Event Recapped by France, Titus & Malcom (The LTBR Team)
In the 2nd installment of the Civil War series we have an action packed card filled with style clashes, some white on white crime, a 2 on 2 battle, some battles with high stakes, a few battlers making their returns to the league and heavy weight main event between Tsu Surf & Cortez.
A civil war or some may consider an intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same state. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policies. The theme of this event follows that exact suit. Battler’s are pinned against opponents that are within their status or peer group, in efforts to showcase their separation amongst their selves. This card is made to show who is ready for elevation and who is ready to take the leap to a bigger stage and a higher level of competition.
A lot of the performances from this card has shook up the table, some battler’s stocks have significantly shot up and while others are losing some value. Let’s get into it !
(We apologize in advance, the only battle we did not get an opportunity to watch on this card was the 2on2 between O’fficial/DNA vs Jakkboy Maine/First Lady Flamez)
Shout-outs to the shooter Snubb Geez for the pictures.
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Tsu Surf vs Cortez
Body of the Night: Jerry Wess over Lu Castro | Swamp over DOT
Best Performances of the night: #1 Jerry Wess | #2 Swamp | #3 Tsu Surf | #4 Cortez | #5 Drugz
NUNN NUNN VS CHARRON
Recapped by Titus
Nunn Nunn and Charron set it off for the evening by going first. Charron is fully maximizing all of his opportunities on the league after signing with URL. This is his 4th battle of the year and he has the most appearances so far by any battler on URL. Nunn gets his first home game on the league and he made his presence felt !
He was able to impose his will with his performance and delivery more so than his bars truth be told. Nunn Nunn out rebuttal’d Charron and had more effective angles. I don’t agree with the 3-0 chant because its evident Charron was slept on after some of his rebuttals fell flat, but Charron never took his foot off the gas and completely fought through the adversity. It was just Nunn Nunn’s night.
“Smack I know you say they can’t copy respect, but the least you can do is copy the check !” – Nunn Nunn
Takeaways from Nunn Nunn’s Performance: Nunn had a great understanding of how to maneuver the stage. I do believe material wise, his earlier battles this year was a bit better. Like the Sheed Happens/Snake Eyez battle. But Nunn is understanding how to navigate a crowd and have an impact outside of his material to win battles. With his delivery, timing, choice of angles & rebuttals were all on point.
Takeaways from Charron’s Performance: Charron was certainly poised and was not phased by being on the road against that Carolina crowd. He showed how lengthy his rebuttals could be and while his freestyling ability is always impressive, it just didn’t translate within the room. Charron wasn’t able to regain the lead from Nunn Nunn, which is a bit shocking because he is the veteran and is able to always snatch back momentum.
SWAMP VS DOT
Recapped by Malcom
In Swamp’s Carolina homecoming against Dot, he was able to achieve a multitude of things. Namely, gain a clear win, have a really good performance on a big stage, and regain the hunger that made him one of the leaders of his class. It is safe to say that the latter was the most important. He came with great stage presence and energy out the gate with a very solid first round.
The thing that stuck out the most was how he highlighted where he stood in the culture and with the URL staff (the idea of getting demoted from where he once was). His 2nd round was easily his best round showcasing his unique Southern-street style and his charisma. This round displayed that while he may not be the most punch-heavy battler, he is still able to entertain the crowd and maintain traction. He closed out strong with his 3rd, clearing Dot for all 3 rounds, and sent a well-executed shot at the Gun Bar king. The shot not only spawned a sizable response from the audience, but Smack also seemed very intrigued with the potential matchup.
On the flipside, Dot had a pretty tough night. He couldn’t get the crowd on his side and had a great deal of bars that didn’t land. Dot showed flashes with some unique lines and concepts, but the execution was slighty off. However, I commend Dot for powering through and not allowing the lack of reaction to compromise his performance. In this case, it was a mixture of battling on the road and not having the best material to match Swamp.
Takeaways from Swamp’s Performance:
After a year of turbulence in 2021, a great deal of people wondered where Swamp goes from here. In 2019-2020, Swamp was at the top of his class and had the most clear wins out of any of his peers. The buzz was immense. In 2021, all the momentum was curbed after a tournament loss to Geechi Gotti, a sub-par performance in the long-waited T Top matchup, and a slip-up in a Serious Jones battle. Swamp’s stock seemingly tanked a bit going into this year. With Swamp’s performance against Dot, I wouldn’t quite declare that “Swamp is back”. However, I will acknowledge that this battle showed me that he at least has the same hunger he had 3 years prior. It also showed that he is still able to garner attention from top tier individuals (a tactic that will pay dividends in the future).
Takeaways from Dot’s Performance:
Dot has shown that he still is extremely talented since he came back to the URL platform. His performances against Mack Mel and Your Honor are prime examples of that. He just needs to piece it together consistently between battles. Everyone has a tough night (especially on the road). I think Dot continues to maintain a great level of energy, projection, and performance. He just needs to return to the game tapes and see what works for him in his battles that were well-received.
JERRY WESS VS LU CASTRO
Recapped by Malcom
After a year hiatus from the URL platform, Jerry Wess returned to North Carolina and delivered a dominant performance that reminded people how dangerous he can be. A lot of comparisons have been made between these two. They both received a push to battle top tier competitors, both took a while to receive major acclaim from the audience, both have surpassed the mid-tier level but haven’t quite figured out how to beat or match their other top-tier counterparts. With all this being stated, Jerry Wess showed the difference. It was evident in preparation, bars, and effective delivery.
Jerry delivered a solid first round to wake up a lethargic crowd. He was landing punches in abundance and was able to dismantle a part of Castro’s approach by addressing the differences between them out the gate. After Castro choke in the 1st, Jerry put his foot on the gas and delivered a very good 2nd round that woke the crowd right up. While Lu Castro did fight back in the 2nd with higher energy and good lines, Jerry was cleaner and delivered a couple more haymakers to steal the 2nd as well. Jerry’s 3rd was another extremely potent round with great punches and performance. Castro had a choppy 3rd and once again couldn’t match Jerry’s material or performance. Jerry Wess cleared Lu with one of his best performances since the Danny Myers battle and is looking to raise his stock in a rapid fashion.
Takeaways from Jerry Wess’s Performance:
Jerry is one of the more consistent battlers in the culture. He took a few lumps after his Glueazy performance in 2019 (Rum Nitty, Chilla Jones, Arsonal, etc.) But he still has the ability to deliver a deadly performance at any given moment. Jerry quickly showed that he is still dangerous when it comes to battling mid-tiers and rising stars. With the hunger and enthusiasm that was seen from him in this battle, it is safe to say he is rejuvenated and ready to make a run. He still must prove he can keep up with some of the elites (especially with him calling out Charlie Clips).
Takeaways from the Lu Castro Performance:
Castro has repeated the process of “taking two steps forward and three steps back”. Whether it’s going from the Arsonal battle to the battle with Fonz, going from the Rum Nitty battle to the battle with Drugz, or going from the Charlie Clips battle then Jerry Wess. He has built a pattern of raising his stock and plummeting it shortly after. It seems that Lu Castro is mailing it in when it comes to people that are at his status which can be detrimental to the advancement as a battler. He must treat every match the same when it comes to preparation. Castro has the charisma, performance, and a following to do some amazing things but first he must harness all those intangibles and work on being more consistent. Bad losses add up after a while, and it is important that he eradicates the habit of being a person that chokes and stumbles.
Drugz vs Franchise
Recapped by France
Drugz vs Franchise, a style clash of mirrored aggression, intense delivery and performance. I projected this to be our battle of the night and while it fell short of that bar, there was still some great highlights from both emcees in this battle.
Drugz is showing he can translate his style for a stage. He had impeccable timing to his delivery, he displayed extreme confidence and tailored his material for Franchise with an effective and direct approach. It is a bit irritating to see Drugz stop the fluidity in his rapping by gauging the crowd for reaction or screaming out WHATTT, so many times in his round. But he is showing a ton of versatility in this performance. Aside his punching, Drugz displayed some humor/sarcasm to lighten up the crowd, his set ups are perfectly aligned with the punches and most impressively, he shows his crowd control abilities by having the crowd participate in his angle in his 3rd round. Drugz built up a theme about Franchise being soccer player and he kept repeating the theme until the crowd followed and they engaged with the angle. He is showing elevation and his battle rap IQ is growing.
Franchise was able to open up his first round and instantly sparked the crowd in a matter of a few bars. His first round was his way to looking like the old Franchise we know and love. While he did land a few bombs in the 1st. NO LACKING out the gate, his performance still seemed to be in tact and his aggression was potent. Unfortunately It wasn’t strong enough to clearly snatch the round. While I edge the first round to Franchise, it’s still a close round and probably the only competitive round of the battle. Franchise seems to lose the crowd in his 2nd round, despite the lack of reaction he has some powerful lines. Arguably had one of the best bars of the battle, “straight facts, life ain’t give me lemons, it gave me coke and I made crack!”
Franchise is still knocking off the ring rust, I’m sure on camera, fans will enjoy his content. But the lack of crowd control and stage presence was glaring.
Takeaways from Drugz Performance:
You are starting to witness some elevation with Drugz. Not just from the way he operates on the stage, but more importantly off the stage. This seems to be the year he is winning over the fans. He has always been a great writer and a talented battle rapper but the obstacle of winning over the people is one that he is conquering. Drugz established some powerful momentum for himself early in the year against Lu Castro and has continued progress from it. When this drops on the app, its likely he will collect his 3rd win for the year on the URLTV App. Which is insane, because from 2019-2022 his record was 2-14. So in one year, he is going to rack up more statistical wins than he’s had over the last few years.
Takeaways from Franchise’s Performance:
Its important to point out that Franchise has not battled on URL in 2 years, and his peak in 2019 was before the caffeine era of URL. So there was clearly some ring rust, it’s possible there is an audience that is not as familiar with him neither. None the less, no excuses, Franchise has a style that should be explosive enough to take over a stage. His material was good and the introduction to his performance opened up with a lot of momentum that he could not sustain. Looking forward to him studying the game tapes and getting better
TSU SURF VS CORTEZ
Recapped by France
The long awaited grudge match finally goes down after being rescheduled. Truthfully speaking, the rivalry of this battle had high expectations for the history of the back and forth between both emcee. Of course giving people high expectations is what sells a battle. Marketing survives by raising people’s expectations. When the product doesn’t meet up with their expectation, disappointment follows. And so it goes with most things in our lives. While many are calling this a Battle Of the Year Contender, I can’t say that I agree with those sentiments.
Just because a battle may be underwhelming to its projections, doesn’t mean its not a good battle! Cortez elects to go first to set the tone for the battle. Personally, I believe this was an error on his end. It’s difficult to set a tone for someone like Surf who has an entire crowd ready to see him rap. Cortez may be a better angler than Surf, but he isn’t necessarily a better performer, puncher nor is he more explosive than Surf. So its difficult for Cortez to dictate the pacing of the battle.
Tsu Surf likes to gauge the environment when his opponent goes first. He pays attention to the crowd while analyzing the tempo of his opponents. Cortez could’ve benefited from trying to match the energy by going second, as oppose to setting the tone by going first. Cortez is proven to be an above average rebuttaler with streaky moments. So he could’ve opened his 1st round with a rebuttal and try to match the fire power. Cortez had very very good 1st round, but winning the top of the 1st round in battle rap is statistically the most difficult round to win in a battle.
There isn’t much benefit in trying to set the tone because you can simply lose the 1st round off your opponent matching your energy. Here is another stat for you, so far in 2022, everyone on URL who has elected their selves to first, has lost the 1st round.
(List of battlers that has elected their selves to go first and lost the 1st round in 2022)
Exs: Lu Castro 1st vs Clips | Danny 1st vs Ave | Jakkboy 1st vs First Lady Flamez | Hollow 1st vs DNA | Tay Roc 1st vs Danny Myers
Cortez 1st round was competitive, sharp and on point. I’m sure on the watch back it will be appreciated more, but it was overshadowed in the building by Tsu Surf’s powerful 1st round. Surf completely hit the button and turned on his AMG mode. Chain punching in a rhyme pattern, getting to all of his spots and pockets he likes, Surf was picking up right back from the level he was rapping at in 2021. Cortez was able to respond all of Surf’s haymakers with an explosive 2nd round to even the score. Tsu Surf visibly winds down in his 2nd round and has stated in his post battle interview on HHIR, he was conserving his energy for the third round.
Cortez opens his 3rd round with a powerful start with the purge bar. But when he starts to unravel the angle about having something to speak about, there really wasn’t much to speak about. Tsu Surf has a solid 3rd round and he was able to land a little more in the crowd and probably did enough to bring home the win.