The Trenches: New York vs Philly Recap

The Trenches


Event Recapped by staff Writers France & J Smo

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night: Mike P vs. Rosenberg Raw | Showoff vs. K Walker 

Best Individual Performances of the night:
 #1 Mike P | #2 Rosenberg Raw | #3 K Walker | #4 Hollowman | #5 Kaboom | 

The Biggest Win of the Night: Oun P over Reed Dollaz | Hollowman over Head Ice

Highlight Rounds of the Night:  K Walker 2nd | Reed Dollaz 1st | Hollowman | Mike P 1st | Rosenberg 2nd | Kaboom 1st | 

Lee L.N.D vs MuuWop

Recapped by France

The battle between Lee L.N.D and Muuwup was a showcase of two emcees who had previously impressed on the Trenches Try Out card. Despite the luxury of an opportunity to open a card with only two weeks of preparation, it became evident that these emcees were still in the process of developing from amateurs into professionals, and this is a natural part of their journey. Lee L.N.D had only three battles in his entire catalog, while Muuwup had ten, indicating their relatively early stages in their battle rap careers. However, their potential was clear and hinted at brighter futures.

Lee L.N.D brought an aggressive and relentless energy to the battle, regardless of the audience’s reactions. He committed fully to his delivery and performance, demonstrating a commendable dedication with his intangibles, but his bars could’ve been a bit more potent and they lacked some depth and power. Muuwup, on the other hand, showcased a wide range of skills, from writing witty lines to delivering punchlines and even rebuttals. However, he faced challenges in this battle, struggling to maintain his composure in the face of distractions in the room. While interruptions from the host in the middle of an emcee’s round are completely unacceptable and disruptive, maintaining focus and composure is crucial, and Muuwup encountered difficulties in doing so. While Muuwup may have had superior content, his delivery suffered in the second and third rounds.

It’s important to note that their tryout battle took place in an empty room environment, which is quite different from controlling a live crowd. These nuances and tricks of the trade will come with time and experience, and both emcees have the potential for growth and improvement. As they continue to hone their skills and gain more battle experience, it’s expected that both Lee L.N.D and Muuwup will deliver better showings and show progression in the near future, solidifying their positions in the battle rap scene.

Gwitty vs Kaboom

Recapped By J Smo

The battle between Gwitty and Kaboom was a fitting opener for the New York versus Philadelphia-themed card, setting the stage for a night of intense competition. While fans expected a fan vote or a poll on Rap Grid to determine the winners, Twitter polls were used instead to gauge the audience’s opinions.

Gwitty, known for his self-sufficient energy and ability to invigorate himself through his material, brought his A-game to the battle. His presence was infectious, and he had a unique way of captivating the room. On the other hand, Kaboom was determined to showcase his prowess as a puncher. In his first round, he unleashed a barrage of punches that just flat-out knocked Gwitty’s lights out. Kaboom’s memorization skills were on full display as he delivered rounds that consistently lasted at least eight minutes. His 1st round was 10 minutes, his 2nd round was 10 minutes and his 3rd round was 12 minutes. 

Throughout the battle, they both remained fiercely competitive, and it was challenging to definitively declare a winner for the last two rounds. The back-and-forth nature of the battle was reflected in the Twitter polls, with fans evenly split on their opinions. Despite the close contest, I personally leaned towards Kaboom, giving him the win in each round. 

Showoff vs K Walker

Recapped By J Smo

K-Walker vs. Showoff is a standard but good matchup, with a respected RBE regular in Showoff matching up against one of the biggest benefits of the Trenches, KWalker. Pretty dope battle overall, Both battlers showed peaks that you’d want to see from both, Showoff in the 1st and KWalker in the 2nd. A close 1st, a couple of higher peaks by Showoff gave him a narrow edge while K-Walker 2nd is round of the battle and in the conversation for round of the night. K-Walker showings in the Trenches so far have both been big stockraisers for him and really go to show the level of seriousness and creativity he’s putting into his pen on these cards.

The 3rd is very contested, with Walker having a more efficient round and landing consistently while Showoff’s round has more high peaks but dry spots, like his 1st. Had Showoff on 1st watch but on the replay, Walker’s delivery, consistent landing, and overall, the more complete performance had me giving him the 3rd, resulting in KWalker 2-1 2nd, and 3rd.

Oun P vs Reed Dollaz

Recapped by France

The Oun P vs. Reed Dollaz battle was a nostalgic clash that brought back memories of the golden era of battle rap. Oun P’s return to acapella battles after over a decade was met with anticipation and curiosity, his last 3 round battle in this format was in 2010, against DNA on URL. Oun Facing off against Philadelphia’s own legend, Reed Dollaz, rendered a difficult assignment for Oun P. There is a rumor that these two actually have a vaulted battle between them, at Fight Klub. 

Reed Dollaz came out swinging in the first round, applying immense pressure on Oun P and even introducing a new move called “Rambo Mode.” While Oun P held his ground with a solid round, Reed’s first round was overpowering, setting the tone for this battle.

Oun P, is known for his sharp delivery and conviction, but most notably in this battle, his strategic approach. Against Reed Dollaz, Oun showed a bit of his deep understanding of today’s battle rap game. His decision to save his stronger round for later in the battle, coupled with the careful analysis of game tapes, was a testament to his dedication to the craft. Prior to this battle you can hear him on outlets like HiphopisReal or 15 Minutes Fame giving breakdowns of all types of events and battles from superstars to rookies. So it’s evident he’s been in the lab. In the second round, Oun P unleashed a relentless barrage of slick one-two punchlines, heavy drug bars, and clever wordplay, effectively leveling the playing field and evened up the score. This calculated move demonstrated his adaptability and his ability to capitalize on momentum swings within the battle, ultimately proving his mettle in the ring.

Reed Dollaz, however, faced a challenging third round where he struggled to deliver a clean performance. Rushing through his material and attempting to compensate with increased aggression, Reed found himself stumbling and losing control of his energy. This unfortunate stumble cost him the opportunity to regain momentum, allowing Oun P to seize the victory in what was a pivotal moment in the battle. Oun P’s triumph marked an impressive comeback to battle rap after a decade-plus absence and solidified his place as a formidable force in the ever-evolving world of battle rap, while Reed Dollaz had to regroup and refine his approach for future battles.

Head Ice vs Hollowman (1 Round)

Recapped by France

The battle between Head Ice and Hollowman was a remarkable clash between two influential figures who had played the role of the OG & older voices in the careers of many talented emcees during the DVD eras. Names like Murda Mook, Head Ice, Reed Dollaz, Cyssero, Joey Jihad, T-Rex, Jae Millz, Kaboom, E Ness, Iron Solomon and any more. Head Ice had been an influential figure for a lot of Harlem and New York greats, while Hollowman had served a similar role in Philly’s battle rap scene. Their battle was not just two OGs having a talk, but a testament to the legacy they had built throughout their careers.

Head Ice deserved a tremendous amount of credit for taking on the challenge of battling twice in seven days. Despite a few stumbles, he brought nostalgic content, slick talk, and everything fans expected from a Head Ice performance. His charisma and unique style resonated with the Philly audience.

Hollowman, on the other hand, had not battled in 20 years, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from his performance. From the moment he started his round, he captivated the room. Hollowman’s rhyming style is far from the traditional battle rap style we may be accustomed to, and yet he has such a hypnotizing way of navigating his rhyming pockets and incorporating subtle name flips and punchlines to stay tailored to Head Ice. His round ended with a recitation of his infamous verse from his battle with E Ness, which electrified the screen and undoubtedly left a lasting impression for everyone watching this event, live or from home. 

Hollowman had expressed his desire to test the waters with a one-round battle, and after his incredible performance, it was clear that fans wanted to see more of him. It wouldn’t be surprising if he stepped into the battle rap arena 2-3 times within the next year. The battle between Head Ice and Hollowman was not only a showcase of their skills but also a celebration of their enduring influence over the last two decades. 

A one round battle was the perfect reintroduction for Hollowman to return to this era of battle rap, however, I will say, It would be nice if the league would just be transparent and just advertise that the battle is a one-rounder 

Mike P vs Rosenberg Raw

Recapped By J Smo

Main event of the night and it lived up to the title, Mike vs. Rose had the tension and level of showing you would want from 2 battlers that were in the clear standout matchup of the night. Mike would lead off and his 1st round is the statement he needed, being the most powerful round of his in the battle. Instantly addressing his recent disconnect with URL, he perfectly crafts his setup into an angle about Froze attempting to leave RBE for URL and ending it with a “Take This Walk With Me” haymaker, playing off Rose’s catchphrase as media. That was only the start as this was followed by his No Stone Unturned bar as well as a performance bar where Mike was literally Moonwalking. One of the best Mike rounds in some time and a near-unbeatable opener. Rose 1st was solid but inverse to Mike a bit of a slow cook, as well as heavy on the jokes. Reworking the infamous angle about Mikes’s wife, some of the rounds seemed standard, although the “Hits in the Suburbs overpriced bar” is the type of haymaker that Rose and only a few others can produce. It’s a solid round by Rose but not nearly enough, Mike 1-0 clear after 1. 

The 2nd is a 180 as this was Rose’s round of the battle. Mike 2nd takes a drastic dip from his 1st after landing a KeKe Palmer haymaker early. Some cool bars and flips about Coinstar and Iceberg, but definitely Mike’s lightest round of the battle. Meanwhile, Froze gets the room on his side with ton of quoteables (Puerto Rican/A’int Natural, Pigeon Toed, Like Mike, Yo Adrian, Eardrums came with Speakers all fire bars/haymakers). Angling, straight disrespect, real talk, and great pure rapping brought Rose back into the battle, giving us a clear 1-1 heading into the 3rd

The final round unlike the 1st 2 is highly contested and what the battle really comes down to. Both have key lines in the 3rd that can have their fans edging it either one they prefer. Mike 3rd interesting enough has some great drug talk, the Onion in a Sock like a home remedy bar being the true standout. Add the Rock Bands scheme and some more angling about Rose trying to leave RBE, and Mike delivers a solid round overall. On Rose’s side, he starts mostly tailored with a mix of real talk. Breakdown of Mikes’s behavior and parts of his career, his standouts from the round are his Open Seasoning bar and his very life applicable “Both houses had animals but you never pet the snake” haymaker. The 3rd is mostly going to come down to what approach you prefer as this is a textbook 50/50 debatable battle. For me Personally, liked a little bit more of the content Rose had and for me gave him a 3rd round edge in the clear BOTN.

Dope battle, stock raiser for both, and with both having a battle on the horizon hope to see them carry their momentum into their next showings. 

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