Artwork By Battle Rap Bum
Staff Writer: J Smo
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: NJ Twork vs Jaz The Rapper | NJ Twork vs Emerson Kennedy (Premier)
Best Individual Performances of the night: #1 Jaz The Rapper | #2 NJ Twork | #3 Sheed Happens | #4 Marv Won
We will be introducing our new rating system for individual battles. Similar to the 5 Mics concept, We will give a 5-star rating per battle on the card. ☆☆☆☆☆
Sheed Happens vs B-Magic
The opener for the Rome card, Magic vs Sheed had the potential to showcase a ton of different flows and pure rapping. It was evident early though that this would be more of a one-sided showcase. Magic went 1st and the first very noticeable thing about Magic this whole battle is he was rapping extremely slow compared to his signature rapid-fire style. Very average material to accompany, and to top it all off a short round, the door was open early for Sheed to level up. Although not the quickest start to his 1st either, Sheed’s energy was a major difference from that of Magics round while still matching him in the content department. Was just a different level of effort and it didn’t take much for it to be Sheed 1-0 clear.
Sadly Magic’s 1st would be a glimpse of his next 2 rounds except maybe a bit shorter than his 1st. The flow was there but so slowed down at times it seemed like Magic might be remembering it as he went. Minimal stumbles, and small flashes of the Magic we’ve seen all year (ex: Brace Yourself bar) but just not a competitive set of rounds overall. Sheed would take the 2nd and 3rd clear as well, but his 2nd is the high point of the battle. Catching momentum, he gets fully into the pockets that make Sheed an original talent. Aside from just the great performing and rapping, his Tribal Arm and Magic 8Ball/Shake for an Answer haymaker stand out from an overall complete and dominant showing. Clean 30 for Sheed who is putting together another respectable year on paper.
Real Name Brandon vs Jae Millz
Real Name Brandon vs Jae Millz is a battle that had mixed expectations going in, little odd on paper to say the least, but a unique setting could emphasize some of their strengths. For RNB, this was somewhat true, as his 1st is the best round he has rapped in quite some time. Energized, creative content without too much OBC, and some good real talk, this was a positive round and showing from him. His 3rd was his 2nd best round, also solid just not as impactful as his 1st. His 2nd was his only hit-or-miss round, doing a “like this” concept where he ended every line of his round with “like this”. While I appreciate the risk-taking to try and do something original, this just ran on far too long even though it had some early peaks. Despite that misfire, it still can be argued as Brandon 30, with the 2nd being debatable.
As for Jae Millz, the setting did emphasize his rapping ability which at points of the battle had him building momentum, hitting some of his best pockets in the 2nd. The problem that Jae suffers from all 3 though, particularly in the 1st and 3rd in this one, is the same issue he’s had most this time. His content is either outdated or just isn’t put together well. People point to his delivery and while that probably still needs work I have seen Millz get better at timing and landing punches, and even buy into some of his build-ups to a bar. But outside of a few decent landings here and there, he’s not putting together full rounds of effective content whether that be punches, angles, schemes, real talk, etc. Solid W for RNB, in a pretty run-of-the-mill battle.
Marv Won vs Ace Amin
Another matchup with 2 more of the better pure rappers in the game, Ace vs Marv presented a good challenge for Ace while Marv, one of the bigger under-the-radar winners, got to go against one of his better opponents of the year. Similar to Magic vs Sheed, there was a key element at play that started the battle one-sided early, and in this case that was the turbulence/stumbles of Ace Amin. While not flat-out choking, Ace’s 1st round is riddled with stumbles that really make the round unwatchable even though he’s still getting through most of the material. Marv is a true pro and advantages like this are nearly impossible to come back from against a seasoned vet who is very rarely going to slip up let alone not take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes. Not his strongest 1st but the multi and imagery that Marv raps with just is fire to listen to even when he’s not punching or being very direct. Using money and legacy talk, Marv cruises his way to an easy 1-0 lead.
Ace 2nd is his best and most competitive round of the battle, still has some stumbles but is much cleaner and built great momentum rapping which is when Ace is at his best. His DC/Marvel be an Opp bar showed his punching ability, but his real talk hits in this round as well and gives you a versatile round from Ace. Marv keeps his pace from the 1st, not raising the level but nearly matching Ace. I personally edge Ace the 2nd in a close round and have it 1-1 but a potential 2-0 for some.
The 3rd, Ace reverts to the stumbles of his 1st and makes the clear W a layup for Marv. Solid W for Marv, who didn’t have a standout showing but just a good W over someone who’s having a career-high 2023. Ace’s first real bad L of the year, this all came down simply to preparation and hopefully, he will be able to bounce back to the success he’s experienced most of 2023. Marv 2-1 clear 1st and 3rd, possibly 30 depending on who you give the 2nd to.
Nu Jerzey Twork vs Jaz The Rapper
Main Event of the night, Twork vs Jaz is a pure titan vs titan matchup with each being a heavy COTY and WOTY contender for 2023, as well as 2 of the greatest the game has to offer in any given year. Twork would start the battle 1st and as expected, power punching was displayed early. Opening with his Onesie bar, Twork was back-to-back punching this round from beginning to end. Bit of a shorter, but not short round, Twork is efficient with his time landing his Margarita, Ventriloquist, and Cub Scout bars all effectively. The peak of his round is his Strong Right/Weak(week) left haymaker where he adds substance to the punch showing further versatility beyond the straight punches.
Jaz would follow and like her fairly recent battle vs Nitty, she stacks her 1st to be her heaviest of the battle. Starting off with an angle punch about Twork taking purses (known angle), Jaz round also is a round of rapid-fire punching but with a little more angling involved. Starting from the haymaker opener, she is addressing everything from Twork being with multiple groups to Twork’s manager Anwar, and how he’s played into his success. With peaks like her “Good Man is Hard to Find” bar and plenty of lines in between, thought this round was the clearest of the battle as Jaz leveled up vs a good Twork and was up 1-0 clear.
The 2nd is a different tale as Twork turns up his energy and content and delivers his best round of the battle. His Funeral Reception haymaker opens the round with a great start and rides that momentum into every next bar, landing from the beginning of the round to the end flawlessly. His Sample, Whoopie Cushion, and FatHead bar all land as well as his segment listing and explaining a series of guns landing multiple bars within the concept. A better version of his 1st, Jaz response here was not as strong as her 1st round but not a bad round either. Jaz is still mostly punching this round but the landing rate and peaks don’t match her 1st. Still landed good lines like her Monster/Scratches on the can bar but the drop off on paper and watching live was visual. After a close round to some, I found myself having Twork more and more on the rewatch and while clear may be debated amongst people, I’d say the 2nd Twork got by a pretty comfortable margin albeit not a blowout.
This leaves the result of the battle to the 3rd in which both took a pretty common approach to the other but some of the elites in the game still put their own creative spins to it. Twork takes a round long approach about Jaz being promiscuous and sleeping around with battlers, which you would think would be shallow and hard to make effective. But bars like his “lay on ya back and slide/like a mechanic” are examples of the small, clever lines Twork can make that make him so dangerous with any topic. His Scuff Ya Timbs/Keep Knocking Boots bar is my favorite of the round, but I will say Twork cuts his 3rd what felt a tad bit short compared to his 1st 2 rounds, leaving you with a solid but beatable round to wrap up his performance.
Jaz 3rd also was a nearly round-long angle, addressing the career-long issue of Twork’s choking. She even pulls out a literal SCROLL of the list of names Twork has choked against which was very over the top and funny. She also used clever lines to sell an overall obvious topic, with bars like “Choked vs Swamp and Casey, how you do that when the South is where Twork originated”, and effective punches within an angle. While overall a fun concept, the tail end of the round is where Jaz makes her mark in the 3rd landing 2 haymakers, one talking about Twork’s history of deposit stealing and the other about his simple Gun Transitions. The 3rd is what this battle comes down to for me and is extremely debatable with both being evened up going in and somehow having similar rounds in structure. I found Jaz late flurry is what made the difference for me, and I found myself edging Jaz the 3rd and the battle overall 2-1. Great battle, a good look for both as each had a very good 3 rounds giving the battle an entertaining 6 rounds overall with no real low points or major flaws. Both continue to show why they are key talents in the 2023 scope and look to add this into the convos for the best years of their career. Thank you to both MCs for taking a large-scale battle and making sure it lives up to the hype.