The Trenches & Bullpen: Drop Your Location Recap

Drop Your Location

PPV Rating

Staff Writers: France, Q Moody & Justin Smolenski

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night:  Eazy The Block Captain vs John John Da Don | JMorr vs Bonus 

Best Individual Performances of the night:
 #1 Bill Collector | #2a John John Da Don| #2b Eazy The Block Captain | #4 JMorr 

Biggest win Of The Night:
  Riggz over Kaboom

Eazy’s league, The Trenches, continues to make waves in the culture & Bullpen Battle League puts a ribbon on a very active calendar year of events. This being the debut year of The Trenches as a league, Eazy has carved out a niche for The Trenches by consistently organizing theme-based cards, contributing to the league’s unique identity, and providing ample marketing opportunities for Philly emcees. The event’s PPV ran seamlessly, showcasing the league’s commitment to professionalism and delivering quality content to its audience.

Despite the stream’s success, there were some challenges with the venue’s sound settings that some fans in the building have expressed, impacting fans’ ability to fully listen to the battles. However, Eazy deserves commendation for his dedication and ability to manage eight battles while also delivering a noteworthy performance as the main event. Eazy and John John’s front-row presence throughout the event’s undercard truly shows their professionalism and commitment to their leagues and their emcees.

The collaborative event, while overall a success, faced some setbacks and note worthy critiques. 

Notable Feedback & Accountability

Notably, we had a few lackluster performances from emcees which is always possible on any card, but the unfortunate loss of the anticipated Co-Main Event Mike P vs. Loso battle. This match was considered a significant blow to the card’s potential, as the battle’s absence likely impacted the overall quality and excitement of the event. I do have to give some feedback on the way the Main Event was advertised and some feedback to the host. 

Vada Fly and Sho Time SP have tapped into the commentator market and this is their 4th trip in those seats. And I have to say as a consumer, despite their track record of setting a high standard in previous commentary gigs like Maxout or Chrome23, using things like their Key of Victory graphics and breakdowns, this particular event seemed to be a departure from their usual standard. The expectation for them to provide thorough insights into the battle & offer valuable pre and post-match analysis was lacking this time around. There wasn’t much dialogue in the breakdowns leaving much to be desired as a watcher. 

In fairness to Vada Fly and Sho Time, they did encounter some unexpected challenges, including venue-related issues that affected their ability to fully listen to the battles. Vada acknowledged the difficulties with the venue’s sound, and they did step in last minute to provide commentary. However, once you say yes to the job, the onus is on them to adapt to the circumstances, listen to the battles, and prioritize discussing the battles on the card. I don’t mind a hot take here or there but overall I was a bit more disappointed over missed opportunities to analyze key moments, they missed some early battles featuring standout performers and even the battles they were present for, they missed some of the rounds and didn’t see the battles in full. Can’t commentate on what you didn’t see/hear. This critique is a testament to the high standards Vada Fly and Sho Time SP have set for their commentary because they have been better and can do so. Lastly, we need more analysis and fewer shoutouts. We played a drinking game at home every time Fox 5 was said and I was 8 shots into the evening (Kidding). But this is coming from a place of support and truth-telling.

Last notable point of contention centered around the main event’s advertising. The promise of a judged battle with a $25,000 prize on the line created high expectations for fans. The battle between Eazy and John John did deliver in terms of content and performance, but the advertised high-stakes judging with a cash prize was conspicuously absent. This lack of transparency and divergence from the advertised format raised concerns among fans, diminishing our overall satisfaction with the event. Honest and transparent communication from leagues is crucial, and when expectations are set, they should be met to maintain trust and credibility with your consumers

The misstep in handling the main event’s high-stakes promise, contributed to a lower score for the event as we want to emphasize the importance of accountability and truth in promotional efforts.

We will be introducing our new rating system for individual battles. Similar to the 5 Mics concept, We will give a 5-star rating per battle on the card.   ☆☆☆☆☆

JMorr vs Bonus

Recapped by France

3.50☆ Rating


The opening battle of the night between J Morr and Bonus proved to be a hidden gem, setting the standard for the entire event. J Morr ignited the venue with a dynamic first round, delivering bars with pinpoint accuracy. If this was 2K, he was hitting all green! The atmosphere was electric as he seamlessly executed almost every significant punchline, establishing a high bar for Bonus to match in the first, but I will say Bonus certainly was clipped up with that same level of firepower but in later rounds. In the second round, Bonus rose to the challenge, reciprocating the energy and intensity, creating a back-and-forth dynamic that had the audience thoroughly engaged and had all of our attention from home. We are waving both fingers in the air screaming out 1-1 after two hyper-explosive rounds from both emcees. If you are familiar with both names, it doesn’t come as a surprise they both were able to rap at this level. 

While both battlers experienced a slight dip in momentum during their third rounds, they managed to maintain a commendable level of performance. I personally edged Jmorr the 3rd but its completely up for debate and I have no problem with anyone having Bonus winning this battler either. The battle of two talented individuals who may have been flying under the radar left the crowd impressed and anticipating more. The exceptional display by JMorr and Bonus established an early benchmark for the evening, that wasn’t surpassed until the main event. Great display of hunger & skill meeting opportunity to showcase these two hidden talents. Hopefully, both names can find themselves being more active after this. 

Zan vs Cashflo Rizzy

Recapped by France

2.75☆ Rating


A rematch between Zan and Cashflo at The Trenches has marked the only female battle on the card, reigniting a rivalry that originated over a decade ago in a 1-round showdown. Cashflo, known for her solid lyricism & solid punchlines, delivered a performance that showcased her growth as a battle rapper and how consistent she has been this whole year. Ranging from battling two top tiers in Shooney & E Hart. This may be her best showing of the three  Despite her more monotone flow at times, Cashflo held her ground against Zan, demonstrating consistency and quality across all three rounds. Each round was very good and was going to be tough to beat, not impossible but she set a solid bar that Zan would have to overcome.

Zan, on the other hand, brought an electrifying energy, dynamic performance, and a diverse range of flows that captivated the audience. Her entertaining style resonated a little more with me at times, especially in the 2nd round, but she faced challenges in maintaining a clean delivery throughout the battle in her 1st & 3rd rounds specifically. Despite her stumble-ups, Zan’s performance was undeniably room-rocking, reminding fans why she is the 7th highest-viewed female battler of all time. The match signaled her return to the battle rap and her acclimatization was met with enthusiasm from her fanbase, or as some may call the Zanbase.  

In the end, the verdict on the winner seemed fundamentally sounded as Rizzy was able to outbattled her despite if you valued Zan’s entertainment against Cashflo’s consistent and well-crafted rounds. And I wanna make it clear, I don’t feel Cashflo only won because she was cleaner. She crafted well enough rounds that would have her in position to win the battle even if Zan was clean. But Zan’s lack of fluidity only opens the door for RIzzy more. For those willing to overlook stumbles and prioritize material or entertainment, Zan might be the preferred choice. However, the consensus for me was that Cashflo stood the distance with her opponent, displaying a level of skill and performance that earned her the victory in this rematch.

Very good show from both ladies and both stood out on this card. It’s great to see the 2023 Cashflo Rizzy had and Zan getting back active in battle rap and finding a home at The Trenches is doing her much justice. 

Riggz vs Kaboom

Recapped by J Smo

2.00☆ Rating


In a recent clash between Riggz and Kaboom in the trenches, Riggz showcased a dominating performance that underscored his skillset in The Trenches. Known for his consistent activity throughout the year, Riggz has been making waves with notable appearances in both the Trenches and his RBE debut facing solid opponents like K Walker and J Slash in his previous battles. Despite Riggz having the largest margin of victory against Kaboom, this performance would rank third among his last three battles, Riggz demonstrated a level of control and skill that solidified his standing in the competitive landscape and he continues to thrive in this independent market he is in. Much Kudos to his manager Tony Bro for helping Riggz to be placed in these positions to succeed & for Riggz executing the task at hand.

While Riggz shined brightly in the confrontation, Kaboom faced a regression in his performance, struggling to connect with the audience and failing to deliver punchlines that resonated. This bout marked one of Kaboom’s weakest showings to date, as none of his lines were potent enough to create memorable highlights. In contrast, Riggz’s clear victory showcased his ability to outshine opponents and leaves anticipation for his future battles, as he continues to build on this impressive display of skill and dominance in the Trenches.

Clone vs E Ness

Recapped by J Smo

2.50☆ Rating


As Clone continues his solid 2023 with a list of recognizable opponents, battling E Ness in Philly makes this matchup for him as difficult as it could be. Starting off on Clone 1st, his opening round would go on to easily be his lightest and caused worry at 1st for those who had predicted him to win going in. Being a back-to-back puncher puts stress on your content to always be top-notch since you’re almost fully relying on it to win, and Clones 1st lacks peak haymakers and resulted in what was a round of some cool lines but nothing impactful and with no detailed plan of attack. As Ness went bottom of the 1st, he showed you what his style produces in modern Battle Rap. Ness’s style is all about pure rapping ability. The content won’t always stand, but if his opponent’s round is light enough, he can win of just how good he is rapping regardless of the bars at times, and this 1st is a textbook example of that with Ness going up a clear 1-0, being backed heavily by the home crowd. 

The story of the 2nd and 3rd are very different though and show the flip side of how Ness style meshes in modern Battle Rap. As Clone went, there was a huge step up in content and energy in his final 2 rounds. Particularly in the 2nd, Clone starts to land with a lot more power, his “went and got my own ENess bar” being the peak of the round that stuck with me. Although Clone’s flow can get a bit monotonous at times, he started to catch fire and set the bar high enough content-wise in the 2nd to put pressure on Ness to raise his level as well. Ness’s 2nd in response isn’t much different than his 1st, but it’s simply standing in front of a much better round from Clone. While still delivered as charismatic as Ness can, this time the difference in content was far too steep and led to a clear 1-1 going into the 3rd.

As for the 3rd, Clone takes a step down from his 2nd but still shows a competitive effort. “Police search me, go research me, then come back and research me” is an example of some more of the elevated content Clone got into, showing his underrated real talk ability he’s had the last couple of years. This round becomes easier to judge as Ness raps, stumbling through his 3rd and giving the battle to Clone clear 2-1 in the final 2 rounds. Not the craziest battle and should be noted this crowd was extremely pro-Ness (shocker) and gave Clone a bit of a hard time, but even with that Clone punched his way to a win over a Philly legend on the road, in what may be his most clear win of 2023. 

Bill Collector vs Bad Newz

Recapped by J Smo

3.50☆ Rating


In what ended up acting as the co-main event with a late Mike P vs Loso cancellation, Bill vs Bad Newz showed the potential to be a high-energy battle between 2 of the more animated battlers in the game. The battle started on Bill, and with a bit of a walk-down start, this slowly showed signs early of being a special Bill performance. The full skillset was on display, comedy, performance, rapping ability, and most importantly the bars. Devil Bar Bill was in full effect landing more back-to-back as the round went on and leading off the battle with an elite 1st round. A highlight section of the round is Bill going through his accomplishments in BR, and the hardships he’s going through in and out of the ring which ended in a punch of “dealing with Bad Newz his whole career”, a meaningful and perfect haymaker to attack the opponent while highlighting his greatness. Bad Newz 1st in response was his weakest round of the battle, opening with a segment acting out a call with a bill collector that fell EXTREMELY flat. From there, Newz performed with his usual energy but just didn’t match anymore close content-wise, giving Bill a dominant 1-0 lead to start. 

Onto the 2nd, the Bill masterclass continued. This time goes heavy in the Newz flips, Bill simply barred out the entire 2nd. Whether it was his “back and forth with Newz on the web like Peter Parker” or his Michael Orr/Blindside haymaker, Bill flipped Newz’s name into oblivion this round showing off the pure creativity with the wordplay and nameflips. Bad Newz’s 2nd round was good in response and was his best round of the battle, also being nameflip heavy with a lot of “Bill” bars. This 2nd is an example of when the content matches up to Newz high power delivery. His Doctor Bill and Bill Pass/Politician bars make up some of his peaks in the most competitive round of the battle. Some may have it 1-1, but I personally still edged Bill the 2nd and had him up 2-0 through 2.

As for the last round, this is just Bill putting the finishing touches on his W. Maybe his lightest round in comparison, but still a good round from Bill showing his ability to stretch elite content across all 3 rounds where Newz kind of ran out of steam towards the end of the battle. Not as quotable or explosive as the first 2 but simple enough to win the final round as Newz dipped more to his round 1 form and then continued the highs of his 2nd. In what’s been a quieter year for Bill than his last couple, he put on a 3 round clinic and gave the POTN in a clear victory over a decent version of Bad Newz. 30 or 2-1, either way, you call it Bill takes a W with the best performance of the night and Bill’s best showing of 2023. 

Eazy The Block Captain vs John John Da Don

Recapped by Q Moody

4.00☆ Rating


Battles that are years in the making don’t always live up to the lofty expectations set. It’s not uncommon to see them fall short of that. This battle is not one of those occasions. Eazy Da Block Captain vs John John Da Don is a great battle and way better than I admittedly thought it would be going into it.

Eazy’s first round is an onslaught. He quadrupled down on all the things that make him great and showed off some of the new things he’s picked up along the way. While there are some areas I think Eazy is falling back from like angling and counterwriting, he implements new flows and pockets to his rhymes and can get to the punch a lot faster. Eazy doesn’t have to rely on build-up to land a bomb and that is an area of growth for him.

JJDD’s first round might not have quite been able to match Eazy’s, but god damn if he doesn’t at least make it a discussion. Immediately it was clear this was the best JJDD since at least the Ace Amin battle and probably even before it. The more I think about this is probably the best JJDD since Chess. That’s almost 4 years ago and it was nice to see him tap into that level of motivation again. While John’s round is great, I do think the first goes to Eazy still.

The next two rounds though I feel like left plenty of room for a conversation. Eazy’s 2nd round in my opinion is the best round of the battle. It blends all the things I enjoy about Eazy perfectly, in a way I haven’t felt about him in a battle since Hitman Holla. The angling about John’s career hit for me and the drug talk was extremely potent. This is the round that for me encapsulates that when firing on all cylinders, makes Eazy the best battle rapper in the world. JJDD’s 2nd round is once again really good. Stuff like the rim protector/Rem protector bar and the Bel-Air/Will Smith correlation were highlights. I think the Reed homage in his round takes away from his momentum and leaves the rest of his round feeling flatter than I would have liked. A great round but compared to a near-flawless round from Eazy, it leaves the argument for me to have Eazy 2-0 in the first two rounds.

The third round I do believe goes to John John, even with the massive “pause” moment. If anything John’s handling of that completely negates any potential negative effect it could have had. John has another really strong round and when you couple that with Eazy’s 3rd being good but his weakest of the battle, John John takes the 3rd to me. Leaving the battle 2-1 Eazy in my eyes in a super competitive debatable battle.

It’s worth noting however that on polls like we ran on the LTBR Twitter page and that HHIR did on their YouTube community, JJDD won both of those. People can try to say the pre-battle tactics of dropping the audio made people want to sway towards JJDD, but that’s bullshit. Eazy was winning on every poll before the battle took place, any bias would have shown up in those polls as well. JJDD just had a great performance and in a lot of eyes exceeded expectations. It says a lot about his performance that in Philly, in Eazy’s league, he is winning the votes of two prominent media outlets.

All in all, Eazy vs JJDD turned out to be a top-tier clash that lived up to the hype. For Eazy, his performance was more in line with what his fans want from him and was a great reminder that just won L doesn’t have to change the narrative on someone if they bounce back strong. For JJDD, he proved a lot of people including myself wrong. I believe that in 2023 Eazy should be clearing him based on recent transactions and JJDD showed up motivated in a hostile environment and put on full display why he is who he is.

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