In The Building
LTBR Performance Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Hustle vs Viixen
Biggest win: J2 over Pristaiva
Best Performances of the night: #1 Hustle | #2 Viixen | #3 J2 | #4 Rum Nitty | #5 Fendi
Best Musical Performance of the night: Lu Castro & Ryda
First and foremost, we’d like to say to Remy Ma, welcome to battle rap! Everyone in this culture has been through the ringer, and this weekend it was Chrome 23’s turn to feel the wrath & savagery of the culture. It has become a right of passage for every league owner to endure the motions of a chaotic event.
Every league has gone through the experience of their event turning into a debacle. Sometimes, a battle falls apart due to unforeseen circumstances. Other times, time delays can kill the momentum/energy of the audience and performers. Last, but certainly not least, a poor quality PPV can ruin an entire weekend for the consumer at home. Imagine throwing a watch party and because of technical issues, there isn’t anything to watch! This event, “Ladies and Gentlemen” was a unique blend of all three unfortunate situations. Chrome 23 is Remy Ma’s baby, and as this baby is developing, she is simply enduring growing pains.
Remy Ma & Chrome 23 came into the Battle Rap world ready to change the landscape for the women of this culture. The league has already opened several doors and will continue to do so. By no means should the culture turn its back on the league for one uneventful weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to provide constructive criticism, so Chrome 23 can have the chance to make the proper adjustments and improve the quality of their future events. Hardships often prepare people for extraordinary outcomes. So I have complete faith that Chrome 23 will deliver on presenting the world a great battle rap product yet again in the near future.
You Only Get “One Shot”
Friday night, June 10th, The One Shot Card took place in NYC at the legendary SOBs. This venue has been a launching pad for some of Hip Hop’s brightest over the years. This is the same venue that has hosted the NYC debut of Drake and many others…so it was fitting that The One Shot event took place here. The evening was an empowering opportunity that served as a casting call for all of the talented upcoming ladies in female Battle Rap. The One Shot concept is a night of one round battles where these ladies get a chance to showcase their talent for a potential spot on a future Chrome 23 main stage.
The first battle of the night was Koko Kakes vs Ella Spitzgerald. The audio in the venue was inaudible at times and the same can be said for the PPV stream. After this battle was completed, Remy came to the stage and advised her production staff that the quality of the stream was poor. She directs her team on which camera angles to fix and where to set the microphones. She made sure to watch the first battle from the perspective of the consumer and I commend her for that.
Remy Ma not satisfied with the audio on the stream as she watched the first battle outside. She‘a making the adjustments. pic.twitter.com/sjtXrZ3bqH— BATTLE RAP’S WOJ (@LTBRpodcast) June 11, 2022
This was a great demonstration of leadership by Remy. She placed herself in our seats to see what the viewers at home were experiencing, and she was not satisfied. Sadly, little adjustments came from this. Hope Trilly & Lexx Banko take the stage and they have to perform with handheld mics. At one point, Hope Trilly took the microphone off the stand in order for her words to be heard. This would be fine if this was a battle set in the 90s, but in 2022, this has become archaic. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the stream stopped working completely for everyone at home. At this point of the night we were 30 min away from the event’s scheduled ending time of 10pm, and only 2 of the 8 battles of the card were completed.
Ash Cash and Hazzy take the stage to battle next. Hazzy raps first and has issues with finishing her round due to the audio feedback. Before Ash Cash could rap next, Remy Ma pulls the plug on the event, and announces that the production team is fired! In my many years of attending events, I must say, this was a first in Battle Rap! It’s evident that time management was also an issue, as there wasn’t a proper soundcheck completed in order to insure proper sound for the event. This is a fundamental feature when putting together an event, and it was clearly skipped which reflected on the poor presentation and audio quality of the performances!
Remy Ma speaks to Media outlet 15 Minutes of Fame after The One Shot Card and takes accountability for not being present at the soundcheck.
On Saturday morning, Remy Ma goes live on her Instagram and apologizes to the fans in regards to The One Shot card not finishing. She advises that all of the battles from The One Shot card that did not get to perform Friday night, will now get the opportunity to perform on Saturday, before the battles of main card.
Ladies & Gentlemen Saturday Night
Battle rap isn’t new to some of the issues we faced on Saturday night. We have normalized the terrible standard and habit of events running late. We have even coined the term RNT excuse the tardiness (if you know you know). Special start time for the event was listed at 3:00 and the first battle of the evening started at 5:40pm EST. Keep in mind we have several one round battles to complete from the night before, three live musical performances and four battles from the main card to complete. A tough task for anyone to complete!
I’m willing to accept an hour delay from an advertised start time, considering it being fashionably late. Maybe even 2 hours at most, but when you pass that threshold, my patience wears thin. However, when I’m in the building, I’m catching up with old friends , getting interviews and getting into my battle rap zone. For the folks at home, I can imagine the frustration because time is currency. With inflation going up, people don’t have almost three hours to waste waiting on an event to start. A long delay is the #1 way to get consumers to start complaining. Ironically enough, Queens get the Money also started 2.5 hours after its start time. But the difference between the two cards is the amount of battles and live performances included.
Time management seems to be an issue that has plagued Battle Rap since the inception of PPV. You already got my money, time and attention at this point, we can forgive the show running late as long as we get to see the show! Sadly, for those at home, they barely got to see any of the show. The battle rap culture isn’t foreign to PPV streams having malfunctions. Just because we have experienced it in the past, does not mean we will be less tolerable when it occurs in the future. This will be the primary area for Chrome 23 to address in the future.
In the defense of Chrome 23, The Club Amazura venue is notoriously known for having discrepancies for battle rap. There have been some horrors in Amazura. URL has done two events in this venue. The Strike 2.5 in (2018), which was a lackluster event and Summer Impact reloaded (2019), which ended in an infamous brawl. This may just not be a venue that’s meant for battle rap.
The issue with Club Amazura
The issue with Club Amazura
Battle Rapper, Geechi Gotti has headlined an event at this venue and he explains some of the issues he’s experienced in this venue. “when I battled t-top the building is so big it doesn’t pack out so you don’t get the crowd like how you want it, it doesn’t translate well on the camera for some reason.”
Club Amazura holds a capacity of up to 4000 people. Some of the biggest battle rap events in history, has not had over 3500 people in a venue at one time. There is a hollow feel the venue gives with all the space provided that isn’t being filled up that almost creates an echo while the rappers are performing. The venue probably had a total of 150-200 people in the building, give or take. NYC venues like SOBs or Nebula could be great alternative venues for events that will project to have 200-250 people or less in attendance.
The speakers at Club Amazura seem to be more tailored to musical performances as opposed to acapella performances. Musical performances from artist like Phreser, Bonnie Godiva and Ryda & Lu Castro were able to seamless perform on the stage with little to no error.
Lu Castro & Ryda performing their single. ‘Zoo’
A Handful of battlers like Rum Nitty, O’fficial, Viixen, Ave & Gattas all complained about the microphone affecting their ability to perform and rap fluidly. Some performers were able to adapt to the inconvenience while others suffered more severe turbulence. The quality and material of the battles were pretty much up to par with what we would expect. We got to see some really good performances from the battlers. As the night continued the audience began to lose some of their energy and it became a really tough crowd to pull reactions from.
I do want to take the time to commend every battler that was able to face the adversity of technical difficulties and a crowd that was lacking engagement from time to time, while still putting 100% effort into their performance.The biggest issues in regards to delayed start time of an event isn’t the patience from the fans, however the window of time the league has to operate within the venue. You are up against the clock and we have had many events in battle rap start late and the venue kicks us out before the main event happens! During the third round of Ave vs O’fficial, the lights were turned on and the whole room was distraught and distracted by the venue workers closing up shop. At this moment we are concerned if we are about to leave this Amazura without seeing Hustle Vs Viixen.
Remy then announces that we are getting straight into the next battle! Viixen and Hustle are on the stage, already mic’d up. Lucky for them they got to complete their battle but the venue was ready to have us exit.
Meanwhile, some of the battles from the One Shot card still didn’t get a chance to be completed. Let’s get into some of the battles from the main card.
J2 vs Pristaiva Recap
J2 & Pristavia take the stage. Pristavia sets the tempo for the battle by going first. J2 was able to completely shift the momentum in his favor and after the first round, he found himself in a commanding position to dictate the pace.
Pristavia has a powerful 2nd round and is bombing back on J2. Most would argue she won this round clearly in the building but J2 is still rapping in his 2nd round at the same level he was in his first round. He had a well balanced 3 rounds and breakout performance on his first time battling on a stage this big. J2 is showing developments and is improving. As for for Pristaiva, it was a little evident this was her 5th battle in 6 months and she may have seemed a little fatigued so much activity of battling & preparing for battles. The preparation process is exhausting and I did have a conversation with her, she is ready to take a little bit of a breather.
Pristavia battled Fonz on Ultimate Madness 3 weeks before J2 and she expressed that she felt like she was preparing with the same pressure as she did for Ultimate Madness. She made a great run at the start of the year and completely capitalized off the juice she had, now it will be time to soak in what shes learned so far and move strategically.
Rum Nitty vs Gattas
Rum Nitty and Gattas take the center stage. Nitty shows a few of his vet tactics by commanding the crowd to quiet down and also getting them to be quiet for Gattas. Subconsciously he is showing the crowd in that instant that his voice reigns power over hers. Gattas was riddled by some audio issues as far as her hearing herself and had to adjust her mic twice. She ran her first round all the way from top, twice as well.
Each time Gattas started her round over, she rapped with full energy and aggression despite the turbulence. It was clear the audio issues were affecting her. Rum Nitty opens the first with a freestyle and gets into his relentless attack of non-stop punches and name flips!
Gattas responds back with a brilliant angle in her 2nd round about Rum Nitty’s gang affiliation and the ripple effect it has on his inability to be a proper parent/role model for his children. She took a unique approach and showed a variety of flows, pockets, word play and got to a few good punchlines. Nitty fires back in the second round with enough content to still make this round debatable, although I would edge it to Gattas. They both had a stellar third round but Rum Nitty was able to end his with more haymakers and was pretty much in control of this battle from start to finish. This is Rum Nitty’s 4th battle in 28 days! He is not from this planet! Gattas also bounced back in great fashion from her last battle Vs Jaz The Rapper.
Ave vs O'fficial
This was a difficult battle to watch digest on first watch unfortunately.
By the time O’fficial & Ave hit the stage, it was about that the time the venue was ready to end the night. They were breaking down some of the tables and sections in the back which would make a bunch of loud noise. The tumultuous crowd really wasn’t receptive to this battle due to all the distractions and the lights turning on in the third round.
I tried my best to focus on the material despite all the distraction and it was evident O’fficial & Ave both have some dope content that just wasn’t properly received due to all of the activities in their surroundings but they both were true professionals and rapped through it.
Hustle vs Viixen
As stated previously, The lights in the venue came on at the end of the Ave & O’fficial battle. So Hustle & Viixen started literally minutes after the last battle finished. We were able to complete the objective for the night. Chrome 23 made sure to release the main event on Youtube the following day. (We still have no updates on the other battles)
Viixen sets the tempo for the battle and has a outstanding first round. She executing some elite pacing, implementing just enough performance, throwing haymakers at Hustle and some of her material is connecting with the crowd, some of it is getting slept on. Hustle responds to Viixen by bringing the same level of intensity, performance, punches and a little bit of personals. 1 round into this battle, and it was clear this was truly a mirror match.
It was unfortunate this battle couldn’t have been appreciated to its fullest extent. Viixen & Hustle 2nd round both loses a little bit a steam but has plenty of highlights but the crowd and surroundings is affecting the battle and they are still performing with 110% level of effort, passion and energy. It was a beautiful sight to see that regardless of the distractions, audio issues and lack of crowd engagement they were facing. They both left it all on the stage against each other. They didn’t cheat their selves and they didn’t cheat the fans. It’s why the battle has been positivity revered on social media and many fans are left debating this battle.
On first watch, I edged Hustle the 1st & 3rd round. Hustle is a dynamic and captivating performer. She has made some tweaks to her style this year and she is getting to her punchlines faster and continues to land multiple punches in the same rhyme pattern. Once you add that with her energetic performance, it increases the power of her landing haymakers. Her presence is very difficulty to overcome in the building. I didn’t feel at any moment Viixen got the opportunity to impose her will or take control of the momentum. Viixen did have a strong moment in the 3rd round but I left being able to edge Hustle the battle.
On camera, you are able to appreciate the nuance of Viixen’s performance, cadence, stagey, angles and much more. She is still leveling up in so many ares of her game and she is showing why she belongs amongst the elite company like Hustle and many others. Viixen performance might have translated better on camera, due to the fact that most of the voting polls are favoring Viixen.
Who do you have winning the battle between Viixen and Hustle ?— BATTLE RAP’S WOJ (@LTBRpodcast) June 12, 2022
And literally an hour after Hustle and Viixen finished going to war, they are back to being friends and they are looking for some 2on2 smoke with the Bardasians in their radar.
The Bardashians want smoke with Viixen & Hustle. #LTBRNEWS pic.twitter.com/5MHOK4BVOy— BATTLE RAP’S WOJ (@LTBRpodcast) June 12, 2022
Fendi vs Jada Raye
Fendi Vs Jada Raye was the main event for the One Shot Card and they were still willing to battle after the event. They wanted to take their battle outside, old school style. We went outside of the venue, around the corner, and walked about half a mile until we found an alleyway for the battle to take place. D.I The Hennyman from Battle Rap Trap facilitates everyone into the space for the battle and we have about 15 minutes to get this battle over and done with.
Fendi makes the absolute most of this opportunity and has a stand out performance where she impresses Remy Ma & Papoose. Fendi was in complete control of this battle. She was patient for this opportunity after waiting almost 2 days, she makes a statement performance showcasing her undeniable pen and talent.
3 Ways Chrome 23 Can Improve For Their Next Event.
#1 Get Help With Production + Building a team.
This isn’t our first rodeo of purchasing a battle rap PPV stream that has issues. For some perspective, the Hot 97 Summer Jam stream crashed this year, so streaming a live performances has it’s obstacles everywhere!
None the less, this should never be normalized, especially when taking into account consumers aren’t just paying for this with their money but also their time. Fans have committed a day out of their calendar and planned an evening around watching a battle rap event from home. Part of the taboo of reeling in new fans into the culture is the fear and embarrassment of having a watch party only to have the stream not work.
Chrome 23’s first event streamed by Hot 97 didn’t have any major issues. That stream ran pretty smooth aside from a few hiccups in audio levels and visual presentation, but whoever produced that stream would be more than serviceable this time around.
The culture has vocalized their suggestions for Chrome 23 to get some help from some of the expert Directors within battle rap. People like JB, the Director of Content at URL or Avocado, the Director from Ruin Your Day Productions. Combined, both Directors have close to 2 decades of experience when it comes to filming battles. They have done case studies for years on how to operate in several different types of venue sizes. Ironically enough, both Directors have filmed an event at the Amazura before.
JB pulls up to the Chrome 23 event and upon arrival he decides to give a hand in helping the production team. He propped up some of camera angles for the battles to have a better shot and he helped mic up the battlers. The staff who was mic’ing the battlers prior to JB was doing so incorrectly. Rum Nitty actually requested to have JB come mic him up because of the improper placement.
While the culture would feel like they’re in great hands between either JB or Avocado handling the next Chrome event, we would also feel just as relieved to know either of the two of them have at least consulted with Remy Ma. The knowledge they both posses is enough to provide guidance on how to successfully operate a battle rap stream. I have no problem with Chrome 23 building their own production team if they don’t chose to use either JB or Avocado, as long as the information is funneled to them by the professionals of the culture. But I would love to see either of them direct an event and make Chrome 23 look as beautiful as it deserves to be.
The production team in attendance seemed to be the exact same people from Friday. They ran the stream off Wi-Fi and in an age where all of society has moved to remote work, its fundamental knowledge a hard wired Ethernet connection is the most stable way to operate anything. Not only is an Ethernet connection more stable but it’s also more secure as far as protecting your stream. A production team making a mistake of that magnitude probably shouldn’t be in charge of an event like this.
JB & Avocado usually fly into a city 2 days prior to the event to get an oversight of the venue. And they run sound checks the day of the event as early as 7am-8am sometimes. These are the habits Chrome 23 will need to pick up to put their selves in the best position to ensure success for future endeavors.
#2 Utilize Your Social Media + Have An Onsite Coordinator
Event planning is stressful, what’s even more stressful is the chaos of a battle rap event when your staff is all over the venue to ensure people are getting inside, battlers are getting ready for their call time, important people are outside of the venue and can’t get in, your production team is having technical issues, your phone is blowing up while you are handling all of the logistics within the event to hope everything operates as smoothly as possible.
it’s not all shining lights and red carpets— a league’s staff inherits the role of becoming an on-site correspondence & event coordinator at the same time. It’s meaningful position that be can dynamic and extremely challenging at the same time.
Special occasion events require lots of different contractors and preparations that all need to line up correctly. Somebody needs to work behind the scenes to make sure the props, items or special equipment arrives or the guest of honor is able to relax and enjoy the day instead of managing the details etc…
The publicist by the name of Gen, who was working the event, was unavailable for the majority of the day which would explain the complications that many individuals faced that were involved with the event. Media members and some rappers advised they had difficulty as far getting into the venue or not being on the list, when the exact same people were able to get into Fridays event. Not sure who dropped the ball there. Bring back the media passes. The first event gave all of the Battle Rap Media members an exclusive feel and it was easy for the security to recognize us.
The main issue was, there was no real direct point of contact for when things began to fall apart. A lot of the battlers from the One Shot card were confused as to when would they complete their battle from Friday. A handful of battlers advised the communication wasn’t professional or transparent enough for them to be mentally focused for their performance. They expressed their frustration with this disorgnization
Chrome 23 could benefit from having one assistant that works the logistics of the entire event and ensure they are on site for all discrepancies. They could also benefit from having someone manage their social media to provide updates in regards to delays, PPVs streams, updates on battles and much more. We didn’t get any updates on the Video On Demand (VOD) or the battles after the event has ended.
Will all the battles that we paid for be available within the next 24-48 hours on Youtube ? Will the VOD be available ? We don’t know. Communicate with your consumers. Mishaps do happen, but its important to keep them updated as you progress towards a solution. This is where your social media team and assistant can be of much service.
#3 Time Management
This is an all time issue that has plagued battle rap for decades now. So Chrome 23 won’t be a stranger to this and truth be told very few leagues have been able to consistently conquer this obstacle. Through the era of streaming, Caffeine relatively had strict start times (they have strayed away from this habit as of lately) , KOTD streaming on Twitch has strict start times. RBE has been sharp with their time management for a while, they just finished an event with 17 battles within 8 hours. It’s not impossible to do.
A lot of time management issues are out of the control of the league, but its important to stress that venues are not forgiving to irresponsible time management. Many times URL has suffered the pain of losing a main event because they ran out of time in the venue. Lucky for us, Amazura let us finish Hustle vs Viixen, despite turning on the lights. If the main event doesn’t get the opportunity to go down, you would look back at the 2 hour and 45 minute delay to start the event and point to that as the cause.
The Friday event had 8 battles and we had only 1 hour left in the venue to complete 6 battles, Saturdays event had long delayed start time. I’m not as critical of this because I know this has habitually been an a struggle for almost every event you can think of in battle rap. But the closer you start the show on the time that you advertise, the better position you put yourself in with not just the consumers but the window of time you have a venue booked for.