If battle rap is like basketball, Eazy the Block Captain is a rapidly evolving top prospect poised to become nearly unstoppable. Imagine the New Orleans Pelicans’ wrecking ball Zion Williamson coming into the 2023 season with a deadly handle and more off the dribble shot creation. Or the Timberwolves’ show stopping slasher Anthony Edwards taking the next step in his development overnight and using the elite athleticism he possesses to become a force on the defensive end.
The path Eazy is on is one that shows marked growth in him as a writer from his UM1 run to now following NOME 12 and a dominant win over Goodz. And it’s coming in a way in which most of us might not have expected: Eazy is becoming an extremely dangerous angler.
To be clear, this isn’t exactly a unique trajectory for someone like Eazy. T-Top in his early run on URL faced a common criticism of being indirect with his drug bars, but by the time we see Top vs Math Hoffa in 2016, T-Top’s growth into a devastating angler with plenty of humor and hard hitting punches woven together was fully on display and the battle world was officially put on notice. And we all know what happened after that, T-Top became one of the most prolific anglers in battle rap history in the time since then. But for as great as T-Top is, there is potential for angles of his to totally flop or not be well received.
Whether it’s the gossipy tone some of them tend to take on or the content not resonating with the audience for whatever the reason may be. While they do share the commonality of guys who got labeled as a certain type of battler, that’s where the similarities stop. If T-Top is the more exaggerated side of the angler coin, Eazy is the direct, more cutting and realistic side. He’s more the homie calling you on your bullshit (no pun intended) and telling you to tighten up than the person with their ears glued to drama and ready to broadcast it to the world.
The Dimensions of Being An Effective Writer.
Lyricism is usually put in super niche and specific boxes when it comes to music. Black Thought, Royce da 5’9, Lupe Fiasco are names who get heralded as these “lyrical” masterminds who can bend and play with words and figurative language in ways most of us could only dream of being able to do so, while to call them that and revere them for the layers and density in their words is more than understandable, there’s something special about not needing all of that to get your point across.
In taking the less winding road, but feeling just as sweet when you get to your destination. Vince Staples is a longtime musical favorite of mine and it’s for a lot of the reasons why I find Eazy to be such a joy to watch and listen to. He describes his life and the harsh realities of it without having to be extra flowery and poetic. It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s blunt, but it’s him.
Just as I think rap listeners need to stop with their sometimes antiquated ways of viewing lyricism, I think battle rap fans have some growing to do in how we use the word “pen”. Sometimes all the window dressing and flexing of writing chops gets in the way of the goal when you’re performing: to resonate with the audience and Eazy resonates more than anyone we’ve seen in a few years.
Beginning Signs of The Evolution In His Writing
Eazy is the total package as a battle rapper. His projection and delivery are unique, he’s a vivid storyteller, and has underrated comedic chops. He’s a master of buildups. He takes you along for the journey and as you’re getting eager to see what the destination is, it shakes to your core when you get there. You feel his pain behind the words, but also see the triumph. But Eazy’s best trait may be getting you to look at his opponent differently than you did before the battle.
Eazy showed flashes of this and maybe this is a case of us catching up late to what he’s been doing because we have been so focused on the drug bars and “real talk”, that we didn’t realize the real talk has been angles the whole time. In his 3rd round vs Danny Myers in 2020, Eazy initially displays sympathy and even takes responsibility for Danny’s often mentioned wife’s troubles, before redirecting the ire back at Danny with these lines:
“It was no way out for me, it was ten niggas in one apartment/
You can’t be conscious when ya kid starvin’/
I traded a good life for your hardship/
So for all the drug dealers out there Danny we sorry/
It’s a lesson- no fuck that, didn’t you use to hustle too?
Yeah you gotta take some of the blame/
Cause ten years ago me and you, yeah we was one of the same/
I done fucked so many bitches in that crib it wasn’t until the cops raided it, that’s how the neighbors knew my name/
So quit with the riff raff cause you destroyed lives too, don’t ever forget that/
And it was just parallel that yours got fucked up that’s how your universe get back/”
Not the most groundbreaking stuff ever written, but it’s blunt, hard to argue against and effective. There’s no hole to poke in it. That’s as airtight as writing gets and that’s part of what makes Eazy such an elite pen. He leaves you with no wiggle room out of the picture he’s painting of you and in the meanwhile he’s building up to dropping bombs and haymakers on you. And this was the point in time where Eazy would only dedicate portions of a round on an angle for an opponent, not fully exploring the heights he could reach.
Eazy vs T-Top
Let’s fast forward a bit to January 2021 where Eazy faces T-Top and in his second round, Eazy is more consistent on hounding Top’s credibility as a street nigga. In a round that is incredibly crafted, this run of lines stood out the most for me:
“And that’s why I get mad as shit/
Cause what y’all think is progress is you runnin’ out of movie drug bars so you had to switch/
Nigga think about it
Besides them bum ass angles you barely good nigga/
You talk down on somebody havin’ a job and goin’ to school
That’s how I know you not no hood nigga/
Cause ask any trap nigga who make a bag/
We tell the youngins to go to school, get a job, don’t chase the fam’/
But we do NOT look down on somebody who choose to take that path/”
Eazy amazingly explains a true mindset among people who come from a certain environment. To uplift and support the young who want to take a different path from what’s typically provided them. And in turn T-Top’s character looks shaky for trying to de-legitimize B Dot’s collegiate past. Again, it’s not the most intricate way of character assassination, but it’s so precise and real feeling that there’s little you can do to try and stop its effectiveness.
His Pen Transitions On To The Big Stage
As he remained scorching hot, Eazy continued to implement angling effectively vs formidable names like T-Rex and Chess, the highlight being his 2nd round vs Chess:
“I’m like, A dickhead is what it gotta be/
Fuck up and then bitch about fuckin’ up, he wild to me/
Choke after choke then a good battle like this apology/
The only time I got that many chances was playin’ Monopoly/
I said, One day I’ma get my shot./
That’s why I take every battle like it’s my last, I never played with my spot/
Nigga, how is chokin’ an issue and you is in poverty and rap was ‘pose to take you to the top?/
Cause if you were strugglin’ as much as you said, time is supposed to be the only thing that you got/
I don’t see things how y’all see things/
Eight years in the spotlight? Nigga that puts you as a pre-teen/
They coddled you/
Not nip it in the bud, y’all was wildin’ too/
Wanting to be treated like an adult but threw tantrums like a child would do/
You wasn’t designed to lose, you thought Steams would coddle you?/
He was low key jealous cause he allowed it too/
That’s why there’s no real leadership behind you/
The respect was ugly
You was too busy tryin’ to be his equal, you didn’t protect the money/
Once more, Eazy paints the scene in such a straight forward, no frills way that even with us not knowing any behind the scenes details on Steams and Chess’ conversations around that time, it doesn’t come across as chatty. Instead he makes a compelling argument of a privileged kid who didn’t have true guidance surrounding him.
There’s beauty in rawness and simplicity. I don’t say this lightly when I say that I truly believe Eazy is one of the best writers battle rap has to offer. He might not be as layered or intricate as guys I adore like Kid Chaos or A. Ward or dive into multisyllabic flows and cadences with ease the way Ace Amin or Real Sikh do.
But what he creates with his pen is lethal. To land haymaker after haymaker the way he does already takes a hell of a pen, but to keep us engaged in the times when he’s not punching and just setting the scene for 8 bars is the mark of someone who knows the power of their words and takes it seriously. Tack on his ever expanding angling skill-set and not only do you have one of the best writers in battle rap, but one of the most dangerous battlers we may have ever seen.
Among the LTBR staff, when we really started examining Eazy’s growth in these areas was his Resolution 2 performance vs Aye Verb. On the surface, it’s easy to chalk it up as rehashing a lot of the same angles used against Verb over the span of his illustrious career. What Eazy does to put a unique wrinkle and spin on it though was to add on the context that a lot of the Verb rumors over the years that have become almost battle rap canon, you can trace back to Hitman Holla, his St. Louis brethren, being the first to say them. It’s a small detail that does wonders for the credibility of the approach.
So what could easily be dismissed as baseless rumors and people being chatty patty, now makes you raise an eyebrow, as Hitman Holla stands in support of Verb as Eazy barks these rounds. It’s a win-win approach for Eazy. It’s either Hitman was telling the truth and these things are real or it was fake and exaggerated stuff made up for battle rap and then gives Eazy the green light to question Verb’s integrity and morals as a man to be okay with that. That one added piece of bringing in Hitman’s role in these persisting angles is what separates the good from the great and is why Eazy has been so unstoppable..
The Power of Counter Writing
Goodz at NOME 12 saw first hand how dangerous this version of Eazy could be. For my money, NOME 12 was the best Eazy performance to date and the more I analyze it, I’m not sure I think it’s close. Yes, Eazy is incredible vs Chess and it’s the better battle, but in terms of the counter-writing and angling that was done for all 3 rounds to render almost everything Goodz said null and void is a feat we should be talking about as one of the greatest in battle rap history.
The perfect timing in his material for this battle was properly placed to tackle every attack Goodz had. Not only would he negate these attacks, he would combat them with a variety of angles and calculated predictions for what Goodz would say. Eazy knew all of the points that would get touched on and further more, when Goodz tried to predict what Eazy would do, he was off-target and caught by surprise as Eazy did not succumb to the plot Goodz attempted to portray. For example, Goodz saying Eazy would talk about Drugs for the whole battle, Eazy didn’t fall for the bait, instead was focused on breaking Goodz down. Being able to negate every attack while also not falling for what your opponent deems of you, is what makes this performance brilliant.
Goodz doesn’t lose clear. Ever. No matter what people may say he lacks in lyricism or performance, Goodz captivates the audience and almost always walks away winning in the building. For Eazy to not only win, but in the emphatic fashion that he did, 2 years after being assumed to get bounced out of the first round of UM1, was stunning and still is insane to process almost 2 weeks later. And Goodz wasn’t the first time he did this! He’s not supposed to be 30ing people like Aye Verb and K-Shine, but he arguably is. A more than compelling case can be made that between 3 of at worst the top 15-20 best battle rappers of all time, that he’s 9-0 on a round by round breakdown. And for as much barking as Eazy does, he doesn’t get there without his version of an elite pen.
Clip of the biggest highlights from Eazy’s first round at NOME 12. 🔥🔥— BATTLE RAP’S WOJ (@LTBRpodcast) July 13, 2022
A Powerful round filled with tailored suited haymakers.💣Early candidate for an ALL-URL 1st round. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/99FI2c7anP
The Statistical Dominance of Eazy's Production on the stage
Eazy The Block Captain’s execution of his writing & performance stands out when you look into his analytical profile on the App
•He is 1 of the 6 rappers within the Top 10 of both categories. (Wins & Reactions)
•He has the 3rd highest average of Reactions Per Battle.
1) Surf 236K Reactions Per Battle
2) Chess 185K Reactions Per Battle
3) Eazy 174K Reactions Per Battle
•He has the 2nd highest performance in reactions on the entire App.
(480K vs Chess)
•Eazy vs Chess is the only battle with 1 Million Reactions on the app.
•4x Performance with the Highest Reaction per event.
(Events: BL9, Super Fight, NOME11, Resolution)
•6x Battle with Highest reaction per event 6x
(Events: BL9, Super Fight, NOME11, SM11, Volume 9, Resolution)
•Eazy The Block Captain holds the highest undefeated record on the URLTV App at 10-0 (soon to be 11-0)
•Eazy The Block Captain holds the highest undefeated record on the
caffeine fan vote at 8-0 (Disclaimer, the Chess battle did not have a fan vote)
The Future is Bright
So, what’s next? Legendary names like Calicoe, Charlie Clips, and John John Da Don are all knocking on Eazy’s door. Geechi Gotti and Murda Mook can’t be far behind. His Guntitles groupmates Tay Roc and Tsu Surf are still names that aren’t crossed off. With all this talk about his angling skills,
I wouldn’t mind seeing Eazy vs B Dot. Or 2019/UM1 class smoke with Real Sikh, Ace Amin or Swamp. With all these names on the board and still in play, it begs the question: when will Eazy have an off night? A run like this is unprecedented. Having great debatable battles every time out against top names like Geechi accomplished is nothing to dismiss, it’s part of what makes him one of the all time greats.
But for Eazy to face these names and SMOKE them when they’re not lackluster, choking or stumbling, is new territory. And for as once in a generation as Geechi’s run felt, with Eazy constantly evolving and getting better, adding in more performance to his style too on top of the rapidly developing angling, in a year or so’s time, Eazy might be pushing himself in to an even more elite conversation.