Divide & Conquer 2
Event Recapped by staff Writers Q Moody, France & J Smo
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Chef Trez vs Showoff | Charlie Clips vs Rosenberg Raw
Best Individual Performances of the night: #1 Bigg K | #2 Chef Trez | #3 Charlie Clips | #4 Ill Will | #5 Showoff | #6 Swave Sevah
Best Bricks of the night: #1 Coach Corleone | #2 Tae Doe | #3 J-Slash |
The Biggest Win of the Night: Bigg K Over Murda Mook | Tae Doe over Lady J | QB Black Diamond over Robin Rhymes
Highlight Rounds of the Night: Bigg K 2nd | Murda Mook’s 1st | Swave Sevah 3rd | Chef Trez 1st | Showoff 3rd | Charlie Clips 3rd | Rosenberg 2nd | Ill WIll 1st
Murda Mook vs Bigg K (Main Event)
Recapped by Q Moody
The mega-match we didn’t know we wanted or needed. Out of all the possible names we’ve pondered could be matched up with Mook for the last 10+ years (Tsu Surf, Dizaster, Brizz Rawsteen, Cassidy, Charlie Clips, etc), Bigg K is one where no one saw this coming and they’re lying if they said they did. And it’s not because Bigg K isn’t of that cloth, he has one of the best resumes in battle rap history. Timeless lines, classic battles, and brutal bodybags. In the infamous words of Royce da 5’9, Bigg K “checks all the boxes”. Both guys come into this battle with crazy waves of momentum. K because of his A. Ward battle and Mook because of his Geechi battle.
Bigg K is virtually impossible to stop when he has momentum in a round. It’s a freight train. It’s like trying to stop Giannis in transition. He raps so well and fluidly and when he’s at his best, he doesn’t take lines off. The jabs/setup bars pack a punch and when he eventually reaches the end of the pocket, that momentum feels like a tidal wave. And it’s no different here in this Mook battle. Bigg K immediately sets the tone and makes it clear that the A. Ward performance wasn’t a one-and-done thing. We’re witnessing Bigg K at the peak of his powers again. What sets K apart from other “punchers” is the fact that K’s brand of angling is so direct and blunt, and hits almost every single time. And his brand of humor is so dry and sarcastic, he’s not someone you immediately think of when it comes to diffusing opponents but that’s another major skill of his. There’s not an obvious flaw to attack stylistically so the only thing an opponent can do is hope he’s not motivated.
On my initial watch, I thought Mook’s first was really good and had some room for debate on who won the first round. And Mook’s highlight of the round might be my favorite bar of the whole battle (“and I know your body, so don’t get out of it”), but even in this round, it’s evident that a lot of Mook’s content was either outdated or at times outright bad. The segment where he does the “ring around his rosey cheeks”, “humpty dumpty”, and “no siree, nursery” is a failed attempt at a scheme, and for a guy we hold in such high reverence, he’s supposed to be better than this. And he can be, that’s what makes him frustrating. He has the “know my body”, “doghouse/married man”, he has shown a talent to come up with memorable material, but it gets lost in the mundane and uncreative bars he seems to not be able to shake.
Bigg K keeps rolling with his 2nd round revisiting Mook’s past as a basketball player, and while this is far from new information (Serius Jones used this facing Mook), the way K does it and builds on everything leads to what I would call the best round of the battle. There’s not much Mook could have done to combat this round, but it doesn’t help that Mook has his worst round of the battle here. There’s no excuse for Murda Mook, the godfather of the art form, to be doing alphabet schemes in 2023. People were doing that in 2009, 14 fucking years ago. Not only is it OBC, but it’s also the most egregious form of it there is. And Mook is such a good rapper when it comes to his flows and delivery and putting the words together in ways that sound pleasing to the ear, so it might not strike someone initially as something worth getting so passionate over. But if this is supposed to be one of the standard bearers and leading voices in the culture, laziness like this is just unacceptable.
On top of everything I already mentioned about Mook’s 2nd, let’s address the angle he attempts about Bigg K being a vulture. On paper, there’s a way to make that work. We can’t pretend Bigg K doesn’t have a history of questionable things he has said that should be rightfully called to question. Murda Mook isn’t the person who can get so defensive and up in arms over it though when we have actual footage of him defending a white woman’s antagonisms towards black women and saying that he let his non-black friends say “nigga” growing up. This isn’t making things up or taking things out of context, it’s verifiable fact. It’s the right message, the wrong messenger and he delivered it poorly on top of that.
The third culminates with each emcee taking angles on the other and to be honest, I’m not into speculating on people being cops or who was sleeping at another rapper’s place. As media there are things where I don’t know if it’s a fact, I don’t want to perpetuate or push without knowing for sure. That being said, K eventually did mention the YesJulz situation I alluded to previously and it just hits hard for me. There’s nothing that can be said to take the bite out of that, it’s as factual as information gets. And with how he packaged the rest of the material, I have this as a clear 3-0 for Bigg K with the first round being the most competitive.
I don’t hate Murda Mook, I don’t have any desire to see him fail or do poorly. I think he had a lot of dope moments and left with my bar of the battle. He’s a talented rapper. But because he’s talented, we have to hold him to a higher standard than what he showed here. He can’t get passes for outdated material and nursery rhyme schemes just because he’s the first guy people saw battle rap. He shouldn’t be judged or graded on a curve because of his accomplishments. If a rapper coming up through The Crucible now did the alphabet scheme or nursery rhyme one, they would be getting laughed at from all corners of battle rap fandom. We need to be consistent in our critique because when we aren’t, it doesn’t let guys improve. Lying to our battlers doesn’t help anyone.
As for Bigg K, the roll he’s in is what legends are made of. Being able to start off with clear wins over formidable comp like A. Ward and then beating one of the faces of battle rap, it’s hard to kick off a year better than that. He’s firing on all cylinders and reaching levels we haven’t seen from him in years. Motivation is everything in any occupation. We watched years of K going through the motions and doing the bare minimum. Still winning and not losing clearly, sure, but doing just enough to get by. With this newfound fire he’s rapping with, it’s hard to see who K wouldn’t just steamroll at this point in time. Bigg K didn’t NEED to beat Mook to solidify his spot, he’s already one of the greatest of all time without it. But maybe it’s time to reevaluate just how high we have him and how much higher he could go.
Who do you have winning between Murda Mook vs Bigg K ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 7, 2023
Chef Trez vs Showoff
Recapped by J Smo
Chef Trez vs Showoff was viewed as a solid undercard battle, with some potential but nothing to eye-popping. Showoff has been solid but beatable, and Trez has been cooking at an elite level. Some thought this may be the battle he takes a step back effort-wise to regroup. All things that would be silenced when this turned out to be a strong Battle of The Night contender.
Starting with Showoff, the aggression as always was shown instantly, delivering with high energy out the gate landing a gun bar about Hitman’s Remix very early. He wouldn’t continue bombing as frequently, with some real talk and long build-ups spacing out his punches, but still was a solid and consistent round.
As expected, Chef Trez leads his 1st off with 2 rebuttals, both landing as haymakers to give himself some early momentum. Then, unfortunately for Showoff, Trez writtens would match up to his rebuttals and then some. The Truck Driver, Air Show, and Globetrotter bars were all bombs, and closed out his 1st with maybe his most direct and impactful angle and line of the battle: “I can come to RBE, you can’t go to SMACK”. The approach and parallels landed crazy, and Trez 1st was a true showstopper.
Showoff 2nd was a step down from his 1st but still solid, attempting to rebuttal Trez closing angle to start. Landing a few good punches (School Supplies and Grandma Couch bars) as well as having a security guard jump in as a performance prop, Showoff gives another round that most days would be good enough. Trez did not let his foot off the gas though, delivering another ELITE round. Punches, rebuttals, performance, real talk. Trez gives everything in his 2nd and was actively leaving Earth.
The 3rd is the closest round, with Showoff having some funny rebuttals and more serious angles, all before calling out Eazy The Block Captain, and Calicoe. Trez 3rd was not unbeatable like his 1st 2 but was solid enough and while a very close round I personally edged Trez the 3rd. Dope battle, and takes nothing away from Showoff who performed well, but like his Jag battle, he stood in front of a rare form of his opponent. As for Trez, this is a top-tier level run, and it really is looking like 2023 is going to be (easily?) the best year of Chef’s career. And he is easily a Top 5 active battler out right now
Who do you have winning this battle between Chef Trez & Showoff ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 6, 2023
Charlie Clips vs Rosenberg Raw
Recapped by J Smo
Froze would finally get one of the big-time opportunities he’s been looking for, getting Clips in one of the biggest matches of his career coming off a big 2022 for himself and win on the 1st D&C vs Jag. Clips on the other hand comes into the battle under negative pretenses, showing severe lack of effort in recent performances that had higher stakes. But, as has become a pattern with the Blue Room thus far, both battlers decided to bring A game versions of themselves in what would be another very entertaining, top tier level battle.
Battle would start on Clips, and his 1st like his Danny and Calicoe battles, was really good. Very aggressive delivery, good momentum building gave the round the tone we wanted to see from Clips: a serious one. His best pocket of the round by far is his Heisenberg/Breaking Bad bar which broke the building. Rose 1st would match this level though, Starting even effective landing his Anthony Davis and Cool Running haymakers early. While Rose showcased great flow and delivery as per usual, there was a spot in about the “3rd quarter” of his round that content wise lacked effectiveness. Rose ends the round on a high note though, following this potential dry spot with a haymaker about McDonalds Fries to end his round. Very closely contested round and extremely debatable, but the slight dry spot for me was enough to tip the scales in favor Clips, either pick is fully acceptable though.
The 2nd round was all Rose. Clips 2nd tried to follow a style breakdown like his very effective strategy vs Twork on Volume 4. While it had some effectiveness, it didn’t by any means carry the round and Clips at times looked extremely eager to freestyle, which he did not as apparently it was contracted that he was not allowed to freestyle, a unique stipulation. I don’t believe Clips never freestyling is the answer but freestyling 50-70% of your material in a battle is ridiculous. With that being said, Clips 2nd was beatable and Rose 2nd is his best. His Party Mix, Snowfall, Bike Lane, and Block Party bars all hit as haymakers as he took the 2nd dominantly. High points like this from Rose, who’s faced so much past scrutiny as a talent, is best summarized in one of the funnier lines of his 2nd, “y’all don’t gotta respect me like I’m Nitty / But y’all not gonna fuckin disrespect me like I’m Gwitty”. Rose is at his peak as a battler and can compete with top guys, and his 1st 2 rounds further prove that.
Inversely, Clips 3rd is a masterpiece and one of the best executions of an angle you are ever going to see in Battle Rap. He very surgically and carefully lays out an angle about Rose disloyalty to RBE and trying to get on URL, bad mouthing some RBE talents who had already made the transition over (in this case, Mackk Myron). The angle culminated in a good ol’ fashion game of “Swear To God” where Clips involved ARP by sending him screenshots earlier in the battle pertaining to the angle. In terms of information exposing and conveying a story and the validity to it of the crowd, Clips did it as good as it can be done. Not only did the round land effectively, but visibly shook-up Rosenberg who was pacing all round, then stumbling multiple times in his own round. The air had been taken out the building, and Rose appears to basically cut his round short as it was very clear who’s round this was.
Very good and debatable battle. Rose most definitely brought a performance worthy of the occasion, and a serious 3 round Clips brings one of the best angle executions we’ve seen in the last 3-5 years, leaving what could be a lasting impression on Rose with a new angle available for his next opponents. I edged Clips 2-1, but Rose 2-1 is a result you will see just about as much of as well.
Who do you have winning between Charlie Clips & Rosenberg Raw?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 6, 2023
Coach Corleone vs P.A.Y.N.E
Brick on Brick violence. Both emcees are fresh off of stellar performances of Divide and Conquer 1, where they both battle experience battle rap veterans, their following test is to turn around & face each other. Usually, battles amongst peers from the same draft class have a high level of competition and intensity, let it be known that the promo leading up to this match was vehement, and the face-off was even more heated, so it had a ton of anticipation to see the results of this battle and while, the battle does have instances of competitiveness pain is able to showcase his relentless aggression, sharp delivery, but some of his attacks and punch lines didn’t necessarily have the potency or the direction I felt it needed to really impose his will on the battle. Some of the bars lack a bit of purpose when it comes to the opposition, and some of the wordplay fell short. He has all of the intangibles when it comes to confidence, believability, aggression & delivery, but the content needs a bit more development. He needs some more versatility in his utilities of his skill set. The aggression and violent/gun bars keep him very limited.
Coach is a pure puncher at His finest, and he continues to elevate the potency of his punch lines alongside the delivery of each bar. Coach showed more layers to his writing and connected on more haymakers in the first round. He understands the anatomy of a punchline. Coach packages his set-up with all of the key connecting terms so he can his thunderous delivery to bring home the bar. He can do a 4-bar build-up, an angle punch and even punch every 2 bars if needed. After a dominating first round, Payne brings up the intensity in the 2nd round and makes it very difficult for Coach to rise up against, however, I was thoroughly impressed by Coach being able to sustain the same level of output in his 2nd round as he did in his first. At this point of the battle, I do have Coach up 2-0 and Payne is able to secure a clear round by taking the third.
Who do you have winning between Coach & Payne ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 6, 2023
Ill Will vs King Los
One of the more unexpected but notable matchups on the card, Ill Will vs King Los seemed like a bit of strange match, stylistically and stature-wise. Los has been probably the best “industry” to battler transition we’ve seen, but even with that he hasn’t been performing to level of Ill Will who is a one of the best battlers in current time and truly an all- time talent.
Will would rap 1st and from the start he made this a very uphill battle for Los, having an explosive and diverse round to start. Jumping from his 5 finger/Hand scheme to some back-to-back punching like his Nuclease and Cap Size bars and ending with one of his signature moves “Coke so white / SNL stole my shit”, ending his round in a roar of crowd reaction. Los 1st would then paint the picture for his trajectory in this battle, and sad to say it was not a great one. Opening, the majority of his round is an extended car scheme, complying over 20-30 of the common car references we’ve heard in Battle Rap and putting it in 1 elongated concept. While some will marvel as the “complexity”, others will see it for what it really is: outdated and limited in creativity.
King Los has proven to have a good pen, and has produced creative concepts before, but certain material, such as a car scheme has simply been done over and over, dating back to Chilla Jones car scheme vs JC in 2012 (!!!). This carries into the 2nd, where Will once again shows multiple methods of attack from comedy about Los relationships with Puff, his Rick and Morty and Sandra Bland (RIP) haymakers, and all with masterful pace and cadence. Los response: monotone delivery, a pregnancy scheme, and some more aimless and long-winded concepts that were mostly falling flat. As a guy who did good in most his showings so far, this was one of the more limited and unpolished Los performances we’ve gotten so far.
Finally, the 3rd would see more of the same, with Will once again showing the full tool kit: Angling Los about an alleged incident he had in LA, landing a pair of insane haymakers with his Remington Steel and Larry Hoover punches, and even having a section at the end where he repeatably switches bucket hats doing a different style with each, which he claims was freestyled (!!!). Just one of the best showing why he is that. Los 3rd formulaically follows the path of his 1st 2, with bits of rewind in find but scattered amongst a lot of material that’s not as complex or hard hitting is they are presented. Good showcase for Will in a mismatch combined with an off night from the underdog leaves you with a 3-0 result.
Who do you have winning between ill Will vs King Los ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 7, 2023
Jay Breed vs Zay
A Dope on-site battle between two of the rising Bricks of the league. Jay Breed is following up with another On Site battler from his previous J-Murda performance. And I must say, Jay Breed showed massive improvements in his pacing and writing structure in this performance and it was complimented very well with the creative approach of Zay. Both emcees were able to display their best attributes for a dope battle outside to kick off the weekend and it almost feels like these are two emcees that deserved a slot to be in that blue room.
Swave Sevah vs Remedy Loko
Remedy Loko has gone through some unfortunate circumstances trying to get a vet plate, with his Reed Dollaz matchup fading behind the scenes over time as he sat on the shelf waiting for his opportunity. The opportunity would finally come but in the form of Swave Sevah, a vet who at one point in time was the staple Gatekeeper of Battle Rap.
I would be lying if I said I thought this battle was going to be exciting, as Swave has struggled to keep up the pace in newer age matchups and produce good footage, and Remedy Loko at times loses himself and the crowd within his unorthodox style, with his tone and material being flat out confusing at times.
This battle proved to be no different for Remedy, who got it going a little in the 3rd with a fire rebuttal, but otherwise gave a bizarre and awkward performance. His 1st is kind of disturbing, with a strange opener that he even acknowledges is kind of weak mid-round. Couple that with some egregious pauses that caused a further disconnect between him and the crowd. He also threw shots at the Brick process in the 2nd, even more, strange for someone who’s been pushed as a new RBE talent. Very strange showing that and another chapter in the Remedy Loko experiment.
Luckily for us, Swave Sevah decided to remind us what he’s capable of and bring his best performance in years. From his first-round landing effective punches like his Factory Reset bar and giving some unique talk only Swave can too, doing a boxing lesson concept that mirrors his “how to shoot a gun” concept he did vs Twork which was also great. Swave 2nd is probably his weakest round, where he takes a comedy route calling Loko dirty the whole round. But the true moment of the battle is Swave’s 3rd towards ARP, discussing the tensions between RBE and URL, and flipping it to mirror MLK’s famous “I have a Dream speech”. A wholesome message and a real moment that any true battle fan can get behind, Swave took most of his round to spread a message that was bigger than the battle itself, being the cherry on top of a great showing. 30 ball for Swave, who had a crazy callout for Jag to end his 3rd. Is Swave’s follow-up op already set up? We shall see.
Who do you have winning between Swave & Remedy?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 6, 2023
K Venom vs Prophelinni
Solid 1 rounder near the top of the card, both Venom and Proph had decent showings in this opportunity, being it is 1 round with no chokes or super clear separation, showcasing your best version becomes the priority as appose to strategizing a win across a full battle. Proph had some solid aggression and a standard battle rap style overall, but not landing anything too special or explosive, Dyke Mothers bar possibly being the best of his round.
K Venom had a bit more uniqueness, showing some pen work with his Tourniquet bar and a more individualized sound. As his round went on he lost some steam, but still jabbed at a consistent rate in a pretty consistent round. Overall, decent 1 rounder, and while I was a little more impressed with K Venom, it is a close battle.
Snypa vs J-Slash
JSlash and Snypa got the chance to showcase their talents and generate some new fans, and both took advantage of the opportunity with some fair – good performances. Slash rapped with a more “pure puncher” approach while Snypa tried to do some more complex wordplay, sometimes a little too complex for his own good.
Slash would show early the 1st what his pace would be landing bombs early that would continue through the battle. His best bar was a name flip with performance elements, “body drop, in a Snypa position”. Back-to-back punching will carry you as far as your creativity goes, and while Snypa round was written a bit more unorthodox (ex: Mike Will Made It bar), his flow was extremely one track/redundant, and Slash peaks were far above, clearly taking the 1st round.
The 2nd was the closest round, Snypa landing a little more consistently while Slash took a slight dip in content. While I believe Snypa may have got this round, Slash finishing the job and clearly taking the 3rd makes the 2nd round a debate of semantics. Snypa was solid, but Slash was just more polished and explosive in landing his haymakers. Bright future for Slash on RBE if he can continue rapping like this.
Tae Doe vs Lady J
Identitties. (Ba Da Tss)
An entertaining match for all of the right and wrong reasons. Tae Doe makes her return after a brief hiatus on RBE from being on “punishment” and she took her moment and capitalized every second of it. Tae doe came out aggressive, with high intervals of energy, performance, and substance, and even started the trend of the night of taking shots at ARP. She was first but she certainly wasn’t last. And Tae Doe found herself getting the first and only 3-0 chant of the night.
Lady J the more experience battler, wasn’t able to really impose her will or showcase her veteran scars in this battle. She did walk away with the biggest moment of the battle that had social media in a frenzy, but at what cost?
QB Black Diamond vs Robin Rhymes
A battle that already had some doubts coming in, QB vs Robin Rhymes saw QB giving another shot to another RBE lady. Quoting the faceoff, QB said to ARP, “After this, no more favors Adam”, showing how she viewed this battle going in. It was pretty evident QB wouldn’t bring the effort to the level of performance she had for Kausion but would be solid enough. This makes the challenge of beating her still hard, but obtainable.
The pressure then goes to Robin, especially after QB had a solid but beatable 1st, consistent of mostly name-flipping (Ex: “I’ll steal Rhymes/like Plagiarism”). The problem is Robin just can’t sustain any momentum and has a rather confusing delivery. Here and there a line can land, particularly when she tries to do some comedy which she’s surprisingly good at. But in terms of truly quotable lines, the content just isn’t there.
2nd is probably the closest, pretty light round from QB, and Robin rapped a longer amount of time, angling on topics like QB fight with Bonnie. A little bit of stumbles and at times using an angle, so not necessarily a good round but good enough to make it competitive.
Can’t be bothered to truly break down the 3rd. QB handled business, which is really all this battle was about and won the 3rd with some straight disrespect and laned the bar of battle with her Robin Williams haymaker. Robin 3rd is really rough and incoherent, at one point having a bar where she Meow’d like a cat. Even with a possible 0/10 3rd, Robin still performed slightly above expectations, but not high enough to change some of the questions marks people still have about her. QB 30, and apparently will be looking for bigger matchups going forward.
Who do you have winning this battle between QB & Robin?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) May 6, 2023