going to be a tough 2-on-2 battles for two of URL’s most cemented stars. Dark Life is dangerous because they are probably the only multiple-battle-having-duo that can boast being undefeated.
Last year, Murda Mook had his debut on Rare Breed Entertainment (RBE) against a red-hot Aye Verb, proving that the battle rap god could bleed (if not lose).
That classic battle added to his already legendary legacy that includes memorable battles against Loaded Lux (twice), Serius Jones, French Montana, T-Rex, Jae Millz, Iron Solomon, Party Arty plus more. Mook has collaborated with the likes of Remy Ma, Talib Kweli amongst a wealth of others and has been teetering on fully breaking through to the mainstream for the last decade. This will be Murda Mook’s first time back on the SMACK/URLTV stage since he infamously beat Iron Solomon convincingly on the star-studded “Summer Madness 2” stage back in 2012, representing the longest fallback for a battle rapper in 7 1/2 years from the Ultimate Rap League. Ironically many in the culture believe that this battle was prompted by another battle on the card. Mt. Rushmore compadres Loaded Lux copped & Hollow Da Don snatched the biggest look on the card pairing up against the rising commercial rap star, Tsu Surf & the current face of URL, Tay Roc. The allure was just to big one critic said for them not to consider the card.
In what many are considering the best battle rap card on paper since “Summer Madness 2,” the ”Summer Impact” event features 24 of the cultures best rappers battling it out across six matches in a unique 2-on-2 format, that continues to build on the very best year for not only SMACK/URLTV but the culture as a whole.
These are the battles as planned:
Loaded Hollows (Loaded Lux & Hollow Da Don) vs. GunTitles (Tsu Surf & Tay Roc)
Murdaland (Murda Mook & Calicoe) vs. Dark Lyfe (Brizz Rawsteen & T-Top)
NWX (DNA & K-Shine) vs. Every Fuccin Bar (Geechi Gotti & Rum Nitty)
Good Clipz (Charlie Clips & Goodz) vs. Multiple Remixes (Hitman Holla & John John Da Don)
The Monstars (Nu Jerzey Twork & Shotgun Suge) vs. Marv & Quest (Marv Won & Quest Mcody)
Jaz the Rapper & O’fficial vs. TOQ (40 B.A.R.R.S. & E-Hart)
Will Murda Mook be able to successfully adapt to this unique format in a rapidly developing era of battle rap? Will a stellar performance here be enough to propel him forward to finally battling Cassidy? Stay tuned to The Source.