May 8th, 2021 – UM3 Quarter Finals
After defeating Jerry Wess in the first round of Ultimate Madness 3, South Carolina’s Swamp was set to battle his former 2 on 2 partner and the person who could be argued as the best battle rapper going, Geechi Gotti. Coming in as a heavy underdog, Swamp had his back against the wall and something to prove. Despite what most people would call his best showing of 2021 being in this battle, Swamp would ultimately lose the decision to Geechi Gotti.
June 3rd, 2022 – UM5 Quarter Finals
Another Ultimate Madness, another uphill battle. With a victory over Shotgun Suge in the first round of UM5, Swamp is matched up with yet again, a crowd favorite that he’s a HEAVY underdog against. The alien, the co-winner of UM3, Rum Nitty. This makes the second time Swamp runs into a EFB member in the quarter finals. This time though, Swamp puts on the best performance of his career and is able to get a unanimous decision victory one of the greats in battle rap and move on to the next round.
What a difference a year makes, but how did we get here?
Swamp was the crown jewel by the end of the 2019 PG class’ race for supremacy. In the 2nd half of 2020 however, it felt like Swamp’s momentum completely died. His infamous loss to Casey Jay at the inaugural Kings vs Queens event was a momentum halter the likes of which we rarely see. Swamp was still the guy that just beat Nu Jerzey Twork, asterisks you could attach to that battle aside.
Someone who had battles with T-Top and Tay Roc as marquee matchups that the fans wanted to see on the biggest stages possible. And almost overnight it felt like URL lost faith in him. That’s a little strange given the leash certain battlers are given. Some can get 30d on Caffeine and their next battle is on a big stage. Swamp wasn’t given that luxury. Swamp lost to Casey and battled Swave Sevah after on the app-only event Born Legacy 11. It’s not as if Swave is a name to gloss over or not a good look for an up and coming battler’s resume. But for Swamp’s trajectory and the possibilities that were once in front of him, it felt like a “punishment” battle for fumbling vs Casey.
The Journey & Bumps In The Road.
As a viewer, my issue with Swamp even dating back to 2019 was his inconsistency. For as electric and captivating as he was vs Your Honor, the follow up performance vs Bad Newz wasn’t anywhere close to that and felt like a step down. He rebounded with an incredible performance vs Don Marino at Survivor Series as one of the headlining battles. But at Volume 5 with Ace Amin in a history-making battle and all eyes on them, despite having flashes of greatness, I felt Swamp failed to truly capitalize against what is easily the worst Ace performance ever. He gets another layup vs a choking Twork and once again, it still felt like Swamp wasn’t living up to the Your Honor performance.
Two battles in a row where his opponents’ slip ups were more highlighted than his winning. And maybe that wasn’t fair, but Swamp on his side didn’t leave a lasting impression in those battles either. Was this a case of holding Illmatic against Nas or Acid Rap against Chance the Rapper? Meaning that as fans were we so wrapped up in that initial classic Swamp gave us, that he wasn’t allowed to just be good to very good, without the extra scrutiny? Part of me says yes, that in searching for a successor to the Your Honor performance, we glossed over and didn’t appreciate what we did get. But those expectations came from believing Swamp could be a special guy and a high level talent, and if we view him of that caliber because we’ve seen what could be, it’s more than fair to hold him to that and is actually really a compliment.
Swamp at his best is a breath of fresh air in battle rap. A one man army who carries South Carolina on his back with no battle rap group backing him. A unique drawl and accent that is enough to capture attention, but you stay for his unintentional humor, strong delivery, rawness and his room shaking haymakers that can land out of nowhere. Add in a fantastic promo game and being able to stand on his own trash talking with the best of them, it was easy to see why Swamp had (and still has) top tier battlers lining up around the block to battle him.
Swamp’s Statistical Dominance
Maybe surprisingly, Swamp has a top 10 record (and is 19th in reactions) on the URLTV app, standing at 9-3. Trailing names like Ave and Tay Roc. Pending on when the Dot battle from Civil War 2 releases, it’s really 10-3. And even the long awaited T-Top battle that had to settle for a Super Fight resolution and Swamp stumbling throughout, yes T-Top won on the app but the reactions on that battle are almost even and Swamp won the Caffeine vote! That’s indicative of how strong the support base is for Swamp, even with the ebbs and flows of his run so far and the fans’ desire to see him succeed. He gets star levels of love and the numbers are indicative of this.
Of the 260+ battlers on the URLTV app, Less than 25 battlers have an individual performance with over 200,000K reactions and Swamp is within that 10% percentile.
He’s the only person to beat both Twork and Rum Nitty on the app, the only thing missing is keeping this current level of performance up and not giving URL anymore excuses to not give him certain plates. His work vs Dot was the kind of Swamp people have been clamoring to see for awhile, and while I did find it super impressive, I found it worth noting that it was in North Carolina and against someone Swamp should be beating. Regardless, it felt like the new standard to hold Swamp to. Then, standing across from the king of the URL app in Rum Nitty, Swamp leveled up again in a short span of time in his toughest battle to date. Setting the tone in the first round and not looking back, it never felt like Swamp was in danger vs Nitty and that is the mark of someone to be reckoned with.
UM5 Semi Finals
This Saturday, Swamp faces a fellow 2019 class member when he goes up against Fonz. At this stage in a tournament, it’s a war of attrition. The finish line is in sight, but there’s still a long way to go. They’re both coming off of insanely competitive battles in the quarterfinals that I have to imagine the preparation was stressful for, but with 100k within grasp, there’s no time to let up. For Swamp, the keys going in will be writing uphill and surviving the early onslaught from Fonz.
If Swamp can elevate every round like he has in the battles with Dot and Rum Nitty, he has more than a chance to beat Fonz. This deep into the tournament too, fatigue becomes more and more of a factor and while Swamp has won both of his battles, he did stumble vs Shotgun Suge and Nitty. And if I had to choose who I trusted more at this stage of the tournament, it’d be silly to not pick Fonz, seeing as he’s ran this gauntlet already on the way to 25k in UM1.
No one wants to lose this close to 100k, but win or lose this Saturday (barring complete catastrophe), Swamp has done a lot in the way of rehabbing his stock and proving that he is worthy of those NOME and Summer Madness opportunities. If he can seal the deal though and win that money, he becomes undeniable. This last month has shown the star we all saw back in 2019, the only thing in his way is himself.