Chrome 23 Anniversary
In The Building Rating
Event Recapped by staff writers France & Q Moody
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: O’fficial vs Pristavia (Best back and forth)
Highlight Rounds of the Night: A.Ward’s 2nd | Eazy The Block Captain’s 1st | Hitman Holla’s 1st | Pristavia 2nd | Ms. Hustle 1st | C3’s 1st round | O’fficial 1st
The Biggest win of the Night: Eazy The Block Captain over Hitman | A.Ward over Viixen | C3 over Kausion | Ms.Hustle over Shooney Da Rapper
Best Individual Performances of the night: #1A A.Ward | #1B Eazy The Block Captain | #2 C3 | #3 Pristavia | #4 Ms.Hustle
Chrome 23 Makes 1 Year In The Game
Salute to Remy Ma & the entire staff at Chrome 23 for putting on a successful event that was filled with high stakes, suspense, and scintillating performances. The entire staff at LTBR & the overwhelming consensus of the culture is very proud to see the growth of Chrome 23. Within the span of a year Chrome 23 has had 4 events & the first-ever all-female battle rap tournament. There are always some bumps in the road within the first year of any business, but they have succeeded in many avenues, Chrome has presented many opportunities to all types of different individuals within the culture, especially the ladies.
Also want to take the time to thank Remy Ma & the Chrome Staff for having me (France) judge the finals of the Chrome 23 tournament. As someone who covered the tournament very closely every round, and was a judge for the quarter-finals, it was an honor to be a part of female battle rap history. The PPV stream was playing multiple on-beat battles from the Walk Down league during the time of intermissions and Drect & Yoshi G did a fantastic job at being the commentators of the event.
The experience of the event in the building was absolutely heartwarming, electric, star-stuttered, and welcoming. It was a whole vibe in SONY Hall. Chrome 23 had a press box available for all of the members of the media, and also provided me with a VIP section. I can say the energy of the building was easily a 9 or 10. Remy Ma did a great job at curating and being a host, while getting the event to run as smoothly as it can. But as with all battle rap events, we deal with the few fundamental hurdles that will forever plague battle rap. Delayed start times, mic issues & streaming issues.
The doors opened around 3 pm, with the idea the battles would start at 5 pm, the first battle of the night didn’t start until 7 pm. If you are in the building, you are networking, and having a grand time with your friends, but for the viewers at home waiting a few hours for a battle to start, it can get a little restless. Delayed start times eventually build up to a fatigued crowd for the final battle of the night, which can hinder the performers. As for the PPV stream having issues, there were audio issues with the mics during the main event battle. At one point you can hear someone’s conversation during the rounds, and the mic issues really derailed Hitman Holla’s momentum. Unfortunately, the stream did cut out during the main event in the 2nd round of the battle.
To shoot Remy & Chrome 23 some bail, the host of the PPV was RapGrid, and they were simultaneously live streaming two events at the same time. Chrome 23 Anniversary card & King Of The Dot’s Pat Stay tribute card was going on at the same time, and both of the events had their stream crash. So this was more of a glitch on behalf of RapGrid rather than blaming the league owners. Two live events streaming at the same time is an excessive amount of activity on the website at once. I do wish RapGrid could’ve anticipated and prepared a little better for this, but the stream crashing at some point in the evening makes sense. Terrible timing for both events to die out during the Main Event. I can empathize with the frustration of all the fans at home watching the PPV or doing watch parties and missing out on the live experience of the main event, It’s completely out of the control of Remy Ma, but It definitely hurts. Nonetheless, the event was still a fantastic experience in the building with a bunch of fantastic performances and the stream was back operating for the last battle of the night.
But anyone asking for a refund just because of this is completely erroneous. RapGrid always makes the Video on Demand after a live event available within an hour of the event finishing, and if you truly support Chrome23, you wouldn’t go out of your way to give them a chargeback or request a refund. Support the league & support the battlers. Chrome 23 does a great job of being receptive to the fans and they cater to what the people want. As a fan of battle rap, none of these hurdles that Chrome23 has faced is brand new. I’m not justifying the quality of the stream having issues, but we have all rolled with the punches and we should always support Remy Ma & Chrome 23.
C3 vs Kausion
Recapped by France
The finals are concluded for the first female battle rap tournament. The rookie of the year in Kausion is set to battle C3. Kausion kicks off the battle by going first. This was Kausion’s first time on a big stage and you only get one big stage debut in your entire career. I must say, despite the result of this battle, Kausion did a fantastic job. Her content was glaring, her schemes were piercing & tailored, and her bars were intricate yet digestible. She had a good method of attack for C3. The only discrepancy in this battle is Kausion’s ability to display more crowd control and performance.
C3 is pretty much on the same pace if not just a slight notch above Kausion in the department of material. Bar for bar, this battle is much closer than the scorecards may indicate, but C3 is too seasoned on the stage. C3 is able to show how dynamic she is as a performer and an entertainer. Her pacing and timing showed a separation in the way the material is being delivered and received. C3 is an immaculate freestyler, as she does rebuttals in the middle of her round, which consistently fuels momentum for her.
Kausion has nothing to hang her head on with this loss, as she’s coming off her first professional year in battle rap, and her last three opponents were against three of some of the greatest female battle rappers of all time, plus she showed a real competitive spirit in all of those battles. Kausion is only going to get better and once she polishes her fundamentals of performing on a big stage, she’s going to become very dangerous in the years to come. I will say, a lot of RBE‘s events as of the past year have usually been in the setting of a smaller room, so I’m not sure how frequently she will get the opportunity to battle on a big stage on RBE to continuously grow her experience. But one thing is for certain, she’s progressively improving her game nonetheless.
As her C3, it was a very touching story to see a legend finally get the recognition she deserves. She’s always been just as skilled as some of the pantheon names, she’s also just as accomplished and decorated in many aspects as well. However, there was always a disconnect whenever her name was mentioned in some of these conversations for the greatest female battle rapper or Mount Rushmore. And now she’s cemented herself in the history books with a special accolade that nobody else possesses.
She gave a very heartwarming speech in her post-battle interview on 15 Minutes of Fame, when she mentions how vital the support system in her life has been to her making it this far. C3 opens up about dealing with a lot of depression and without her support system, she says that she probably wouldn’t be here. C3’s story is touching and even just hearing her speak about her journey gives me goosebumps. I am very proud of C3, congratulations on being the Champion of the first-ever all Female Battle Rap tournament.
O'fficial vs Pristavia
Recapped by Q Moody
Coming in, this battle was a really big moment for Pristavia. This is her first big stage battle since the ladies and Gentlmen card on Chrome 23 and her biggest battle to date in general. Pristavia has always been vocal about how highly she thinks of O’fficial as well so she undoubtedly understood the significance of this battle coming into it.
Pristavia out the gate showed the level of potential we all saw in her with her talent. She sets it off with an explosive first round that has one of my favorite bars of the year so far:
“I knew a n*gga that pulled his pistol and still got sent to the morgue. He backed and got cold feet”
O’fficial responds at the bottom of the 1st with a round that starts off very strong and it’s seeming as if this first round is going to be very close. For me though, O starts cooling off toward the 2nd half of the round. She had good material throughout but didn’t quite match Pristavia’s.
The 2nd round saw Pristavia showing off some elite writing and rapping, displaying the pen that made her such a standout rookie. She lifted the A. Ward quadruple entendre move with ease. It’s an amazingly well-crafted round and the clearest one of the battle because, despite the fact that I thought O’fficial had some good stuff in her own right in the 2nd round, it wasn’t really resonating with the audience and didn’t stack up to the bar her opponent set.
The 3rd is the closest round with both emcees taking approaches that didn’t exactly do a ton for me. Pristavia did a round long angle about O getting help from DNA and NWX and comparing it to her time in Guntitles. It’s not poorly written, but there’s not a strong payoff for how much time she spent on the subject. O’fficial’s 3rd spends a good chunk of time building bars around Pristavia “getting around” the Bags and Bodies mansion. Some of this stuff gets a reaction from the crowd, but O’fficial is better than this and I thought this was pretty lazy writing by her standards. This was the closest round of the battle though and I could see giving it to either woman.
In totality, I have this as 2-1 clear for Pristavia, possibly 30. Again, I want to stress that I think O was very good for the first two rounds and I didn’t agree with how the crowd didn’t give her a ton of reaction in the 2nd, but Pristavia had a career-high night and if she sustains this level of performance, she’s a dangerous battle anyone across all tiers.
A.Ward vs Viixen
Recapped by Q Moody
With the both of them coming off of clear losses, this was an important battle for both A. Ward and Viixen.
We’re not going to mince words here, A. Ward was special in this battle. At this stage in his career there’s zero reason to doubt A. Ward. From the names on his resume to his skillset and the crowds he’s performed in front of, there’s no legitimate reason to ever think he has anything left to do to prove himself as one of the very best battlers in the world. But after losing to an elite performance from one of the most decorated battlers ever, certain people took that as an opportunity to express doubts about him coming into this battle. A. Ward came back from that Bigg K battle with a point to prove and made a statement vs Viixen.
His explosiveness out the gate in the first round was remarkable and he leaves that round with plenty of highlights and moments, but he somehow follows it up with an arguably even better 2nd round. From his build ups, flows, schemes, performance, freestyling, etc, Ward put on a clinic of what a well rounded battler rapper looks like.
Hopefully after this, the goalposts stop being moved for A Ward. He is a perineal battler on the COTY list, with 3 appearances within the Top 10. He was the 2019 KOTD Battler Of The Year. His resume is full of legends and elite names with classic battles and clear wins to go along with it. He left Max Out with over 2000 people in attendance with maybe the performance of the night and a battle of the year contender. He once again came into a venue with over 1500 people there with something people could argue was the performance of the night, this time in New York. Personally not being impressed by his content or his style is one thing, but facts are facts. And the fact is, A. Ward has checked off every box that a battler needs to be top tier. It’s not a debate.
Viixen had good material and especially in her 2nd round was on pace to make that round competitive before a fan passed out in the crowd and derailed the momentum she was building. There is a case for Viixen in the 3rd round to some people, but if I’m honest I have this as a pretty clear 3-0.
This might be the time to start having a dialogue about Viixen. It’s been noted before how sometimes Viixen has trouble with anglers like Loso or Jaz the Rapper, but that’s not even where she wound up losing to Ward. He was all around more explosive and displayed more skills. This is also the 2nd time in a row where for some reason Viixen’s material isn’t resonating as much as her opponent’s on a big stage setting. There are the Ms. Hustle and Tay Roc battles that support the idea that she can be great in those settings, but against these more all-around battlers like Jaz and Ward, she’s not looking as great. Whatever you may want to pinpoint, I do think there are things stylistically Viixen may have to change to be better equipped in different situations. She’s not a fresh face people are caught off guard by anymore. She’s a target and has the accolades to match. Viixen’s style is more of an aggressor, so in her battles, she is catapulted by momentum and pacing. She’s writing that with the anticipation that the energy of the crowd is gonna keep her momentum going, so if those things are falling flat, it’s gonna affect her. The proper adjustments need to be made.
Hitman Holla vs Eazy The Block Captain
Photographer: @DrivenByContent On Instagram
Recapped by Q Moody
The tension in this battle was palpable before either man even rapped. This might wind up being the biggest battle of the year when it’s all said and done the energy matched.
To get one thing out of the way early: Hitman Holla did get booed during the introductions. France was there and witnessed. So when Hitman during his post-battle spaces and tweets mentions that, it’s a thing that did happen and shouldn’t be discounted when discussing this battle.
Hitman comes out and elects to go first and it’s easy to say in hindsight it wasn’t the best decision. But as he explained in our Chrome 23 Radio Roulette Space, when he came out and noticed the energy he got from the audience, he felt like the best thing to do was try and shift the momentum before Eazy was able to fully turn the crowd and Hitman had to fight out of an even bigger hole. It winds up at least being the right decision in the first round because Hitman has a great round and had the crowd in the palm of his hands. This is some of the best rapping Hitman has ever done on a stage, the ease in which he slipped in to different patterns and cadences continued the trend of Hitman taking the steps to improve his pen and show why he shouldn’t be labeled as all performance.
Eazy comes back with a round just as powerful though. He takes a little bit of time to get rolling, but his ground cinnamon bar got some momentum on his side. Eazy’s round is consistently very good but wasn’t enough to pull away from Hitman until he gets to his scheme correlating basketball and the drug game, which might be my personal highlight from the battle. All in all, this round is extremely debatable and the closest one of the battle.
Here’s where things get murky. Hitman comes back out in the 2nd round and has another very solid round that has one of my favorite lines of the event saying he’s so important that Eazy broke his contract to battle him. I don’t know whether it’s because Hitman snatched momentum with his first round, the hecklers from the introductions started to take effect or people just not finding Hitman’s content interesting, but he doesn’t get a ton of love or reaction for the majority of his round and it noticeably effects Hitman. And I don’t blame him, it’s the first time in his whole career this has ever happened to him, but the optics of it don’t look great.
The truth is though that Eazy’s round didn’t get a ton of reaction from the audience either until he started to focus on the home invasion. Before that, he got the same minimal reaction that Hitman got, even though he was rapping great stuff. That is why it’s hard for me to say that the lack of reaction for Hitman was mostly rooted in bias because Eazy faced that same hurdle. He just had an angle that eventually was able to clearly swing the battle in his favor and Hitman didn’t.
The third is more of the same story. Hitman tries his hand at doing his brand of real talk to counteract Eazy, but it’s not resonating a ton with the audience. And once again, I never felt like any of this was bad material. There was a bad line here and there from Hitman, but otherwise I felt like his material here was about on par with what he prepared for Calicoe, if not even a tad better. It wasn’t strong enough to bring the crowd back to his side in the 3rd, doing more of the “they’ll catch it on cam, “that hate don’t look good on camera”, things that don’t help you win the battle in the eyes of the at-home viewer. Eazy has another very good round, albeit a bit lighter than his first two, but enough to clearly win the 3rd and subsequently the battle, at least in the building.
For Hitman this is a first. This is a guy who’s catalog is filled with nothing but clear wins and classics. This will be the only true blemish on Hitman’s career. I thought he brought good stuff to the table in this battle and I don’t view this as a sign of Hitman needing a reset. Everyone has a battle where it’s not their night and Hitman’s just came after being dominant over 10 years. This battle doesn’t negatively affect his legacy at all.
For Eazy though, it’s confirmation that what he’s doing is the best run in battle rap history. And no that’s not hyperbole or being a prisoner of the moment. He’s passed every test. He’s been effective on the big stage and small room. From North Carolina to Houston to New York to Philly, he’s done it everywhere. What Eazy is doing is an unparalleled level of dominance against the best battlers of all time. Goodz, Calicoe, and Hitman Holla are battlers who don’t have many clear losses to their name and often times diffuse their opponents entirely when battling them. Eazy has beaten all of them. Cortez, T-Rex, K-Shine, Aye Verb, T-Top who all showed great form, all still lost clearly. And when he’s in danger, the worst you wind up getting from Eazy is possibly the best battle of all time vs Chess. Otherwise wise, it’s nothing but wins. We are witnessing something unheard of in a subjective sport.
And yes, it’s highly unlikely Eazy stays undefeated forever but right now it’s hard to imagine who would be the person to beat him. And the scary thing, he’s only getting better with every battle. He’s only becoming a better angler and adding more things to his skill set and I don’t see his competitiveness or hunger fading anytime soon. Eazy still has a ways to go from being the best battler of all time, but the trajectory he’s on is one where you’d be a fool to not think he could threaten that crown one day.
Ms Hustle vs Shooney Da Rapper
Recapped by Q Moody
A battle that in its best form could have been one of the best battles of the year didn’t get to live up to that because of the lateness in the evening with a fatigue crowd, the choppiness, and the tension. Shooney did not show up prepared at all and wasted a lot of goodwill that she got herself with her 2022 campaign. This was her biggest solo battle in some years, and she dropped the ball for whatever reason.
On top of that, the tension and animosity from the faceoff and Twitter bled into the battle and made the battle even more of a mess, ruining a lot of the good energy from the night.
Despite all of that, I don’t want to get lost in how great Ms. Hustle was in this battle. She commanded the stage, and her wordplay and punchlines were top-notch. She was just the better battler. Hustle continues the momentum she had in 2022 and is looking like a WOTY front-runner again after the MyVerse battle, this Shooney victory, and another upcoming battle against Tay Roc. Ms. Hustle is on the best run of her career and is a force to be reckoned with for anyone in the world right now. It’s disappointing that this battle didn’t live up to the potential it had, but Ms. Hustle’s performance was still a highlight of the night, and she was one of the best battlers on the card as she rose to the occasion to breathe excitement into this battle.