Battle Rap's Favorite Word...
What do you know about narratives in battle rap? Did you know anyone can create them just by merely sharing their predictions on a battle?
A spoken or written account of subplots that connect events to lead into a story, is probably the most textbook definition of a narrative. But the reason the word stretches its boundaries in battle rap is because of the subjectivity of the culture. The opinion of an emcee’s performance is within the eyes of the beholder. The voice of every consumer, character, or personality in battle rap shares their own unique perspective on how they provide analysis or projections for the future outcome of matches. And I am here to let you know, no matter how you preface your prediction or how descriptive you may get to the conclusion of your prediction, whether the evidence you use is true, false, or incomplete without nuance, you have contributed to a narrative.
Not all narratives are negative, despite the connotation of how the word is used in the culture. At the end of the day, regardless if you are as detailed, methodical, investigative, speculative, using your preference, or a track record, or simply just guessing. You are indeed contributing to some narrative that exists in this world for a group of people sharing similar sentiments.
So in our attempts to have some fun and paint the picture of the narrative Canvas to the best of our abilities, let’s look at the track record, storyline, stakes, style analysis, and projections of each battle on the Two Day URL Outside Card.
Editorial Written by France, J Smo, Moni & Q Moody.
Nu Jerzey Twork vs NXT
Years in the making with so much on the line here for both guys, but in particular this is a huge moment for NXT. After working his way back up after the plant talk in UM4 hurt his momentum, he finds himself across the ring from the guy most of NXT’s detractors say he “copies” from. This is a test for NXT to show what his true capabilities are and to get a glimpse of what his potential ceiling could be.
This is a Twork who’s coming off a strong 2022 campaign which was capped off with one of his best performances ever vs Real Sikh. As much as this battle means to NXT, Twork has made it very clear he’s taking this battle seriously and that he’s out to prove a point.
This is NXT’s 1st URL Career Headliner & This is now Twork’s 4th URL Career Headliner
Ms Hustle vs Myverse
Ms. Hustle is coming off of what most would deem to be the best year of her career. Hustle’s 2022 was filled with headliners great back-and-forth battles against Top Tier Competitors, and dominant wins in the league against Male battles that are projected to be Top 20 Battlers. There is a legitimate and valid campaign for her to be the Woman Of The Year for 2022. Hustle has found ways to level up her style, even after a decade of being in the game. Enhancing her performance, stepping up her bars, and adding more chain punching sequences coincided with high intervals of energy and more potent punchlines. All of these attributes continue to make Ms. Hustle a serious threat to deal with on the stage.
Myverse is fresh off of her First Lady Flamez battle and making a return to URL after a six-year hiatus from her previous Bonnie Godiva battle. While Myverse did give a valiant effort against Flamez, most of the consensus from the media personalities, rappers, and fans in the room recorded it as a loss for her. And with Myverse having a challenging time overpowering First Lady Flamez in a small room, it’s possible you could see her struggle against someone who has much more of a presence and is a much better performer. Fans will always pick against Myverse because her resume isn’t as extensive, but this is the year Verse proves to be outside and active. Her talent and ceiling have yet to be identified, so be wary of the unexpected. We have seen upsets many times in the past and with Ms. Hustle having such cryptic tweets over the past two weeks regarding battle rap. Myverse could sneak a win in this situation despite the odds.
Kitchen Qleen vs Ace Amin
One of the more interesting matchups on the Outside card, we see a reinvigorated vet in Qleen pitted against an established (but returning) new-era prospect with Ace Amin. While both share similarities in with a past of inconsistencies and high potential flashes, they both come into this battle with positive stocks.
Starting with Qleen, after over a decade of a career that has been riddled with inconsistencies, but hope of a high potential, he put together possibly the most consistent year of his career in 2022. Qleen has clearly cared more about the craft this year, and it shows how clean on point his delivery and pacing have been, which is key to some of the main comedy and performance elements of his style. He’s always said he wants big matches, a Tay Roc rematch being one of them, and if he continues this level of performance vs high-level talent, matches like those become more realistic.
Ace Amin. Ace had a quiet 2022, But when Ace did pop out, he brought high-level material regardless of what may be considered a weak strength of schedule. Ace looks extremely polished, motivated, and landing tons of haymakers by way of his near-perfect rapping ability and performance. Also, a battler who has been prone to chokes and stumbles, Ace has been very clean as of late and seems to be very motivated going into 2023. Many fans have been waiting for Ace to have a consistent strength of schedule-heavy run, with high-level opponents and high-level stages for him to prove he is a top-tier talent on the platform.
So with both motivated, both having high energy and unorthodox styles, it looks like we’re on our way to a fire battle, where we either get a great debatable that helps both, or one battler starts their 2023 with an impressive clear win over the other.
Ave vs Tru Foe
The pure puncher versus the street poet. It’s no secret, there have been contracting disputes between Ave and the URL over the past year. In the year 2022, Ave has only battle once in the league and it may have been due to not getting the battles he wants, opponents ducking Ave, or opportunities not aligning. And it was heavy speculation that Ave was not going to be on URL for the upcoming year, as he has stated multiple times that he was getting ready to do his own venture and had about 5 to 6 battles lined up on multiple leagues and then he was going to do his own thing because he just wanted to get back to rapping. It seems like all things may have been resolved for the moment and we will see him make his return URL after close to a year, against a prominent rising talent coming off of a breakout year.
Tru Foe has shown more than just a peek of what a ceiling is like, he has given us a full taste of what the best version of Tru Foe could be on the stage. And now that we know the best version of Tru Foe is capable of competing with top tears such as Geechi Gotti and O-Red, the culture yearns for more high-level performances from him and they are pleading to see him stay at this consistent level that he has presented to us.
Consistency has always been the biggest battle for twofold his career as he has been stumble prone in the past and has struggled with delivering his material cleanly but what his two biggest battles from 2022 have shown us and said he can rise to the occasion when the odds are against him and his back is against the wall. With Ave being well rested and having a lot to probably say, this will pose to be Tru Foe’s toughest challenge in his career thus far.
Fonz vs Mackk Myron
One of the matches on the card with a grudge match feel, we see a classic punch-fest with Fonz and Mack Myron. The big story piece here is Mackk’s return to the URL stage, where he’s called out many high-level talents, Loso being probably the most known. But with Mack being in the puncher lane and many saying he’s one of the best punchers out just has a lack of opportunities, it laid the group work for him to take Fonz in an immediate sink or swim test back on the platform.
This matchup by no means is random or put together strictly for the punching aspect. Mackk Myron is committed to the league as he signs a 2-year deal for URL. Mackk has been very vocal about opponents he wants to see on URL, and his and Fonz static has been brewing since early 2022, when Mackk claimed he’d “put Fonz through the floor in the first 30 seconds” in Midnight Madness.
Many shots have been exchanged since then, with both battlers asking for it to be set up. Fonz is currently at a career-high, coming off possibly the most important showing of his career thus far vs Rum Nitty, and looks to have a strong 2023 full of top tiers and spotlight opportunities. A grudge match vs someone with the “how will he do back on URL?” narrative around him will have many eyes, so expect extremely motivated versions of both battlers going into it.
T-Top vs Real Name Brandon
(No Twitter Poll due to a late announcement)
Champion on Champion crime. T-Top is one of the original URL Tournament winners, the Ultimate Freestyle Friday (UFF) Champion in 2014. Will be pinned against the Ultimate Madness 4 (UM4) Champion, in Real Name Brandon.
T-Top is ready to get active for the year, he still has the Loso battle on the books to complete, but he is ready to get warmed up before taking a high-level opponent in Loso and will give Real Name Brandon a shot in this gatekeeping opportunity.
Real Name Brandon showed an impressive peak in the finals of UM4. He has the most dominant finals performance in Ultimate Madness history thus far, with a powerful performance over MVP on the Summer Madness 11 stage. Brandon outperformed a handful of great names that night. But since that moment, he hasn’t been as effective or rendered the same level of success on a stage. Especially against the Vets. He has a 1-3 App Record since Summer Madness 11. Brandon’s had a solid performance but came up short against Shotgun Suge, also had some shortcomings outside of URL against names like Saynt & Fonz, (two other tournament champions).
There was a lot of criticism regarding the level of competition and degree of difficulty in the UM4 tournament, and while I felt it was an unfair critique of Brandon at the time, seeing him now Struggle against higher-level competition has bolded the parks remarks of UM4’s difficulty to be more glaring. There is a valid concern if Brandon can even compete at a higher level. When you look at his sample size against more proven names like Suge, Nitty, Saynt & Fonz.
Don Laydii vs Jade
A rebooked battle from the Ladies Volume card (DROP THOSE BATTLES), Jade vs Don Laydii is a classic season vet vs underrated pen scenario. Don Laydii’s return to Battle Rap has gone well so far, with a goodie vs Yoshi G as a QOTR headliner, as well as a judged win in a 1 rounder over Lu Castro, also on QOTR.
On the opposite side, Jade has had a very different but equally fruitful stock rise as of recent. With battles on multiple different platforms (mostly Shotime and OSBL), she’s had good showings vs Lu Castro, Jada Raye, and Official (!). Her pen is as good as ever as she starts rising the ranks in the convo for best punchers in female battle rap. But battles like her loss to Zeke and a lack of taking advantage of big past opportunities brings into question not her talent, but her ability to be consistent enough for the big moments. Material wise, she has the clear advantage going in, but will she be able to perform and execute to the level that we know a vet like Don Laydii will.
Tay Roc vs Stumbles
This is now Tay Roc’s 17th URL Career headliner and this is now Stumble’s 3rd career headliner.
Tay Roc is coming off having an excellent 2022, where many would give him a Champion Of The Year vote on their ballots. This is Roc’s third consecutive headliner and his last two battles had some heated exchanges and scuffles. In this battle, Roc looks to just be himself. He is ready to get back to the formula and game plan that has always led him to success. Roc just wants to rap and leave all the extras out of this. And He will very well be a difficult assignment for Stumbles to handle.
As for Stumbles, this is a make-or-break situation. Stumble’s app record in his last 5 battles is 1-4. He’s had 2 main event battles against Snake Eyez & Shotgun Suge; with one breakout performance and career-defining victory, and one good performance with some hiccups. He had two performances where he struggled to be clean all 3 rounds against Real Sikh & Kyd Slade. And a pedestrian performance against Kitchen Qleen.
The track record for Stumbles being disappointing is much larger than his sample size of being successful at competing at a high level. If this isn’t the opportunity for him to fix all his fundamentals and be disciplined enough to be clean for 3 rounds, I’m not sure what will be the motivating factor to bring these things out for him.
Shotgun Suge vs Sheed Happens
Fighting fire with fire. Two explosive years. Shotgun Suge and Sheed Happens will face off in URLs second installment of “Outside” next weekend. The two mc’s are coming off their best year in battle rap in 2022. One can argue Suge has a strong case for COTY, and Sheed Happens is a shoe-in for the most improved battler. This makes for an interesting matchup because Suge has stepped his pen up this year. His level of material this year is a step up compared to previous years, as well as his consistency and focus. Sheed has also had a remarkable 2022. He blossomed in the UM5 tournament, showcasing his abilities against heavy competition like Tru Foe, Nunn Nunn and ultimately, JC. Sheed had the best battle on the URL Traffic 5 card versus Kid Chaos, and a BOTY contender.
We all know Sheed can hold his own against steep competition, but can he come out victorious in this battle? It’s very possible, but this is Sheed’s first time facing a dominant performer like Suge, outside of a controlled environment. This isn’t a LiteWork. This is a full three-round battle. Tickets are being sold, so there will be a crowd. This is Suge’s domain. Not to mention, Suge is no stranger to the Outside atmosphere and no stranger to this venue.
In addition, Suge has been campaigning for COTY in 2022 and I’m more than certain he plans to carry the same momentum into 2023. Nevertheless, this will be an interesting battle to witness in person. Both guys are electrifying and great performers. If you’re a fan, you want to be outside for this war!
Saflare Sole/Footz vs Chef Trez/ Nunn Nunn
A matchup the culture didn’t know it needed, but definitely liked when it saw all these names together. Each team is each other’s most recent opponent on URL, which already makes for a fun wrinkle, but another twist gets thrown in there when you realize Footz and Saflare are 2-on-2 partners. This is their debut as a team on URL, but their 2-on-2 team has maybe been the best on OSBL. It’s an uphill battle in terms of obvious chemistry and even explosiveness for Trez and Nunn in their first foray as a team. But there’s more than enough veteran savvy and momentum-stealing power that makes this one of the most interesting battles of the weekend.
Danny Myers vs J2 (Rematch)
This is Danny Myer’s fifth rematch in the last 8 months. But even more impressive is the historical trend he has rendered for the month of January. For the last 7 years, dating back to 2016, you can find at least one powerful Danny Myers performance in the month of January. (IE: the last 2 years; his Tay Roc, Drugz performance). Betting on Danny in January is always a safe bet.
However J2 has shown massive progression since their first battle on a smaller league, and he is coming off of being in the finals for the Bags And Bodies tournament. J2 also displayed a career-defining performance on Chrome 23 against Pristavia on the big stage. J2 is showing that he can compete at a higher level and is now being faced again with a relentless competitor, for the second time. Taking the same test twice will always give you the best advantage to have better results but the history for Danny Myers in January is too strong of an uptrend to go against.
Cortez vs Swervoo
The “Bodega” versus “This n***a from Landover.”
The two rappers have had a little bit of back and forth on Twitter prior to the announcement; where they often hinted at a battle in the future. Lo and behold, Cortez vs Swervoo is finally going down in 2023. Swervoo is coming off his LiteWork battle versus fellow native Tay Roc. Tay Roc won the fan vote convincingly, Swervoo’s 3rd round was something to remember. His heartfelt content and punching made that round a highlight of the battle. Swervoo held his own against Roc and showed he can stand in the ring with a vet.
But this Cortez battle is a true test for the UM4 rapper. He’s facing a seasoned veteran in Cortez, who is also coming off a LiteWork battle, versus DNA. While Cortez has had a quiet 2022, but he is still a formidable opponent and this isn’t a 90-second battle.
This is a full-length three-round battle, in front of a crowd- and I have yet to see Swervoo command a URL crowd. Now, that’s no knock to him, but the environment is going to play a big factor in this battle. I think this is where professionalism and presentation also comes into play. Cortez is more experienced, battle-tested, and comfortable in these types of environments. This battle will be nothing short of a challenge for the Swervoo.
Snake Eyez vs Anderson Burrus
The type of style clash you don’t get to see often on URL, but man am I fascinated by how this battle goes.
Anderson got a lot of what I thought was mostly earned critique in his Swave battle, and while I agreed with the majority of the criticisms, I think Anderson’s potential as an effective angler got extremely overlooked. Other than his comedic timing, his angle ability is probably his strongest attribute in battles and there’s no battler who gives him more material to work with than Snake. His actual rhyming and pacing improved a lot in the Dot battle and if Anderson can bring that plus a more refined approach to his writing with his already high comedic timing, this is a potentially dangerous battle for Snake
Other than the mountains of controversy, Snake is coming off an arguable battle of the year contender with Bad Newz, held his own vs Tay Roc in a battle our very own France saw firsthand. Snake has his momentum back in his favor and the question of will he did what brought him to the dance or if will he try to counteract Anderson’s strong suits is one of my biggest questions heading in to the weekend.