In The Building Rating
Staff Writers: France
Senior Staff Writer: Q Moody
LTBR Award Recipients
Battle of the Night: Murda Mook vs Nu Jerzey Twork
Best Individual Performances of the night: #1 Nu Jerzey Twork | #2 Shotgun Suge | #3 Murda Mook | #4 Ms. Hustle
Biggest win Of The Night: Shotgun Suge over Ace Amin
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. ☆☆☆☆☆
Swamp vs Lu Castro
Recapped by Q Moody
A battle of 2019 classmates, Swamp and Lu Castro were tasked with setting off the night and it’s fair to say the results of it were a bit of a mixed bag.
For Lu Castro, this represented a 2nd chance for lack of a better term. His lowlights have been highly publicized and for good reason, URL seemed to ease up on their push of him. On Swamp’s end, it’s all about continuing to cement the level he belongs on and erasing any remaining questions on his top-tier status.
Lu’s first round started strong and his dynamism was looking like it would cause some problems for Swamp. The problem was Lu’s round started to tail off and even if the material wasn’t bad or lacking towards the end of his first, the momentum very clearly died down. Swamp as always was cool and collected and even if it took him some time to heat up, once he got there it felt as if Swamp was able to take control. The first round was pretty close to me and I think ultimately boils down to if you preferred Lu’s hot start and lukewarm ending or Swamp’s approach of closing strongly.
The 2nd where things get a little dicey. Lu’s 2nd gets into some New York pandering which I am not mad at all and Lu was able to get some solid bars and moments out of that, I also really enjoyed some of the pockets he got into as well during this round. Once again it can be argued though that he starts off strongly and by the end it’s weaker, leaving the door open for Swamp to take the round. Which it looked like Swamp was on his way to doing, before an unfortunate choke during his round. The cause of the choke didn’t appear to be a case of forgetting his material or a lack of preparation, there was some crowd behavior and a little back and forth with Lu where Swamp then lost his place. But still, you have to be prepared to fight through anything and Swamp got thrown off and paid the price for it.
The 3rd rounds from both I thought were enjoyable and had some quotables, but neither guy took firm control of the battle when it was clearly up for grabs. Lu was cleaner than Swamp once again in this round though so I think whoever people are having winning this battle, will depend on their mileage when it comes to Swamp’s stumbles.
Overall this battle wasn’t anything blow away or the electric start you want to an event. Whether it’s because of Lu’s rounds feeling long or Swamp’s mishaps, this battle didn’t get to the potential I thought it had to go in. But I did think both guys mostly brought good material. For Lu, I think he showed he’s worth bringing back into rotation and even if there’s some stuff to feel a little disappointed by, this doesn’t feel like a battle that affects Swamp’s trajectory going forward.
Who do you have winning between Swamp vs Lu Castro?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) December 10, 2023
Shotgun Suge vs Ace Amin
Recapped by Q Moody
3 ☆ Rating
This battle had sleeper battle of the night potential I thought heading into the event, but sadly this was a lot more one-sided than I had hoped for.
Ace’s track record so far on stages has actually been excellent. With Snake Eyez, John John Da Don, and Rum Nitty he’s proven to be a capable and electric guy on a big stage. Returning to New York again, especially facing someone like Suge, who despite the bumps in his road this year, is still a hard out for anyone in NY. And all the troubles I thought of Ace possibly running into all came to fruition.
His material is far from bad in this battle, his first round is good in my eyes. But while Ace was rapping his ass off, he didn’t have the moment to capture the room like has in his previous big stage outings. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the decision to go first either. I could be wrong, but it also felt like he opted for a faster pace to start with than he did in the Nitty battle. Contrast that with Suge who out the gate had the crowd eating out the palm of his hands. About 12 bars in it was already apparent Suge came in to work and it’s the best Suge at least since the Kyd Slade battle at Redemption. It was a big stage masterclass of a round for Suge and put Ace in a huge deficit. It was a Suge’s round reminiscent of all the career highlights we think of for him and it was an avalanche of momentum.
To Ace’s credit though the start to his 2nd round was extremely strong and his intricate patterns seemed to start winning over the crowd and he was landing. But seeking out the guy in the crowd mid-round who was doing whatever Ace felt the need to point out, takes away from the momentum he was building. As a human being you’re always more than within your right to call out disrespect at any moment, but sadly I think for Ace it came at the expense of a round he badly needed to win or make it close. You top it off with an angle about Suge’s dedication to Islam that a lot of people aren’t immediately going to catch and it felt like Ace squandered some goodwill. Suge came back bombing even more, returning to the form that had him as a COTY contender in 2022 and that was a welcome sight to see.
By the 3rd it felt like the writing was on the wall and once again while Ace’s material is far from bad and he has some great lines, the crowd seemed disinterested at points and things like Ace bringing it back no longer got any leeway and he ends his round off on sort of a downer note. It’s a shame because this was a beatable 3rd from Suge and by far his weakest round of the battle, but it was enough to get 3-0 chants from the crowd and be the first clear win of the night. Some people may disagree, but this might be Ace Amin’s first super clear loss where he did rap all 3 rounds.
A great reminder of the type of electricity Suge can bring to a big stage in New York. Suge had such a good 2022 it was disappointing to see a lot of regression from him for most of 2023, but he ended this year on an extremely high note and hopefully, that’s a sign of things for his 2024. As for Ace, there are some adjustments to be made and hopefully, it is a learning experience for him after a career year in 2023.
Who do you have winning between Shotgun Suge vs Ace Amin— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) December 10, 2023
Ms.Hustle vs Arsonal
Recapped by Q Moody
There’s a good, bad, and ugly to this battle. And all of the good belongs to Ms. Hustle. Gotta give her flowers first, Hustle has been killing it on the stages all year whether it was the Chrome anniversary card, Kings vs Queens, and now Homecoming. Hustle is by far one of the best big stage performers in battle rap right now and a strong argument can be made that she is the best. She’s delivering every single time at this point and deserves that credit. Her first round is very much in the conversation of the best rounds of the night.
A thing I’ve been harping on for a long time is this myth of Arsonal being good on stages. And I said myth because that’s exactly what it is. Maybe overseas you can argue that Ars knows how to work a big stage, but in America, time and time again we’re shown that he just doesn’t have it. He’s one of the most decorated battle rappers of all time, you can’t tell the story of battle rap’s growth without him. That can be true while we still acknowledge the flaws in his skillset and the most glaring one time and time again proves to be his inability to translate on stage.
It’s not like he’s without moments or good bars, Ars is great at putting words together and sometimes he’ll have a slick little bit of wordplay that gets some oohs and ahhs from the audience, but largely there’s nothing to latch on to. To top it off when you have him choking and stumbling all battle like we did here, it just makes it more apparent that Arsonal should not be battling on stages. That’s just not his thing and it should be okay to say that.
None of this detracts from Hustle’s performance, she did what she was supposed to do and in the face of nonsense and a lot of physicality, she handled business. Hustle losing on the polls at all here is a complete joke. Hustle all these years in is still in the midst of a career run and for Arsonal, we’re very overdue for some honest dialogue about him on these big events.
Who do you have winning between Ms. Hustle vs Arsonal ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) December 11, 2023
Serius Jones vs Geechi Gotti
Recapped by Q Moody
This battle is as clear as it gets, but I’ll give Jones this: I genuinely thought his first round was good. Jones at his best can rap these rounds where it’s structured well and flows together almost flawlessly with plenty of writing to latch on to or have caught your eye. The first made me feel like Geechi would have to put forth some effort and that he wouldn’t be able to get away with coasting…but then one freestyle just stole the battle and it’s all downhill from there. Geechi completely overpowers that solid round from Serius, it’s just a complete avalanche of dominance and wipes away any goodwill or home-cooking Serius had in his favor.
Once the tide turned, it was an impossible hole for Serius to fight out of. For a guy who’s historically been good on stages and doesn’t lose clearly very often, Serius looked uncomfortable. Credit to him he kept rapping amid the boos and didn’t have a meltdown like Dizaster did at Summer Madness, but it was still tough to watch. His writing does take a noticeable nosedive after the first round. The nuts scheme is horrendous. The big problem is writing way too much. It’s something that is an issue in his first round as well but it’s such a glaring issue in the 2nd round. Geechi by this point is in full control and would probably even say himself he didn’t have to do a ton to keep control here. If Geechi could freestyle and debatably win against a great Jey The Nitewing, getting by on freestyles on a less than stellar Serius wasn’t gonna prove to be a difficult task.
The 3rd is more of the same and we got ourselves a clear win for Gotti. Jones’ first was legit solid and he does get a little credit for fighting through the crowd but it’s one of the worst losses of his career. Gotti ends his 2023 with another win and gets some level of vengeance for last year’s Homecoming event.
Who do you have winning between Geechi Gotti vs Serius Jones ?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) December 11, 2023
T-Rex vs Chess
☆ No Rating
Waiting until the last month of the year for 2023 to have its biggest disappointment…just flat-out sucks man, no other way to put it. Especially with it being a years-long anticipated battle, it being the only NY vs NY battle on the card, the battle so many people were anticipating the most goes incompleted.
For the portion of a battle we do have to evaluate, it felt like it was shaping up to be very interesting. Rex’s first round was far from bad, but definitely nowhere close to the epic Rex first round we might have expected given the circumstances. New York didn’t go as crazy for Rex as you’d expect and I found that very telling and maybe a little indicative of how Mook vs Twork would go (more on that later). Chess’ round starts so promising, he brought the building down early with the “you had 1212 skinnies, I was skinny with a 12” and it seemed like we were on our way to an absolute bomb of a round from Chess.
Unfortunately, we don’t get anything to take away after that because things took an unnecessary turn. Maybe there isn’t a particular party to blame here. You can say Rex should have not talked in Chess’ round, even if it’s a “part of battle rap” sometimes, and a thing Rex does we shouldn’t be normalizing it. You gotta respect your opponent while they’re rapping and as a culture, we have to stop acting like this is okay. You can say Chess should have been able to let it roll off his back and not get worked up even more, you can fault the entourages (which in most battle rap scuffles are the people who flare up the tension). Everyone shares a slice of the blame pie for putting a damper on something that was shaping up to be a fun battle, but that initial domino is talking through someone’s round. Hopefully, the battle can get booked again soon because it really is a shame to see one of the culture’s most built-up battles in recent memory end like this.
Murda Mook vs Nu Jerzey Twork
Recapped by Q Moody
Thankfully things were able to get back on track after Rex vs Chess and the main event took to the stage. I can admit that Twork vs Mook is not a battle I’ve ever been clamoring for or ever really wanted for either guy, but when they took the stage the big fight feel was palpable. First let me say, both Mook & Twork deserve an immense amount of credit for being able to revive a late and fatigued crowd that lost all its energy from the Rex/Chess issue and the crowd had been on their feet for almost 9 hours. That is not easy to do by any means and this is exactly what you want from your headliners, to be able to close the show & entertain in this fashion.
The story of this battle is one best told in totality. This was the best Mook lyrically I’ve ever seen, at least the most impressive. In the Tay Roc battle, he’s stellar but there’s the caveat of the angles and ammo he had to use against Roc. Against Geechi he was able to tailor his material perfectly for the environment and situation, but for some people that’s still not something worth throwing roses for. In a battle with no obvious angles or the same level of home advantage, Mook rapped the best he’s rapped in the modern format.
Are there of course moments where Mook frustrated me? Absolutely. I still am baffled how Mook can go from the segment leading up to the dope “everything from the neck down ain’t gonna listen to you either” to rapping about Twork being impotent. It’s mind-boggling how he can go from the line of the night territory to making me question his ability to rap. That being said though I left this battle the least frustrated with Mook I’ve probably ever been and I have to give him credit for that. For as much as I’ve lambasted Mook and called out what I thought to be “coddling” of these old-era legends, Mook in the last 14 months has been outside and shown legit areas of improvement. His “Detectives won’t even get to sketches, imma Quick Draw.” bar is a great example of how he is getting much quicker to a punch while still keeping a rhyming pocket going and he still had many more punches after the Quick Draw line.
I have him losing to Twork, but Mook is showing how much can he adapt to the big stage, he has some legitimate highlights and I can’t say I had a bad time watching him perform or that I thought he did a bad job. Mook was maybe the best he’s ever been. He didn’t force any angles, not a lot of forced schemes, it felt natural.
But Twork was just a force of nature. His first round was building shattering and it was the most pressure Mook has ever stood in front of in a battle, hands down. It was complete dominance from Twork without a single line wasted. It’s the most potent I’ve found Twork to be since the John John Da Don battle, which to me has been the height of Twork’s potential as a complete battler. Twork’s punching and his build-ups were incredible, his real talk segments especially when he got into his time playing football were some of his best lines in some time. Even in the moments where he wasn’t landing bombs, the smaller bars still were great. A big thing too is Twork didn’t do the thing where if the crowd didn’t react how he expected he’d suck his teeth and be thrown off. That was a bad habit of his for a long time and it was great to see that not return to the biggest spotlight of his career.
Mook’s 2nd round is really really good (although I was not a fan of the ending bar of the “no hard feelings”), it was nearly a perfect round. But for me, Twork still was able to pull away and edge it in the 2nd round and get raucous 2-0 chants on Mook in New York. Twork did have to fight for it, but by the time we got to “Dave and Busta’s” and “unlocking an Android”, Twork took hold of the round.
Mook gets the third because he rapped another good round, and shows that he writes uphill and inclines each round of this battle. And seeing how he had the battle wrapped up already, this was a great way to end his performance with a strong ending. Twork’s 3rd is certainly his weakest of the 3rd with a much more choppier round, he was slipping on black ice this round and a strapped-in attempt that fell flat by bringing out Brizz. This move renders ineffectiveness and doesn’t revitalize his momentum. Twork does have one of my favorite bars in the 3rd with the “To go Plate” bar in reference to his car accident, nonetheless, the Round still goes clearly to Mook. But I do have this as a 2-1 edge in what I thought was a dope battle and battle of the night.
In both of his outings in 2023, I had Mook losing, but there is marked improvement from the Bigg K battle to this Twork one. While I still have my reservations about goalpost moving and lowering the hoop that’s done for old-era legends, Mook has shown a willingness to adapt stylistically that a lot of his peers haven’t. It might not be manifesting in wins all the time and maybe the mystique and aura of Mook in this era aren’t appreciated by newer fans as they should be, but he is far past just his mystique, his raps is showing vast improvement for what people in this era critiqued him for, we’re still left with a man who’s listening to the fans and trying to make adjustments and I have nothing but respect for that.
Sunday Night was about Twork and this defining moment of his career though. Nu Jerzey Twork is one of the most talented people to ever come into battle rap. At his best, he’s a 99 overall created player with all attributes capped out. This is why the frustration with the lack of capitalization on that skill existed with a lot of fans. It’s also the reason a lot of fans wanted to hold on and give him chances. No matter your opinion on Twork, whether you wanted him gone or you still believed, you weren’t wrong. But to get to Sunday night and see him take full advantage of the battle rap world revolving around him for the night, made me happy to see. He’s a special talent in every sense of the word and all we ever wanted was to see him reach those heights. Did Homecoming finally shut down all the Twork choking concerns going forward for the rest of the time? No, the past is the past but it still exists. Pretending it doesn’t halt growth. But I leave 2023 being able to say something I wasn’t able to say for Twork’s prior 6 years on URL: that I trust Nu Jerzey Twork.
Who do you have winning the battle between Murda Mook vs Nu Jerzey Twork?— Let’s Talk Battle Rap (@LTBRpodcast) December 11, 2023