New Beginnings: Ryda’s Departure From URL

On November 28, 2023, battle rapper Ryda took to Twitter to announce a significant decision regarding his career. In a succinct tweet, he expressed gratitude to Smack and Beasley for the opportunities they provided throughout his journey but declared that he is no longer affiliated with the URL brand.

In a recent interview, Ryda provided assurance that the decision was not influenced by issues related to battles or financial matters. Instead, he emphasized that it was a matter of principle as reported in an interview with 3lettaman on PSA Reloaded. 

Following his tweet announcing his departure from URL, Ryda revealed that he had a subsequent conversation with Beasley, asserting that there is no bad blood between them. This clarification sheds light on the amicable nature of their relationship despite the unexpected decision. Moreover, Ryda took the opportunity to dispel any speculation about contractual obligations, affirming that he is not currently under contract with the league. When asked about his choice not to explore opportunities with other battle rap leagues during his time with URL, Ryda explained that his primary focus was on music in the last few years. The rapper expressed that he was fully committed to honing his musical craft, which limited the time available for venturing into other battle rap platforms. Now, with a renewed focus and more time on his hands, Ryda enthusiastically stated that he is actively seeking opponents, signaling a new chapter in his career where he aims to showcase his skills beyond the confines of a single league.

URL Career Accomplishments

Ryda came into the league in 2016 with much promise and one could argue he may have peaked in his Proving Ground Days as he chased the ghost of His outstanding Chef Trez performance for years. Whether you feel like Ryda reached his potential or not that is all on the beholder. While there was certainly a higher level for Ryda to have reached, sometimes what we define as success can be a mere construct of our expectations or the juxtaposition of his peers that he came into the league with. In 2016, 96 emcees tried out in the Proving grounds and only 7 emcees made it to the main stage. This class featured Nu Jerzey Twork, Geechi Gotti, Chef Trez, Jakkboy Maine, Snake Eyez, Glu Eazy, and Ryda himself. 

Worth noting, Ryda is ranked #48 on The URLTV App in wins, and out of the 126 emcees to ever appear on a caffeine card, he ranked #57 with 4 total appearances, there is no denying he has hit a handful of milestones along the way and has had some moderate success. Although he may have been featured on some prominent cards within his 7 years in the league, there was still much for him to be desired. The announcement came as a surprise for a few, but there is certainly an audience of people that foreshadowed this outcome considering Ryda’s history with the Ultimate Rap League. There is no doubt his tenure in the league was and still is pivotal in shaping his career. 

In an era where partnerships in the battle rap industry are often defined by contractual agreements and negotiations, Ryda’s departure from URL took a different route. According to his statement, he did not consult with URL before making the public announcement. This independent and principled move suggests a desire for autonomy and control over his career trajectory.

Ryda's 3rd Round Against Bandit Montana

Ryda recently opened up about the inspiration behind his impactful third round during the Bandit Montana battle at URL Final Exams 2. Ryda reveals that he heard behind the scenes that P, one of the executives from URL was using his name in a certain light that he didn’t like. Ryda does let it be known that he and P had a conversation prior to getting on the stage before the Bandit Montana battle, however, Ryda still felt compelled to address the issue and express his feelings through his performance & his art nonetheless. The rapper acknowledged that these behind-the-scenes discussions influenced the content of his third round, adding a layer of authenticity to his words, and dedicated a large portion of this round to P and the way P had been managing his career. Post-battle, Ryda engaged in further conversations with P on camera via 15 Minutes of Fame, demonstrating a willingness to navigate through any potential misunderstandings and seeking clarity on the matter. This reveals Ryda’s commitment to addressing issues directly and his desire to foster open communication, allowing for a more transparent and constructive relationship with the League, specifically with P.

However, the tipping point came when Rosenberg Raw revealed a conversation he had with P on his podcast. Rosenberg says he spoke to P, and Rosenberg reveals some of P’s comments about Ryda which have now surfaced. “Ryda wants to be a superstar but he’s Brian Scalabrine. Some people need to just be happy to be in the league, everyone can’t be a star.” These were the words P told Rosenberg. This revelation became the catalyst for Ryda’s decision to part ways with URL. Realizing that his perceived value within the organization was not aligned with his aspirations, Ryda recognized the necessity of departing from the league to pursue opportunities that truly valued his contributions and growth potential.

Ryda elaborated on his decision, stating, “If this is how you feel about me, I don’t think you will help me in a situation to grow, so I’d rather leave that situation and see what’s out there for me.”  This suggests a fundamental misalignment between Ryda’s expectations and the perceived opportunities he was receiving from the URL.

"No Reward"

Ryda, known for his candid perspective, recently voiced his frustration about the lack of recognition and opportunities in the League. While you can certainly point to there being a lack of opportunity, there is some onus on him not giving his maximum effort to market his brand. You can also point to previous opportunities he didn’t take the most advantage of or had a strong enough performance to fuel his demand. 

However, there are certain moments in his career where he stood out, from a controversial round against Mike P which shook the culture, to a stellar back and forth with JC or a win against Shotgun Suge. He feels those showings where he brought optimal effort and talent to the forefront, and he expresses on PSA Reloaded, that some of those performances did not deliver him to newer heights nor did they open the door to future opportunities to his liking.

Ryda feels that “There is no reward for doing good.”  as he points to his battle against Tay Roc as a prime example. Despite delivering a compelling performance, the battle remained unreleased for six months, denying Ryda the immediate acknowledgment and momentum he sought. Before he clashed with Tay Roc which was in November of 2022, Ryda faced Kyd Slade on an Ultimate Madness showcase card in May, and before that, Shotgun Suge in a one-round battle on Banned in February of 2022. Ryda found the lengthy gap between battles detrimental to his career. Despite his efforts to maintain a buzz and ascend to the next level, in his eyes, the lack of consistent bookings hindered his progression. It seems as if the idol time has been an ongoing issue since he entered the league. 

When Ryda finished his PG battle against Chef Trez battle in 2016, Ryda found himself in a period of reduced bookings, eventually returning to the scene through 2-on-2 battles. Reflecting on the entirety of 2017, which would’ve been his rookie year in the league, he was in complete absence of having any 1v1 battles, illustrating the challenges faced by maintaining relevancy. One can make the case that missing an entire year with no 1v1 battles could be a contributing factor to what stunted his development.

Reflecting On The Past

It’s not just about facing Top-Tier opponents; Ryda values being placed on cards that carry significance and performing on stages where audiences are genuinely engaged. In his time spent in the league, he faced a total of 4 Top-Tier opponents. Cortez in 2017, JC in 2020, & a 1 round Banned battle against Shotgun Suge & Tay Roc, in 2022. The marquee opportunities were years apart. And one of the biggest grudge matches against a Top-Tier that never happened is the one that possibly could’ve changed things.

Reflecting on missed opportunities, Ryda expressed how a battle against Ave could have been a pivotal moment in his career. Timing, he emphasized, is crucial in battle rap, and had the battle occurred when it was initially intended with the maximum momentum, it could have significantly impacted his trajectory. With the obvious consideration that he would’ve hypothetically given a net positive and competitive performance against Ave, it could’ve taken him to new heights. 

If I am going to be transparent, I personally have not seen enough of a ceiling from Ryda to make me believe he is a battler who can reach the level of a NOME or Summer Madness stage, nor do I believe he can compete at a Top-Tier level, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t and can’t be utilized as an asset. I think about some of the highlights he had in 2020, one of the most impactful rounds of the year against Mike P or a good competitive battle with JC, App wins over names like Nunn Nunn or Mack Myron. It shows me that he does have enough talent to be a solid rotational piece within the league and be featured in a variety of opportunities against a range of different talent levels within the league. 

It’s always hard to use the ideology of who deserves what in battle rap because everything is based on time and circumstances, and everyone’s career trajectory is different, but one of the biggest sliding door moments of his career took place in 2018. When you look back at Ryda’s battle against Glu Eazy, Ryda secured a clear win against him, as Glu Eazy choked in the battle. It was not the most dynamic performance or the flashiest win, but it holds merit to his perspective of not being rewarded. Not only did Glu Eazy fall short of a victory, he failed to deliver a clean performance, and yet, Glu Eazy’s following opponent was Ave, while Ryda’s next opponent was Th3 Saga. Ryda was building up a storyline and a grudge with Ave and the battle was never booked on URL. Yet, the person you defeat clearly, who doesn’t have a storyline with this Ave, gets the battle. It’s a few moments like that where you sit back and wonder what could’ve been different. But who’s to say Ryda doesn’t just lose clearly to Ave in a battle where he could be completely outmatched and outclassed, which ultimately could lead to Ryda having the same career results he has now? But the point is, to give him the chance, especially when he puts himself in a prime position to deserve these looks. 

Despite the past setbacks, Ryda now finds himself in a better place in life, and he is keen on capitalizing on the current momentum. Doors are opening, and Ryda is determined to take on battles that truly matter, on stages that carry significant weight. Expressing his ambition, he says that he would like to take his talents to the U.K., showcasing a global perspective and an eagerness to broaden his reach within the international battle rap community. As he navigates the next phase of his career, Ryda remains focused on making strategic choices that align with his growth and aspirations within the evolving landscape of battle rap. If 2023 has shown anything, is that parity is well and alive in battle rap, and if you are willing to do the leg work of marketing and networking with multiple leagues, you can be featured in a variety of opportunities and it will be up to him to make the most of it. 

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