RBE Divide & Conquer Recap

Divide & Conquer

Event Rating

Event Recapped by France, J Smo, Q Moody & Titus

RBE Divide & Conquer Recap

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night:   Hollow Da Don vs Ill Will | Bad Newz vs Payne | Rosenberg Raw vs Jag

Highlight Rounds of the Night:  Bigg K 1st | ill WIll 1st | Hollow 2nd | QB’s 3rd | Payne’s 3rd | Coach Corleone 1st | Rosenberg Raw 1st | B Magic 2nd | 

The biggest win of the Night:  QB Over Kausion | Bigg K over A.Ward 

Best Individual Performances of the night: #1 Bigg K | #2a Ill WIll  | #2b  Hollow Da Don| #3 QB Black Diamond | #4 Rosenberg Raw | #5 A.Ward

1SK Standouts:  #1 Notes | #2 Jers | #3 Bee Michelle

1SK Big Picture

  • Notes showed a unique pace in his punchlines. He understands the importance of having a subtle level of pausing and timing with delivering his punchlines. It builds up anticipation and enhances the way a crowd receives a punchline. He was probably the most fundamentally sound out of all of the 1SK auditioning their talents this evening.

  • Jers has a dope flow and is able to really show versatility with the number of pockets he can get into. His punchlines are a little outdated which makes his content weaker than the perception of his actual delivery and performance but make no mistake, he is certainly a delight to listen to because he has such a fluidity with his rhyming. He does have energy and commitment to performance, but the bars need to step up.

  • Bee Michelle put on so much personality in her 1 round battle. She has a ton of charisma, originality, and a nice bop to her punchlines. You can feel the Carolina swag in the way she talks. That alone will make her memorable and stand out. Being unique and original is half of the battle as an up & comer but she will need to be sure she tightens up on delivering her content as cleanly as possible. You don’t have much leeway as you climb the ranks. So being as sharp as you possibly can be early in your career is important to avoid having the stigma of being labeled stumble prone. 

J-Murda vs J Geans

Recapped by Titus

Another brick vs another RBE staple. This battle truly fits the theme of the event. All of the Bricks got tested this weekend. They all did very well, I don’t feel as if they failed their test, but I’m also hard-pressed to say they passed. Much of the growing pains were shown in this battle 

J-Murda sets the tone in his round by skipping the intro and addressing their incident (if you know, you know) and this is a classic J-Murda with his aggressive delivery, intricate writing, and hard-hitting punches. He really sets a high bar for Geans to match. Geans starts off a bit slow in the first round and he eventually finds his footing in the first round. However, it wasn’t enough to overcome what Murda brought. The second round followed the same result as the first round, except for Murda’s punch rate increased in the second round. He has more one lines that instantly connected with the crowd and he hit the nail immediately.

Geans takes a more personal approach in his second round, really opens up about his life, and talks about his upbringing, and his relationship with his brother. It was some good insight into his life. He did have a very OBC reference with his Cancer/Can Sir bar. I won’t criticize it too much due to the fact the bar had a very personal bar related to his brother but objectively, it is an outdated wordplay reference that doesn’t render positive results. OBC lines/wordplay can actually deter your momentum more than it can help if you aren’t using them inside a multi-syllabic rhyme pattern.

Overall, the theme of this battle is that J Geans still needs to make more adjustments to his style of attack. He has potential, but the pace he raps at isn’t rapid enough to build himself into momentum. Especially if his material isn’t connecting. He could increase his tempo while making his material a little easier to follow. At this stage of his career, he needs to find out what separates him from every other battle so that he can hone in on his attributes and sharpen his skills. He could bring more haymakers to the table as well. 

J-Murda showed his veteran-savvy experience in this battle. And also makes some interesting callouts towards the end of the battle, as he calls out K Shine and Shotgun Suge. We’ll see if Murda gets some big plates in the near future, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next 6 months for J Geans look like as he works out the kinks and shows adjustments/improvements.

B-Magic vs Coach Corleone

Recapped by  Q Moody

Two Midwestern punchers clashing off in a battle of generations. Quietly B Magic has been having a solid run over the last year or so of really fun and enjoyable battles and it was no different here vs Coach. He showed up with three very good rounds. The new bricks of RBE definitely got their first taste of being hit back on this card, but Coach did more than fight back or hold his own. Coach came with 3 great rounds of his own, showing off the writing that makes me think he can be one of the better punchers in the game. 

One critique would be that his fellow bricks were doing a lot in terms of reacting. And yes, Coach was rapping great material and deserved a reaction, but how it came across on camera, a lot of people would call it “gas” and only does Coach a disservice. While this isn’t a knock on Coach, he also needs to be aware of the situation when it’s happening and he has to control the crowd, and not let the crowd control him. I have it as Coach Corleone edging every round, but I definitely don’t think it’s crazy to have B Magic winning.

Bad Newz vs Payne

Recapped by J Smo

Widely revered as a goodie on paper, the battle of Newz vs Payne doubles down on the aggression and gritty feel as one of RBEs best bricks took on one of the most improved battlers of the past year. Coming into this we knew both sides would lack no energy or aggression in their delivery and coupled with both of their strengths in the real/street talk within their content many people predicted one of the more competitive matches of the night. 

Payne would start off the 1st, and from the gate lacked no energy. Took a little bit to truly get cooking but heated up towards the 2nd half of his round after the Humble/White Rag haymaker. Some real talk (which was abundant all battle) to close the 1st gives a solid but beatable round from Payne. Newz would start his round off also using tons of energy out the gate, debatably over-performing some of his simpler bars to start the round (i.e. the OBC Nazi scheme). With that being said, the 1st round shows the biggest improvement in Newz game: consistently landing a few haymakers per round. Bad Newz always has been critiqued for his content, but bars like “have Payne in pain/he full of himself” are the type of bars that keep fans entertained and truly win you rounds. A few more heavy hitters such as his Max Payne bar to close his 1st gave a lot of the room’s momentum to Newz. Close round, but due to having the higher peaks, I edged Newz in the 1st round. 

The 2nd saw a step up in quality from both. Payne, once again, starts a little slow out the gate but lands a New/Beat The Dog bar that gives him a boost into the 2nd half of his round. He follows this up with the Motel soap and (maybe his best bar) Half Bad bar both landed crazy and were a clear improvement from his 1st. On the other side, Newz suffered from more extreme versions of the same pros and cons. He still has a couple of airballs in between that some can focus on to critique, but once again the haymakers tend to be attention snatchers, such as “Steal the Same and Bearer of Bad Newz” bars. In another round I’ve seen some divide, I still found myself preferring Newz energy and peaks and even had some more separation than the 1st. Therefore while it’s a close battle thus far, I had Newz 2-0 going into the final round. Although, Payne having a fire “LTBR post” bar made me heavily reconsider my judgment on this round. (Bias reviews Hollow voice)

The 3rd is Payne’s best round of the battle, omitting the dry starts of the 1st 2 rounds and just starting right off landing with a Glorilla bar quickly into the round. Following that with angles about John John Da Don’s role in Newz career as well as him getting shot, the tailored approaches had the crowd focused on every like Payne had and resulted in him landing beginning to end and showing his full potential when all things are clicking. Newz finished off his performance with another solid round, but similar to Payne in previous rounds had most of his notable material in the back half of the round. His angle punches about Newz on 106 and Park as well as his “Running For President” haymaker towards the very end give the round great peaks like his previous too, but the dry spots were more evident and led to me edging Payne the 3rd.

Good battle with fantastic energy and will have replay value, which means this was a win for both battlers. Payne is gaining fans as he goes and building a following as one of the better bricks. Payne has a definitive round and has something to build off of, while Bad Newz keeps showing people he may have finally figured it out, using that star-like delivery he’s always had and putting some content behind it consistently. Shout out to both battlers and hopefully, they can continue improving as they have through 2023. 

Round 1 – Newz edge

Round 2 – Newz clear

Round 3 – Payne 

QB vs Kausion

Recapped by J Smo

QB vs Kausion

QB vs Kausion seemed like an amazing, and too many including myself, easy opportunity. QB name holds legend weight while her performance rate since her return was not giving us anything close to top-tier quality. Kausion had an explosive back half of 2022 and with the Chrome 23 tourney to end the month a clear win over QB could’ve set her up for a promising 2023. But QB decided to show why her name holds that legendary weight.

Kausion 1st is really a solid round and follows a pattern that all her rounds would be a part of. Decent material throughout, with 1 or 2 standout haymakers (in the 1st: her Jailbroke bar), and then ending the round quickly. In the 1st it seemed good enough, but QB would respond with her best round in years. From the much-improved wordplay with name flips such as the Hazard Lights and Disclaimer bars, quick angle punches like her CDL line, and much more emphasis on momentum and timing, QB was nearly flawless in her 1st. So off-rip, the Kausion 30 talk was stumped with a very decisive 1-0 for QB to start. 

The 2nd round, back on Kausion, and the pattern continues. Decent little in-between bars, 2 powerful punches with her Fitbit bar and Fishing scheme, and then after a little over 2 minutes of material, she ends her round. Not as a choke, or any stumbling, but simply wrote very short rounds. A good 2nd, but this disparity in material + going against an opponent on 10 is a rough combination. And once again in the 2nd, QB continues to show all of her improvements. Line creativity-wise, she has my personal favorite line of hers “So I’m about to put a brick in a casket like Frank Lucas”, HEAVY haymaker, and one of those “damn no one thought of that?” type of bars. She also shows off her versatility, with some legacy talk about “being the foundation these bricks was built upon”, a great round to flex her veteran ship while still talking directly at Kausion. A solid Kausion to this point, but it was a dominant 2-0 heading into the 3rd round. 

Onto the 3rd, I can say this was Kausion best round. The retainer fee bar hit early, and her transition from that into one of her patent gun centric 3rds makes the round seem cohesive. Her alliteration bar with the letter P, as well as her son of a gun/“gun family” type of concept, leads to a potent and competitive 3rd, and slightly longer than her 1st 2 rounds while still being on the shorter side. But, as is the story of this battle, QB comes with her 3rd and final heavy-hitting round. Once again, besides the haymaker name flips she’s brought all night, she takes this round to cover another facet of BR: comedy. Roasting Kausion about her appearance and sexuality, the crowd was fully engaged and gave her all the momentum once again, and by the time she hit her CPS haymaker near the end of the 3rd, the result of this battle was clear. 

Kausion was solid but faced her 1st real bump in the road as on a somewhat off night, she caught a legend in rare form. It’s hard for me to believe this is the same QB that battled 40 BARRS, but it seemed the rust has been fully knocked off, and the QB who battled Kausion is a danger for any future opponents she may face and is a reminder that legends are legends for a reason. 


1st Round – QB clear

2nd Round – QB clear

3rd Round – QB clear (closest round)

Rosenberg Raw vs Jag

Recapped by France

Jag and Rosenberg have such a heated exchange leading up to this battle, that it brought much anticipation to see what type of content, performance, and aggressiveness they would present inside of the battle. Jag is coming off what would be deemed his best performance thus far since his return to the modern era of battle rap. 

Jag sets the tone for the battle by going first and has a very sharp brown or he’s attacking Rosenberg raw with all of his general attributes very good vocal projection, rapid fluid pockets, and a couple of dope punch lines. A very sharp round by Jag. Rosenberg’s response almost mirrors him except with a much slower and commanding pace Rosenberg has such a unique method of attack because of how direct he can be with his aggressiveness but also talk to you alongside the process he doesn’t have to rely on so many different punchlines but the variety of pockets that he brings while he’s talking to his opponent presents a distinctive level of command and control of the pace of the battle.

The first round was a fairly competitive round from both parties, I do have Rosenberg taking that round. And I feel as if the second round also follows suit with the results of the first round. 

Both of them are hitting all of the key points in the battle for a very good back-and-forth, but ultimately Rosenberg Raw goes the distance and is in complete control of the battle. It didn’t feel as if Jag had a stand-out round in his performance and my biggest critique of this performance was that his third round had a very debilitated ending. It was an odd way to close out the battle. Jag should definitely ensure that he closes his battles just as strongly as he opens them. Especially being in front of somebody like Rosenberg Raw, who is going to be committed to his energy & relentlessness. Rosenberg can consistently bring the same level of production every round, so you can’t take any rounds off against him. 

Rosenberg runs away with the third round and personally, I did have them winning the first two by edges. Although this may not have as been as potent as Jag’s Showoff performance, I don’t feel this is necessarily a regression from Jag. Mainly because it looks like he has found a consistent footing for what works for him. Jag is well aware of his placement in battle rap and he has the energy and work ethic to continue to climb the ranks. I thought Jag had a good first & second round and definitely could sharpen up for the third round but the biggest takeaway from this battle was how smooth Rosenberg raw was with his disrespect, his method of attack, and his aggressiveness. The transitions from pocket to pocket for Rosenberg were a rapping pleasantry and a great demonstration of how to be commanding with your delivery. 

A.Ward vs Bigg K

Recapped by France

One of the most anticipated battles of the night.  A true grudge match that was rescheduled from the Closure two card, due to A.Ward having an illness that prevented him from battling. Bigg K wins the coin toss and elects A. Ward to set the tone for the battle.  A lot to unpack with this one. 

Out the gate, A.Ward has a straightforward introduction about Bigg K being lackluster with his material, performance, and effort in his last handful of RBE battles. And instantly catches the attention of the crowd with his aggression applied. He transitions into a few dope schemes, he has a segment where he mimics Bigg K’s rap cadence, and has a few gun bars and rhyming patterns that impersonate Bigg K’s style. He brings out his signature his reverse that move. And While Ward has good material throughout the round, the peak and momentum that he present early in the round started to dwindle as the round progressed. 

Ward’s efforts in his first were ineffectual, as Bigg K starts his performance with one of the most dominant & powerful rounds we’ve heard from him in quite some time. This 1st round from Bigg K was very reminiscent of his first round vs Head Ice. Bigg K has his aggression on 10 mixed with high intervals of energy in his delivery. His method of attack was explosive as he would build up to his punchlines, with various rhyme patterns & multis, but the point of emphasis he drove home to deliver every punchline was thunderous and impactful. Bigg K’s first round deserves much praise and appreciation. It was easily the round of the night and arguably one of the best first rounds of his career. He really takes off when he jumps into a few multi-syllabic acrobats with his “Token white at the open mic local night.”  And Bigg K landed a big bomb with his “First time you shot a gun, you went out with ya big cousin/ First time I shot a gun, I closed my eyes and hit something/”  And by this point of the round, Ward was down 20 points in the first quarter of the ball game. While Ward was more tailored with his material, Bigg K had a lot more punchlines that were a bit more general that could be applicable to any opponent, but the simplicity of his punchlines rendered more effective results. It became like a crescendo of momentum that Bigg K built for himself. 

The performance was presented by the amalgamation of several intangible attributes that coincided with potent material. Bigg K’s aggression, delivery, crowd control, and presence brought full-court pressure to Ward and his first round was so well rapped, performed, and executed that it was flat-out dominant. The optics of Bigg K barking at Ward, simply was just too overpowering. Ward found himself in a deficit for the remainder of the battle. Bigg K put a mountain in front of Ward, and Ward needed to apply more strategy & have stronger rebuttals to overcome it. 

Bigg K mentioned Ward’s mother being in the comment section of battles and that Death comes in threes. And Ward instantly opens up his second round with a rebuttal in regard to this. The Rebuttal took a few seconds to really register with the room and it wasn’t necessarily the momentum-shifting rebuttal that we are used to seeing from Ward. Ward does kick up his second round with dope schemes, he has a no-limit scheme in regards to how Bigg K is strict with time limits, and he has a unique stanza of flipping Bigg K’s name (which is Ken). Ward has a bunch of wordplays that end with the sound of “Ken” which really was able to give his second round a fighting chance to compete.  “Crack Ken/Kraken  | Bro ken/Broken | Pump Ken/Pumpkin | Weak Ken/Weekend”. This was a  valiant effort by Ward, but Bigg K picks up in his second round almost exactly where he left off in his first. It almost felt like a continuation of his first round. Bigg K lands some big bombs in regards to Jesus with his “Why are you running if Jesus walks?  or his “I ain’t saying god fake, I hope he exists/ But if he made you in his image, I know he a bitch.” OUCH! my personal favorite bar was the “There is No light at the end of the tunnel but there’s a bullet in the chamber.”  A great second round from both emcees.

Objectively, the second round is competitive, but the battle still felt like Ward was down on the scoreboard. It felt much closer to a 2-0 rather than a 1-1. A big misstep by A.Ward was that he waited too long to present the angle in his third round. When Bigg K said in his first round “As dumb as a black Christian.” It would’ve been the perfect moment for Ward to call an audible and switch the placement of his second and third rounds. The Angle of Bigg K’s family owning Spooky acres was solid but the Angle of Bigg K calling a woman a MudDuck rendered some effectiveness in the room & on social media. It could’ve been a pivotal point to defuse the room or change the perception of Bigg K. But make no mistake, this doesn’t guarantee that Ward wins the round or the battle, but it gives him a better opportunity to have a competitive edge. 

Bigg K 3rd round is a solid round and can still be debated in his favor. He’s never shy of taking some shots at URL, calling them the Ultimate Rehearsal League and the room loves it. I do have ward edging the third but you can still very easily say he lost every round in this battle, as there was no stand-out or commanding round for Ward. Bigg K built up a huge lead out the gate and sustained it throughout the course of the entire battle. And Bigg K walks away being the best battler on the card that night with a vintage performance.

Hollow Da Don vs Ill Will

Recapped by Q Moody

Allow me to get on my soapbox for a second.

Ill Will is one of the best battle rappers to ever do this. He’s one of the most skilled and well-rounded battlers we’ve ever seen. From resume, Champion of the Year rankings, all-time great battles, and dominant performances, all across every major league in America. Will has seen and done it all. And despite that, sometimes it feels like Will isn’t really considered to be in that upper echelon of the all-time greats.

The mirror match of this battle really demonstrated the uniqueness of both these emcees’ skillset. Will & Hollow both checked off every attribute box in this battle. Freestyles, Humor, Punchlines, Angles/Angle based punchlines, impersonations, crowd control, unorthodox patterns, multis. Man EVERYTHING.  

This battle should change all of that. Ill Will had a legacy-defining battle vs Hollow Da Don, someone with his same vast set of skills. And not only showed up, but in my opinion, won. And Hollow for a long time was my personal GOAT and this performance vs Will is vintage Hollow. He was floating, making it seem effortless like Hollow at his best does. This is easily the best all-around Hollow performance in years and I’m not mad at anyone saying Hollow won. In my eyes though, Will saw an all-time great at his best and didn’t feel out of place at all. This battle cemented that Will really is among the legends and this was a very welcome return to form for Hollow Da Don.

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