Event Recapped by France, Q Moody & Cece On Air (The LTBR Team) Featuring Anwar (Champion)
The 5th installment of the Ultimate Madness tournament is in the books and 1st round is concluded. We have seen thrillers, upsets and all sort of unpredictable story lines manifest from these tournaments. The 5th season of this series follows a similar format of Ultimate madness 3, which included a mixed pool of competition. UM5 is filled with up and comers, women, mid tier level battlers & top tier battlers. Except this season comes with a major plot twist. The setting of these battles will not take place in the small room caffeine studios, these battles will take place on a stage in Atlanta, GA. The wrinkle of a crowd has added a whole new element to the way these battlers will compete, perform and prepare their material.
There was a valid concern if the stages would create an unfair disadvantage. The setting clearly favors the top tiers when you compare the gap in fan bases and experience. But the beauty of these tournaments is that regardless of the narratives set by predictions, the gap in status/rank and experience. Battle rap is still an any given day sport, which means you will always have an opportunity of having your material and performance resonate better with a crowd against any opponent. The circumstances may vary depending on the situation of course, but every battle rapper is a punchers chance away from a victory, literally.
The first day of this tournament was riddled by many hurdles which include a 2.5 hour delay to start the show, technical difficulties with a generator, consistent caffeine streaming issue (that has been more frequent than we would like) and subpar to poor performances.
Ultimate Madness 5 certainly had a chaotic start to the season. We didn’t get our judges announced for the tournament until the morning of the event. Our judges for the weekend would be Battle rappers, John John Da Don, Quest Mcody, Calicoe & battle rap media member, Polo from Black Compass Media. The caffeine fan vote was implemented as the 5th judge in case of the event there was a tie between the judges.
The first battle came down to a controversial decision from the judges, which caused an uproar amongst the culture. Normally fans will always rebel when the battler who wins the fan vote, doesn’t win majority votes from the judges. The backlash stemmed from many fans feeling the judges in the building didn’t provide enough of an elaboration in their decisions. So between technical issues, lackluster performances & controversial judgements, it was a really rough day for battle rap.
On day 2, everybody involved with the tournament made all the necessary adjustments. URL & Caffeine improved on the quality of the stream so we didn’t suffer any issues. The judges took heed of the criticism and decided to be more elaborate with their decision making and the quality of the performances also improved.
We wanna take the time to give all the battlers an E for effort for being able to get ready to compete for a tournament with such a small window of preparation. Keep in mind, the draft of the first round match ups didn’t take place until May 9th. The date of the first round was May 21th & May 22nd. Therefore giving battlers only 12 days to prepare for the first round, maybe even less when you factor in travel. In the previous ultimate Madness tournament’s the battlers had a minimum of 3 weeks to prepare for the first round. 12 days prep is actually less time they would even have in between rounds of advancing in the tournament which is usually 14. Due to lack of normal preparation time, we didn’t get any face offs for the first round.
3 out of the 16 Battlers had chokes in the 1st round (18%) Which is about average for the first round of Ultimate Madness, but a total of 8 of the 16 battlers stumbled in their rounds (50%). Not being clean in your performance is very costly in these tournaments, it could be the difference between you advancing or not.
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Geechi Gotti vs Tru Foe
Biggest win: Tru Foe over Geechi Gotti | Sheed Happens over Nunn Nunn |
Best Performances of the night: #1 Tru Foe | #2 JC | #3 Real Sikh | 4 Geechi Gotti | #5 Sheed Happens
NUNN NUNN VS SHEED HAPPENS (II)
Recapped by France
One of the quickest rematches in history, in just a short two months, both emcees stand in front of each other again. The interesting aspect of rematches is always seeing the adjustments both emcees make.
Out the gate, a controversial battle where the fan vote favored Nunn Nunn 84%, however 3 of the 4 judges all picked Sheed Happens to advance.
Despite the outrage and the lopsided fan vote numbers, this was a very competitive battle on first watch. Nunn sets the tone landing punches and in control of the pacing. Sheed makes major adjustments to his delivery and pacing in the second battle against Nunn Nunn as opposed to the first. Sheed’s animated style catered well to an audience because his theatrical performances helped sell his bars.
Nunn opens his second round with an explosive rebuttal and pretty much peaked for the rest of the battle after that moment. Nunn Nunn didn’t land any haymakers bigger than that reaction. He also had an overwhelming amount of She/Sheed/She’d name flips that became redundant over time and wasn’t able to establish a commanding presence or set a high bar for Sheed to exceed.
While Sheed does have a good performance, he doesn’t necessarily surpass Nunn Nunn in material by a large margin in any of the rounds, but he’s able to benefit from having the last word by going 2nd. This is a battle where the coin toss was vital to winning. The inexperience in Sheed on a stage is still glaring. His 3rd round serves as a good example of him trying to captivate the crowd and rally them behind an angle in attempts for the crowd to follow the theme and repeat the slogan of the angle, however, it was ineffective. Kudos to him for taking that risk and he will only get better in these areas over time.
After winning this rematch, he is rewarded with yet again another rematch in the 2nd round, against Tru Foe for the second time in the quarter finals.
Calicoe- Sheed Happens
JJDD- Sheed Happens
Polo (BCM)- Nunn Nunn
Quest Mcody- Sheed happens
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Nunn Nunn 1917 – Sheed 388)
PRISTAVIA VS FONZ
Recapped by Cece
We were sooo close to getting a lady in the 2nd round of Ultimate Madness 5 (UM5). It was looking promising after Pristavia delivered a heavy-hitting 1st round. From her “real estate” bar and creative name flips. Fonz even helped seal the Gun Titles battler winning the first by choking at the end. Even if he didn’t, Pristavia would have won the round and proved that she could keep up with Fonz.
However, Pristavia would choke and stumble in the second, which I think was due to feeling the pressure after Fonz delivered an amazing 2nd round. Pristavia’s third started out fire calling out Fonz resume, career views, and his recent self-proclaimed “best puncher” title. The clock wasn’t her friend in the third as Smack called time before she could finish her material.
The judges and the fans picked Fonz as the winner and rightfully so. Pristavia’s 1st round was incredible and $100k worthy material. Pristavia has been running through the competition but she finally was humbled by both Fonz and the pressure of competing in UM5. Pristavia should take this as a lesson to learn to punch through high-risk situations when her back is against the wall. I have personally seen her due it in small room settings. I know she will be able to do it on a big stage in front of thousands of people.
Polo (BCM)- Fonz
Quest Mcody- Fonz
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Fonz 2160 – Pristavia 1127)
SHOONEY DA RAPPER VS HEAD ICE
Recapped by CeCe
Well, it looks like many of you that told me Shooney Da Rapper would lose to Head Ice, were right. Maybe we can blame it on the fact she double booked herself during a tournament (she battled Kid Chaos the next day) which isn’t the best idea. Or that the almost 3-hour delay due to technical difficulties affecting the live stream and then have it happen during the battle threw her momentum off. I can give you those as valid excuses but in the end, they both jeopardized her chances of advancing to the next round in Ultimate Madness 5 (UM5).
Shooney stumbled throughout her first and ended up cutting it short. I loved how she started her second round revealing personal details of her childhood, then making the crowd laugh when she said “I turned my nigga into a house husband,” followed by “he at home with the oldest but he sent me out with da baby!” Feeding off the crowd she regains momentum in the second but loses it again in the third going back to stumbling and cutting her third short.
I would also say this, I would tell Shooney to stop choosing to go first. So far this year battlers are 0-8 after choosing to go first on URL.
There is almost no incentive to winning the coin toss and choosing to go first anymore.— BATTLE RAP’S WOJ (@LTBRpodcast) May 21, 2022
So far for the year 2022, Battlers are 0-8 choosing to go first after winning the coin toss on URL. It's basically like giving the round away.
Where does this put Shooney’s chances for WOTY? It’s still too early to call it. We still have a little more than six months left in 2022. That’s enough time for Shooney to go on an incredible run and her peers to drop the ball. Shooney should be more strategic on when and where she chooses her battles for the rest of the year. We love to see you battle. However, quality will always win over quantity.
Calicoe- Head Ice
JJDD- Head Ice
Polo (BCM)- Head Ice
Quest Mcody- Head Ice
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Head Ice 1305 – Shooney 373)
RUM NITTY VS REAL NAME BRANDON
Recapped by France
If there was ever a hired hit by the league for a battle, this would be the best example. I mean sheesh, Real Name Brandon seems to always run into these unlucky situations that are out of his control when he is in these tournaments. He was originally scheduled to battle NJ Twork as a rematch from their previous battle in the first round. An unforeseen and unfortunate precedent took place that would not allow NJ Twork to be a participant for Ultimate Madness 5 anymore. (Free Twork)
Real Name Brandon was already assigned with a difficult assignment of battling someone who is seeking redemption in Twork, but now he is presented with a replacement battle with only 5 days prep (Less than half of the time already available) against the #1 ranked battle rapper in total wins on the URL App and Ultimate Madness 3 Co- Champion in Rum Nitty. If that wasn’t strenuous enough, let’s turn up the notch a little more and add in the fact that this battle was 2 minutes and 30 seconds one rounder. Oh and did we mention Brandon lost the coin toss ? Winning the bottom of the first round in the Ultimate Madness setting is statistically the hardest round to win.
Real Name Brandon did have solid showing, he sped up the pacing and got to his punchers quicker and tried to rise to the occasion with a worthy effort. Brandon did have an interview with 15 minutes of Fame, where he reveals he had a total of 3 minutes and 30 seconds worth of material so he left a minute of bars on the table. Quite frankly, Brandon could’ve have rapped an extra 2 minutes and 30 seconds worth of material for Rum nitty and the outcome would’ve be the same.
To Brandon’s defense, this is a situation that literally everyone would struggle with. It’s bad match up scenario for anyone. It takes Nitty an average of 8-9 seconds for him set up and throw one of his heavy punchlines. With a 2 minutes and 30 seconds, he’s got at least 14-16 opportunities to throw haymakers in that time frame. Rum Nitty’s setup lines to his punch also has punches within them too. Rum Nitty’s is too efficient with his structure. quick to the punch, with valuable lines that are often effective and explosive.
A 1 round battle against Rum Nitty with short time limits is a tall errand for ANY battle rapper. Being able to land a high volume of haymakers in shorter time frame alongside strict time limits makes him dangerous.
Calicoe- Rum Nitty
JJDD- Rum Nitty
Polo (BCM)- Rum Nitty
Quest Mcody- Rum Nitty
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Rum Nitty 2759 – RNB 280)
REAL SIKH VS STUMBLES
Recapped by Q Moody
A great battle that still leaves the fans wondering “what could’ve been?”. Real Sikh was spectacular. Bringing all the cadences, rhyme pockets and flows that has made him stand out since his iBattle days.
The general thoughts surround Sikh since Civil War though has been people feeling like he’s going through growing pains facing higher levels of competition. While I feel battles like the DNA and Pat Stay ones are more debatable than most people seem to think, this effort on a big stage showed plenty of growth from Sikh. Weaving in performance based bars to his usual formula.
Despite all of that, there’s a real world where Stumbles could have won that battle. Sikh got plenty of reaction, but it came across as if Stumbles had the audience captivated. Whether it was the shock of Stumbles doing better than expected, his delivery and real talk style resonating more with the crowd, or a combination of both.
If Stumbles doesn’t live up to his name, it honestly would have came down to preference and he might have been able to take this battle and swing the gigantic upset. All in all Stumbles continues to show the potential that people aren’t wrong to see, but has yet to reach still and Sikh not only showed levels in his performance, but also growth and will be a problem for the rest of the tournament.
Calicoe- Real Sikh
JJDD- Real Sikh
Polo (BCM)- Real Sikh
Quest Mcody- Real Sikh
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Real Sikh 2781 – Stumbles 591)
JC VS O RED (The Trilogy)
Recapped by France
O red sets the tone for this battle and raps his first round on URL in over a year and a half. And let me be the first to say, WELCOME BACK RED. His first round was everything we missed from O-Red, strong delivery, dope sport bars, bar heavy set ups, vivid punchlines and aggression. He was clicking on all cylinders in the first round and was giving JC a run for his money.
While Red had a powerful start to the battle, you need to pace yourself and go the distance if you want a chance at beating someone like JC. The first round was competitive from both emcees, JC was able to match the intensity and met Red at the same level and arguably surpassed it. Red starts to slowly wind down at the rounds. He is still landing some good punches but it was evident he peaked in the first round of this battle. While JC doesn’t write up hill for his 2nd & 3rd rounds, he maintains all 3 rounds at the same level of his 1st round. Nothing higher but nothing lower. JC gets the majority decision and overwhelming percentage of the fan vote. And is already looking forward to the second round of the tournament.
The Trilogy of JC & O Red comes to an end with JC winning the last 2 of the 3 battles clearly on caffeine.
Polo (BCM)- JC
Quest Mcody- O Red
Caffeine Fan Vote- (JC 2052 – O Red 321)
Geechi Gotti vs Tru Foe
Recapped by Q Moody
Wow. Just wow. The biggest upset in Ultimate Madness history and it’s not even a conversation. This might be the battle rap equivalent of the Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors series from 2007. In my own personal predictions, I did pick Tru Foe. And a big part of that was the fact that I felt Tru was someone Geechi might have difficulty trying de-power like he has many opponents in the last few years. Tru is from Chicago so you can’t say he’s from a hood that started in LA, he has a great pen and his authenticity and believability is as high as anyone’s in battle rap. I really felt like the chance was there and he pulled it off.
This battle may be the subject of some controversy in the next few days. The first 2 rounds are extremely close and Geechi clearly took the 3rd because Tru stumbled during his round, and people may be inclined to call it a “robbery” because of that. Don’t listen to them. This is was a stellar battle and the type of upset that makes tournaments something so valuable to battle rap.
Tru Foe’s 2nd round was incredible and the best round of the battle, but it’s not like Geechi’s was far behind. We don’t have to run down Geechi’s accolades, we’re talking about someone who has a serious case as being the best battle rapper to ever live. But for Tru Foe, a guy who has grinded for years, gone through hardships that derailed his battle rap career, to get to this moment and pull off one of the biggest upsets in battle rap history, it’s one of a kind and truly special.
I do have my concerns about Tru going forward with how cleanly he’ll be able to get through material but whatever happens in the future is for then. What matters right now is that Tru Foe beat one of the best battle rappers of all time and might have completely changed his trajectory in URL going forward.
Calicoe- Tru Foe
JJDD- Geechi Gotti
Polo (BCM)- Tru Foe
Quest Mcody- Geechi Gotti
Caffeine Fan Vote- (Tru Foe 2832 – Geechi Gotti 1856)
SWAMP VS SHOTGUN SUGE
Recapped by Anwar (Champion)
UM5 round 1 weekend ended with a battle that despite an overwhelming gap in experience, was surprisingly close to fans and pundits in predictions. Shotgun Suge and Swamp took the stage with both ready to show the other that the 100K prize would be an extra level of motivation needed to propel them to victory.
Swamp won the coin toss and chose for Suge to go 1st. It was immediately clear that Suge was going to try to use his intimidating size and veteran presence to overwhelm Swamp. 2-minute rounds are where Suge specializes…unfortunately he was off to a choppy start. There were a couple of noticeable slips in Suge’s 1st which really left the door open for Swamp.
Swamp starts off with what we would later find out was a freestyle. A pocket tap and dunk with a sarcastic delivery of “let’s get all that out the way”. Unfortunately, this gamble didn’t pay off and actually cost him as he clearly lost his material and had a noticeable pause. Once he was able to recover, he got back to his written material and had a very solid round. I was curious how the judges would call it. Suge had slip ups but never stopped rapping. Swamp’s slip caused him to stop rapping and give a loud “FUCK!”
Round 2 from both was much cleaner and very even. For Suge to be the vet, the skill gap didn’t seem to be on display as much as we would have thought for a 100K prize. There were a lot of Swamp/Shaun Paige flips from Suge with a particular favorite of mine being in this round (“acting like the same person in real life that you are on the internet, will get Paige/page deleted”)!
The final round was just as close with neither MC really delivering that killer blow to salt away the win. Both MCs appeared calm and poised and determined to bring home the victory. Unfortunately for Suge, the judges decision went to Swamp in a (insert verdict) verdict.
JJDD- Shotgun Suge
Polo (BCM)- Swamp
Quest Mcody- Shotgun Suge
Caffeine Fan Vote- ( Swamp 1822 – Shotgun Suge1027)