The Trenches: Recap of Round 2 Of The Tournament

The second round of the Trenches Tournament has come to a close, with the battles leaving fans buzzing and debating the outcomes. The judging panel featured a diverse mix of perspectives, with battlers Marv Won, Quest Mcody, and ill Will.  Alongside media representatives like Lola Dope from New Era and Battle Factz. With a split between battlers and media, the deliberations promised to be versatile as they dissected each contender’s performance. Also featured as a headliner on the card, a dope clash between two of Detroit’s own in Piranha vs Shotti P. Two guys that have been in the game for about a decade now also ended the night with a fire back-and-forth battle. 

We’ll be focusing on the tournament results thus far from the 2nd round. As the dust settles and the results are tallied, anticipation mounts for the next round of battles in what promises to be a continuation of this fierce competition.

J Morr vs King
Z The Dropout vs Stackboy Chuck 

J-Morr vs Tex

A battle that stirred up a ton of dialogue online. A lot to unpack with this one. 

J Morr and Tex, was a canvas for contrasting styles that captivated both the live audience and the folks at home watching the PPV/VOD. J Morr, with his seasoned presence and precision in landing haymakers, since his debut on the Trenches, has done nothing but showcase his experience, and he aims to dominate the room with pacing and explosive punches/drug talk. On the other side stood Tex, a rising talent infused with the spirit of the DVD legends from Philly, who is a complete breath of fresh air. Tex’s approach was unconventional, weaving through multiple flow pockets and delivering knockout blows in spurts, that defied the conventional punch line structure that we are used to hearing in battles. As the battle continued, the room was bristled with anticipation for the outcome. The 2nd and 3rd rounds of the battles are split between the two of them, leaving the outcome hanging on the balance of the first round. However, keep in mind. J-Morr’s 3rd round is his strongest of the performance so putting the bow on a performance with a strong round while staying competitive in the earlier ones, can put you in a prime position to get the decision. 

This pivotal moment highlighted the complexity of the battle rap, where multiple truths can exist at once.  Let me first say, that I can see how on only one watch, I can see how this battle was called in favor of J Morr, but I do see how as a viewer at home you can find this debatable. J-Morr’s style is more catered to what can score you more points in a tournament-style setting. All of the judges are probably trying to annotate as many bars as they can, and J-Morr’s style just caters more to that than Tex.

Once again, two things can be true at once. J Morr hailed in as the favorite on odds to probably win the entire tournament, granted he is the most seasoned battler in the tourney and looked the best so far. So he has very high expectations. However, Tex is a relative newcomer to the scene with only three battles under his belt. Tex’s ability to surprise and impress people by showing this much talent early in his career, makes him special. This injected an element of unpredictability into the matchup, becoming a testament to how even in a losing battle, you can still win the war. 

This reminds me a little bit of Eazy vs Fonz or Kyd Slade vs MVP battles in previous tournaments. Eazy & Kyd Slade both found themselves with a 2nd round exit, which a large portion of fans didn’t agree with. Tex doesn’t necessarily rap like Eazy or Kyd Slade. But he does bring a level of authenticity and believability in his delivery & content that expands far beyond your typical puncher. These kind of battlers don’t completely stray away from punching, but they prioritize showing their rapping ability coincides with substance. And when that style is matched against more of a puncher or someone who can do both, it becomes a level of preference with fans, but in a judged atmosphere, sometimes the puncher just has the advantage over the substance/real talk kind of battler. J Morr evidently can do both, but he punches much more frequently and harder than Tex. So that’s all it comes down to. No one was robbed in this, and it’s a legitimately debatable battle. 

In all 3 of those judged battles I have listed above, Eazy vs Fonz / Kyd Slade vs MVP / J Morr vs Tex. The puncher advanced to the semi-finals with a 4-1 majority decision. Coincidence? I think not. We have a sample size that can show you, in real-time, that judges may just favor a puncher more in that moment.

Tex has nothing to hang his head on with this. His performance on the road was nothing short of spectacular and he has put some of the culture on notice. It’s time for him to capitalize off this momentum and build in the right direction And with him showing this much talent so early in his career, he can become a serious threat and a scary battler in a few years when his game is more polished and redefined. 

After The decision was made about the battle being a majority decision in favor of J Morrr, the room was met with a bit of an awkward reaction, almost stunned by the decision. J Morr has found himself in the prime position where people are starting to cast narratives on his name, which is completely a sign of him doing something right, right? It’s like a little bit of a turn on him, but maybe you can say it agitates people when you are winning. He is on the right trajectory, however, I will say, this performance was a bit less potent than his previous Trenches performances and in the semi-finals he will be matched against King, Someone who can actually match his caliber in punch count. So he will need to up the firepower. 

King vs MuuuWop

The battle between Muuuwop and King, was a bit reminiscent of J Morr vs Tex outline, pitting versatility against rapid-fire punching.

Muuuwop, known for his range in his rhyme patterns really showed out in this performance. As I’ve mentioned several times, his impeccable defense is always showcased and I note this because his ability to maintain composure despite battling on King’s home turf, makes me feel like this level of poise on defense, translates into his confidence on offense. When it’s his time to rap, he looks completely unfazed by the room. Muuu’s skillset has so much finesse, demonstrating a keen understanding of the moment’s significance and rising admirably to the occasion. That’s what you wanna see from your talent, them being able to put their best foot forward when the stakes are raised. His use of diverse rhyme patterns alongside with how much more tailored his bars were for King, really highlighted his adaptability. Standout moments like the clever “if all your sentences run concurrent don’t expect to see the light of day” bar and the strong delivery on the “Candy bars, get you in a bag that’s King size” showcased Muuuwop’s prowess in both writing, rapping, and delivery, making this battle a standout performance in his repertoire thus far. One of my favorite rounds I have heard from him.  

On the other side, this is still a tournament setting where the punch count can reign supreme over all the little nuances in someone’s rapping. And I had concerns that Muuu would struggle with keeping up with King’s signature rapid-fire punching style to the forefront. Not to mention Muuu’s 3rd round probably was a bit on the weaker side in comparison to his first two in my opinion. Muuu is a star in the making for the Trenches and will constantly be in rotation, but this was a case where styles make fights and I didn’t expect him to be victorious, nor was he, but he showed the level of effort and grit that I want to see as a fan. He didn’t wavier and left with a lot of positive features to take away from.

King’s performance in the battle was a storm, his barrage of punches resembling the relentless onslaught of raindrops in a torrential downpour. With each bar delivered with lightning and precision, he seized control of the pacing. Much like a maestro guiding the tempo of a symphony, King kept the rhythm of the battle to his advantage, alternating between crescendos of aggression, chain punchings, and an attack to keep his opponent far away from a threshold. King to me is very reminiscent of Saynt La when you look at his punch style. Very similar cadence in which he rhymes in fluid multis, he punches every 3 bars, and he has smooth transitions into the next stance. Sometimes he even punches in 2 bars. Some of the punches can be a bit more on the simple side, but after taking multiple jabs, you eventually get hit with a power punch. This gives King so much room to operate and create an insurmountable amount of distance when you tally up the bars. Also, the King comparisons to Saynt is a compliment to the highest praise, especially when you consider the fact that Saynt was able to win the KOTD Grand Prix, so we have seen this style produce winning results. 

King’s skillset will allow him to maintain an amount of unyielding pressure on any of his opponents in this setting, especially against J Morr in the semi-finals. This may be an unpopular opinion because I was unfamiliar with King before this tournament, and although J Morr is the more seasoned battler, King should be the favorite in their battle and I would put the bets on King to go the rest of the way in the tournament and win the whole thing. 

Z The Drop Out vs Baby James

In the battle between Z the Dropout and Baby James, was a clash of skill and resilience and who would last the distance.. While Baby James put up a commendable fight, particularly shining in the second round with a display of his raw talent to stay competitive, Z the Dropout remained a picture of control and consistency throughout the match in every round. Despite Baby James’s potential to rally in the third round and reclaim the room, his inability to maintain cleanliness ultimately proved to be his downfall. Z the Dropout, with his polished fundamentals, continues to be on the path to victory. Z the Dropout is not going to beat himself, so there is little room for error against him, and fumbling a round by not being clean in your performance is for sure a way to find yourself in a deficit against him. Z’s approach and refusal to falter ensured that victory remained firmly within his grasp, propelling him confidently into the semi-finals. And now he is 1 one away from being a real contender to win the entire Trenches Tournament. 

Stackboy Chuck vs Bo The Great

For Bo The Great and Stackboy Chuck, the stage was set for a battle of titanic proportions. I will admit, I was not thoroughly impressed with their first-round showings, but they did show some potential and throughout the first two rounds of their battle, improvements were made and both contenders displayed determination and skill in their talent with a desire to win. 

The momentum swung back and forth, with each rapper vying for a commanding lead amongst the first two rounds. The battle was competitive to the point that you would need someone to have an explosive 3rd round or someone to have the slightest slip to separate the distance between them. Bo The Great put on with his trademark style, delivering bars with his pace and precision. As mentioned previously, “the best way to describe Bo The Great is his style is a distinctive voice. What works best for Bo, is that he marches to the beat of his drum.”  I had concerns If his style could win another round in the tournament because while it is original, it lacked some firepower in its slower pace. He was on par to have a much better performance than his first-round showing but found himself facing a setback in the crucial third round as he jammed up. Despite this  Bo The Great’s performance throughout the battle underscored his talent and potential.

Stackboy Chuck, meanwhile, proved to be a formidable opponent, matching Bo The Great bar for bar and demonstrating a marked improvement in his performance as well. His will & desire to win shined through, particularly in the second round where he elevated to new heights. Stackboy Chuck was able to last the distance and his progression throughout the tournament was evident, he will need to keep that same level of intensity and continuity against Z The Drop out in the semi-finals.

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