Event Recapped by J Smo
The Traffic series has become a staple in URL events cycle, being the main West Coast representative event on the platform. While not being on level with some of the more marquee events in URLs cycle (SM, NOME, Vol. etc.), Traffic has still had many battles of value and important matchups, having talent such as Tay Roc, Rum Nitty, JC, Dizaster, Chess, Ave, Geechi Gotti, Ill Will and many, many more appear through the series 5 installment history. While Traffic 4 was a clear step down in quality from what the event presented in installments 1-3, the Traffic 5 card on paper looked like a return to form. With a great mix of star-powered battles, great stylistic booking, and variance in styles amongst many of the battlers on the card, Traffic 5 was able to match the expectations on paper with high-level quality, giving us one of the best events in Battle Rap in 2022.
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Kid Chaos vs Sheed Happens
Biggest win: Rum Nitty over Bill Collector
Best Performances of the night: #1 Rum Nitty, #2A & #2B Sheed Happens and Kid Chaos, #3 Bill Collector, #4 Chess, #5 Saynt
Podcast Recap For Traffic 5
RX vs YOSHI G
After a grueling 3-and-a-half-hour delay, the first battle was finally put to stage as RX and Yoshi would be given the chance to start off the night. RX was making her URL debut, while Yoshi was on the first half of a battle rap back-to-back, with her 2nd round Chrome 23 Tourney matchup vs Kausion being on Sunday. This + a limited body of work to fully assess RX talents pointed me in the direction of this being an “okay”, close battle.
Gladly I can say, both ladies exceeded expectations in a very good back and forth. RX won the toss and opted to go 1st, and came out rapping and performing very fluidly, which has been a slight critique of her across a few fans in the culture. With decent writing showcased in examples such as her drug scheme and her “Attachment issues” bar, which was the first haymaker of the event, RX gave a solid 1st to start the battle. Yoshi responds with a round showing her signature layered writing style and her developed and more fluid performance. With many X flips and consistently jabbing her punches, she wrote uphill to the end of her round ending on her best bar not just of the 1st but of the battle with her Gum scheme. While the 1st was close, the scheme had a buzzer beater like effect and in my opinion, edged Yoshi the 1st.
The 2nd would follow suit being another very close round from both, and even a step up in quality. RX flexed her improv ability with a room shaking mid round rebuttal, while Yoshi showed her ability to angle, bringing up RX and Coffee incidents as well as landing a heavy Chrisean Rock bar. While once again very close, I edged Yoshi the 2nd, and had her 2-0 going into the 3rd. The 3rd is a step down in quality from both but the clearest round of the battle, as RX’s disrespectful route about Yoshi’s kids visibly got Yoshi frustrated and off her game. While Yoshi’s real talk 3rd about her life struggles had substance, RX performance in 3rd was cleaner and angles resonated with the room more, giving her the 3rd clear. Very good battle to open the night and a net positive showing for both ladies no matter who people will have winning.
Verdict: Yoshi 2-1, 1st and 2nd edge (larger gap of separation in 2nd), RX 3rd clear.
Nunn Nunn vs Jey The NiteWing
Up next was Nunn vs Jey. The question of this battle fully fell on Jeys’s shoulder in many fans eyes: would Jey be motivated and perform to his potential? The answer is kind of. Jey’s 1st was very good, getting into the aggressive, walk-you-down rapping style that made him a eye-catching talent to being with. With haymakers such as his “Under the Sea/Ariel View” bar and struggle talk “I channel pain like the cable cut”, Jey had a good 1st. Shockingly though, Nunn Nunn was able to match this 1st and then some, having quite possibly his best round of his very busy 2022 campaign. With great writing, a *sprinkle* of classic Nunn Nunn pandering to crowd, and haymakers from Wing flips, to a super heavy Renegade bar, Nunn Nunn finally had a highlight like round that many have been looking for and took the 1st clearly over a good Jey.
The 2nd for both was a step down in quality. Not a bad round by any means, but just a mucky debatable round where truly most people will probably pick who’s style they prefer, with such littler separation from either in the content or performance category. Due to some expected dry spots by Nunn, I personally edged Jey, the 2nd although I could see this possibly changing on play back, with his slow pace dropping to Sloth levels of speed and becoming a bit of an issue as the round went on.
Jey would return to form in the 3rd, having probably his best round of the battle, displaying his rapping pockets at the highest level while mixing in some great bars such as his “Follow Up” and “Witness protection” haymakers. Nunn Nunn gassed out a bit in the 3rd, having a going through the motions 3rd, leading to Jey taking this round clearly. Solid battle, not as good as Yoshi vs RX, but respectable. Very debatable battle, and a solid showing from both to fight back against some narratives about their motivation and capabilities as battlers.
Verdict: JTN 2-1, 2nd razors edge and 3rd clear, Nunn Nunn 1st clear
Tink Da Demon vs Loso
Tink vs Loso was a battle on paper that looked to be booked for a generic Devil vs Angel theme, and I had worries about the skill gap going in. Even though Loso was performing with a torn ACL (warrior shit), I was still not alarmed as I thought the gap in writing and pace would show even with hampered performance.
I can say fairly confidently I was correct in this case. Loso won the toss and had Tink go 1st, and Tink went on to give a very, very light and beatable round, with some hints of turbulence/stumbles in his delivery. Loso would start the bottom of his 1st with a “Walk By Faith” bar where he handed his crutches off to someone in his posse at the end, generating a haymaker so big some fans were yelling “1-0” after just 2-4 bars.
This was the theme of the battle. Although Loso didn’t have a haymaker-filled 3 rounds, he simply handled business, bringing a 7.5-8/10 showing that simply coasted over a very lackluster Tink in a clean sweep showing. Tink has a unique style and creative pen, but if he does not speed his delivery up and/or work on his breathe control, he simply will not be able to hang with high mid-tier – top tier talents on a night-to-night basis. Loso shows why he is a vet (and In my opinion a top-tier talent) and easily takes this in the least exciting battle of the night.
Verdict: Loso 3-0, easily the least exciting battle of the night
Sheed Happens vs Kid Chaos
THIS IS WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. THIS IS BATTLE RAP. Sheed vs Chaos was a great matchup on paper, both having extremely great and developing pens, while also being electrifying and unorthodox performers. Many of us knew this would be good, and was my Dark Horse pick for BOTN, and after watching it should have been my flat-out pick.
Sheed wins the toss and decides to go 1st, and out the gate we knew this was gonna be a next level battle. He off rip addresses the rehearsal talk on his name, but quickly after Sheed was chaining haymakers, with his “Schizophrenic”, “Lord Farquaad”, and “Power Walk” bars all landing as bombs in the building. This mixed with insane levels of rapping and performance made this a near unbeatable round. Chaos had a solid 1st in response, displaying some layered writing and even comedy, but simply just was not of the same level in the 1st, as Sheed was up a crystal clear 1-0.
The 2nd round of this battle is other worldly. Sheed picks up exactly where he lefts off, and even a little better, having as perfect a round as he can give you. From the story telling opener leading to a “McDonalds money” bar (bar of the night contender), to his rapid delivery and chain punching, it made the bars almost impossible to jot down as notes while stll being 10/10 material. It was looking “6 months of night in Alaska” kind of dark for Chaos, as many thought after those first 2 Sheed rounds the battle was a done deal. But Chaos had other plans. Starting with a fire Sheed impersonation, that got the crowd back while being fire and funny, Chaos matched Sheeds rapping and performance and met him up in space, as he left Earth his entire 2nd as well. It got to the point that when Chaos landed his like 5th or 6th haymaker flipping Sheed’s classic “Trophies” slogan, I found myself somehow edging Chaos the 2nd in one of the best comeback rounds of the year.
With a good ol’ 1-1 going into the 3rd, the only thing that stopped this from being an instant classic is both battlers taking a step down this round. Sheed takes a heavy real talk/drug talk approach that wasn’t bad but had some dry spots, which had no yet existed in his performance so far. Chaos still had a pen heavy 3rd, and while not his 2nd, did enough to show clear separation in the 3rd and take that round.
I can’t praise this battle enough. Energy, bars, performance, comedy, motivation, competitive, just everything. The debate around it will be fun as it comes down to the 2nd, and one could argue both these gentlemen won in a net positive stock raiser for both, but personally, I had Chaos edging the battle by the thinnest of margins.
Verdict: Kid Chaos 2-1, 2nd debatable as it gets and 3rd clear, Sheed 1st clear, BOTN
Saynt vs Chess
A highly anticipated grudge match, Saynt made his debut on URL vs an opponent he’s been often compared to for the last 5 years, Chess.
Saynt wins the toss and decides to go 1st and has an excellent 1st round. Saynt is as pure a puncher as it gets, he has his one signature flow and pace and relies heavily on just writing amazing content to have an amazing round, and in his 1st it worked. He did have a hard stumble that borders on an all-out choke, but both had similar issues of this through the entire battle, so while most def a flaw it kind of canceled out in literally every round. His “Shallow Hal”, “Face Scan”, and “Sign/Die for real” bars all landed has haymakers, giving him a strong debut round. But Chess would respond, and gave his own 10/10 level round, with haymakers coming from angle punches comparing their status (“You can be the Saynt all you want, cause this is the Profit (prophet)”. And something to address about this round, which will inevitability be brought up on cam. It was some fans in the crowd actin like they’d risk it all for Chess, and no doubt some of it will be heard in footage, but I want to state: some fans were gassing Chess, but his material was still great and he won the round. Both these things can be true, and I’m not going to fault or mark points for Chess because some fans want to be the star of the show in the audience. I had him winning by a close by comfortable margin in the 1st.
The 2nd Chess won extremely clear, just having a better round by content, although Saynt once again had a very good 2nd, just not enough. Inversely, Saynt would take the 3rd clear, having debatably his best round of the battle, with his “Mario Kart”, “Brett Farve”, and Pokémon bars all landing as haymakers, while Chess started to experience a lot of turbulence in his 3rd, giving up the round clear. While I have Chess clear in easily his best performance of the year, the battle was still close in a sense and Saynt looks ready to continue taking top tier matchups but does have some delivery issues he can work on. I will say, there is a chance when it hits cam the 1st will be debated, but still, I will stick with my pick of Chess in that round regarding my in the building 1st watch. Another great battle in a night of great battles.
Verdict: Chess 2-1, 1st and 2nd clear, Saynt 3rd clear
Rum Nitty vs Bill Collector
Main event time. Rum vs Bill was set up to be a high-level bar fest, and in many aspects it was. Both showcased great writing, performance, and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed and respected both performances. But there was a clear line of separation, dare I say, every round.
Rum Nitty basically replicated his AWard showing, with 3 rounds of elite level of writing that really cements why he is so revered by the community, battlers, and fans alike. From 1st to 3rd he was landing nearly every bar, specifically in his 2nd round, flooding the room with quotable punches, which is who he is as a talent. Bill was no slouch by any means, giving a 8.5-9/10 level performance, but he ran into an another all-time great who was reaching his complete peak. One bar I specifically want to highlight from Bill is “Gun Butt, whip the Alien, it’s a Transformer”, in my opinion being one of the better name flips vs Nitty that’s ever been said, and one of the best bars of the battle from either. This battle should not change people’s view on Bill, and I expect him to continue battling top tier comp. as the performance he gave beats a lot of top comp. in today’s game, it just did not beat Rum Nitty on that night.
As for Nitty, I mean what can you say. His material this year is still as good as ever, and to clear a Bill Collector of this quality in clear fashion is a next to impossible type of feat in battle rap. If Nitty can somehow replicate this level of material vs Fonz on Vol. 10, he would be wrapping up possibly another top 5 finish for COTY and another year where many will debate Nitty’s name in the best battler alive conversation. If Nitty can’t get more god tier/milestone plates in 2023, then I truly don’t know as a battler what more he can do. Great battle, with 2 great showings from both, and the perfect end to an extremely high-quality event.
Verdict: Rum Nitty Gentleman’s 30, 1st the closest round of the battle