Chrome 23: Miami Nights Recap

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night:  E Hart vs Shooney Da Rapper

Performer Of The Night: #1 Swamp | #2 Coffee | #3A Shooney Da Rapper | #3B E Hart 

Chrome made a significant move by hosting its first event away from the East Coast in Miami, coinciding with the Trenches & Chrome 23 weekend. However, the event encountered unforeseen obstacles, with a 5.5-hour delay stemming from the venue’s prior bookings and other activities going on in the venue during the time of the event. Despite the setback, attendees found themselves indulging in brunches and parties within the reserved space during the time the battles were projected to begin. The scheduled 3pm commencement was long gone by this point, pushing the first battle to an 8:30pm start time, leaving me scratching my head at the chaotic delay. We will watch the battles nonetheless because this card has piqued the interest of any battle rap fan or media member, but it is hard to justify that long delay; it’s inexcusable, to be quite frank. 

Once the event finally kicked off, it’s imperative that I highlight the atmosphere was marred by ongoing parties in the background still, which lead to a disruptive environment for the battling rappers. Every artist had to contend with the constant chatter, impacting their performances to varying degrees. Nevertheless, in a bid to make up for lost time, Remy ensured a streamlined progression through each battle, wrapping up the event in under three hours. Despite the challenges faced, the expansion of Chrome’s reach to Miami marked a milestone, albeit one with its share of hurdles. 

We can be on the lookout for the next Chrome event to be in Houston. Salute to Remy for putting on for the ladies as she has been doing, and she expresses how content she was with the level of effort and seriousness all of the ladies on the card brought to the event 

Zan vs Cheyraq

2.25☆ Rating Recapped by France

The battle between Zan and Cheyraq marked the opening bout of the evening, encountering unexpected turbulence not from the emcees, but from the environment itself. This initial struggle established the backdrop against which both battlers would need to exert themselves & project as loud as they could. Despite the challenging conditions, both women demonstrated their will to push forward with their respective performances. However, the lack of receptiveness from the room and intermittent interruptions visibly impacted the flow and energy of the battle, hindering their ability to engage and captivate the audience fully. Which set the tone for what every battle for the rest of the night would have to deal with. A battle just demands so much attention, and with so many distractions going on, it only affects the way you engage with the battle, but material-wise, both of them had some good content. 

Throughout the battle, it became evident that Zan had meticulously structured her approach to the battle. While both of them delved into familiar topics such as each other’s brands and past/current relationships in battle rap, Zan showcased a progressive approach, with three distinct rounds with variety in her content. Although Cheyraq skillfully weaved a mix of good punches, some solid wordplay, and aggression in her delivery, some of her bars didn’t land with the same resonance as Zan’s, nor did they connect more with the room. Notably, Cheyraq’s second round, which ended with some drug-related bars, seamlessly paved the way for Zan’s third round, which focused on trap talk, creating a cohesive moment. It was almost as if the round placement was perfect, and she fed off the momentum and theme that Cheyraq was gearing towards. Ultimately, this alignment of Zan’s uphill writing proved to be pivotal in securing the win. I had Zan winning the last two rounds.

No Twitter Poll, due to delay in the PPV for the first round, had to rewatch the battle 

Coffee vs Jade

3☆ Rating Recapped by France

Coffee Brown came into her battle vs Jade a heavy favorite, and her performance did that margin justice. Starting from her 1st, Coffee not only gave her usual high-quality effort material-wise and bar for bar but this performance is another example of how far she’s come as an all-around talent. Her delivery and performance were the first night and day difference in the battle, demanding energy and attention from the room almost instantly at a different level than Jade’s opening 1st

Most importantly, though, Coffee’s rapping ability in this battle was fantastic, with some of the most flow-switching and smoothest delivered pockets she’s given in a battle so far. And most importantly, she landed most of the haymakers of the struggle, really controlling every facet of it from beginning to end. The 2nd and 3rd followed in dominance, with the 3rd by then feeling like a proper nail in the coffin to end the battle. Dominant and all-around perfectly executed showing, Coffee claims a clear 30 on her Chrome debut. She was the 2nd best battle rapper on the card; she held the bar for the night’s best performance until the main event started.

As outstanding as Coffee was, the result of the battle being this dominating shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Something interesting hit me during the faceoffs of this battle. Vada Fly hosts the face-off, and during the face-off he asks Coffee what it’s like to battle a hungry up-and-comer like Jade, and Coffee corrects him and says that Jade has actually been battling just as long as she has, if not longer. It seems as if innovation is a foreign concept for Jade. She’s been in this game for a long time, and we are still having the same dialogue about the areas of improvements that are needed: Her delivery, conviction, performance, and staying clean. She came off a reasonably active year in 2023 but couldn’t stay clean in almost half of her battles. Albeit, in this performance against coffee, she was clean all three rounds for her standards, but there is such a massive gap in all the other battling attributes that Jade can’t close with just bars alone. Her pen is good; we know she can punch well, but the rest of the package of being a professional battler has been glaringly absent. She’s closer to being an amateur than a professional despite her experience and tenure in the game. She lacks the ability to captivate a room. Whenever she’s put against anyone who can match her lyrically and exceed her on performance, conviction, and delivery, these will always be the results. 

E-Hart vs Shooney

3.25☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

In one of the top-tier vs. top tier matchups of the night, Hart and Shooney had a solid and very competitive bar fest, particularly in the 1st 2 rounds of the battle. The 1st round was not the craziest from either, but it did a good job showing the backbone of both styles. EHart 1st has a more methodical pace, landing more witty lines and stacking up jabs with a round that never reaches an impactful peak but is very consistently written and does not waste many words. Shooney 1st, on the other hand, has more of a set-up punch approach, not constantly hitting with every punch, but those that do land a bit harder than Harts. As a puncher, though, landing haymakers is what is going to make the difference, and without that, I found myself preferring Harts’s more layered approach and edged her the 1st.

The 2nd round was a testament to the skill and talent of both Hart and Shooney, with a noticeable increase in quality from both. Hart 2nd was her standout round, still heavily reliant on her pen but now engaging Shooney in a more tailored approach. One of Hart’s most admirable traits is her rapping, and when she gets to rap straight through her portions of her round, it elevates her delivery and enhances how you receive the raps. Shooney also stepped up her game, and this is when she started to land with more power per punch, consistently as well. Ending her round with a freestyle moment toward a known personality in the culture of DuhBoss gave Shooney an extra boost of momentum to end her round, too. Another closely contested round, this time i edged Shooney, leaving it at 1-1 going into the final round.

There’s been some debate around this 3rd round as well, underscoring the close and hotly contested nature of the battle. However, I felt this was the clearest round of the battle as Hart gave her least inspired round while Shooney delivered another formidable performance. Simply having a little more left in the tank, Shooney took the 3rd in a solid and clean performance that she needed. Neither battler reached their peak form, with Hart’s energy not being all the way up and Shooney not choking or stumbling but at times seemed to remember her rounds as she went. The battle may not have reached its full potential, but it was a good showing and leaves a compelling argument for either woman winning. 

Chayna Ashley vs Pristavia

2.75☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

One of the most anticipated battles on the card, Chayna vs Pristavia was a match of powerhouses with a returning Pristavia and a Chayna Ashley who has been giving nothing but elite work since her return on Chrome around 2 years ago. The battle started off on Chayna, and off rip, there’s just something special about her flow that makes her rounds immediately engaging. One of the biggest strengths in Chayna’s arsenal since her return is her ability to rap herself into impactful haymakers, building momentum with her elite flow into bombs. This 1st lacked those peaks, though, with much of the round having cool lines here and there but nothing that landed very effectively. In one of the weaker rounds from Chayna since her return, the door was open for Pristavia to take the 1st clearly. Starting her own 1st off, she had more energy and landed a couple of times early. It looked on pace to go that way. However, Pris cooled off early and even 1st went from what would look like a solid start to a similar beatable round presented by Chayna. I edged Pristavia the 1st off of maybe a tad bit more in punch count, but in a round where both gave an equally average output, it truly can go either way.

The 2nd is back on Chayna, and her immediate level-up in the 2nd was when it seemed like the battle we were expecting was back on track. Rapping is still at a very high rate; this is where the content started to match, and she was catching fire. The only down factor was Chayna was taking some prolonged water breaks, which also happened in the 1st. What was thought to be maybe a vet move to cover a loss of memory was actually a more dramatic issue, as after around ¾ of a very fire round from Chayna, she throws up off camera, giving the battle an awkward pause that we usually only experience during Chess battles. While she did return and finish her round, still pretty good at that, it’s a very prolonged and extremely abnormal situation that it undoubtedly affects the momentum and presentation of the performance. To make things even more complicated, Pristavia’s 2nd in response is maybe her weakest of the battle, with an abrupt ending to her round. There were a couple of standout bars, an attempt to replicate her quadruple entendre moment vs. Official, but overall, a flat round with an awkward and abrupt ending that was very “jersey” like, but not a choke. The round will be argued by some since the content Chayna did rap was far better. Still, the intermission in the round can’t be looked over as others in the community have also lost rounds for this under the same circumstances. Pris with the 2nd by default and a debatable 2-0 lead with the argument for 1-1. 

It’s a bit of a bizarre situation because this is the first time Chayna has experienced something like this. There is a clear difference between choking, unpreparedness, and being sick momentarily. And there is some grey area with the way this round went. Chayna had the better round, but we are almost used to defaulting a ‘throwing up round’ as a loss. It’s happened several times with Chess, First Lady Flamez, DNA, Tink Da Demon, and even a more justifiable example with Tay Roc.  In 2010, Tay Roc had a judged battle against PG SKillet where he threw up in the first round and ultimately ended up winning the battle. But all the judges had him losing the round, where he threw up. Unfortunately, the scenario for Chayna just put her in a tough spot where most fans may stick to their consistent view associated with throwing up, which isn’t a wrong way of looking at it because it’s consistent with what we know. But you may find people that give kudos to recovering in a round and are willing to look past it and still edge her the round, 

The 3rd Chayna still shows no quit or slow down and delivers another great round, maybe even better than her 2nd. Real talk, performance, flows, haymakers. Chayna finishes with a solid showing, minus the incident of illness. Pristavia 3rd in reply is another somewhat weak round but starts with a choke very early, capping off an underwhelming showing for an anticipated return. Chayna wins the 3rd, and if not for the moment in her 2nd, she would be the apparent winner of the battle. However, it was not how it played out, and we were left with a 2-1 debatable (comes down to the 1st) in a battle that could have given us a bit more. 

Aye Verb vs Swamp

3.5☆ Rating Recapped by Q Moody

As a culture, are we finally done having doubts about Swamp?

In what you can make a case for being his biggest battle to date, Swamp proved again why he’s one of the premier talents in battle rap with a dominant performance over a game Aye Verb. But why does Swamp, after what he did in 2022 and 2023 have to answer these questions? Is it because of sometimes being prone to stumbling or choking? Is it because of the unique brand of eyes and attention the lead-up to a battle receives when you’re battling Aye Verb? Is it still having doubts about Swamp stylistically? Maybe it can be all of those things, but the bottom line is that Swamp is one of the best battle rappers in the world and is becoming the fully realized version of himself we hoped for.

Swamp elevates every round in this Verb battle, and he’s become a master of it. He’s one of the best at writing uphill and ending a battle on a high note. 

The first round is the closest, and if there were an argument for Verb in any round, it would be the first; he raps exceptionally well and gets into a variety of patterns & pockets, but in my eyes, the second and third are very clear in Swamp’s favor.

In this last year or so of Verb battles, I can’t say he’s been bad. The A.Ward battle is one of the best battles of 2023, and the Ill Will battle is one of the biggest battles of the year thus far, and the same can be said for this swamp battle. But it has been diminishing returns, and of the three fighting, as mentioned earlier, his weakest performance comes here against Swamp (and this isn’t factoring in the Mickey Factz battle, which I think is just a bad performance).

And it should be noted that as soon as Verb is in an environment that isn’t catered to him, his opponent gets 3-0 chants in his favor. Verb, then going to call it “gas,” only makes the optics of it worse. The crowd in Miami showed Verb plenty of love in the introductions and during his rounds, so that is just nonsense. To criticize the room after prolonged weeks of Verb saying, “No one is coming to see Swamp; they are coming to see me” also backfired on him. Aye Verb had also talked about Swamp going over time and pointing to that as an advantage, and while in most cases that could be true, for Verb to say that after stating that he had no issues if Swamp went overtime before the battle happened. Not to mention that if he truly felt this way, he could’ve called time on Swamp while he was in the building. It does leave a viewer with a very flat impression that you would build up this grudge match for two years, where you would chastise, critique, ridicule, and slander Swamp for an endless amount of hours on Twitter Spaces, but only bring a contractual amount of material for him, when in the past, you can look at other big battles for Verb, you can point to Verb battling Lux or Mook with an exceeding amount of content. Once you remove the crowd reactions from the length of the rounds, Swamp didn’t have an excessive amount of material. And with a match of this magnitude, it’s no surprise Swamp had a lot to say, as he should. Let’s be clear, It’s not fair to ask a battler to excessively have more material than what they are contracted for, but coming in with the bare minimum amount as a main event in a grudge match is a sure way to put yourself behind the 8-ball with no one to blame but yourself, for not having any awareness to a moment that you claim to have created. 

Verb has become a master at creating the moment. He’s unmatched in promotion, which in turn forces these “newer” talents like Ward and Swamp into some of their biggest tests to date, just in regards to eyes and ears. He deserves all the credit in the world for that. But I’m not personally coming out of any of these saying Verb won, and this Swamp battle is just flat-out a bad look in my eyes. 

Swamp stepped up to the plate in every imaginable, but that’s not new. Swamp has been doing this for 2 years now. There were times to doubt Swamp, I’ve written about my apprehensions about Swamp in the past, but since UM5, he’s become undeniable. He is a top-tier, bottom-line. He has the moments, wins, and battles to prove it, and after this, we shouldn’t be asking if Swamp is top tier. We should ask if he has a ceiling to what he can be in this culture.



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