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In Building Rating

Staff Writers: France | Justin Smolenski | Q Moody

Staff In The Building: Justin Smolenkski

LTBR Award Recipients

Battle of the Night: #1  Loaded Lux vs Rum Nitty | #2 Tay Roc vs Jerry Wess | #3 Jaz The Rapper vs Coffee

Best Individual Performances of the night:
 #1A Loaded Lux | #1B Rum Nitty | #2 Tay Roc | #3 Fonz  | #4 Jerry Wess | #T5 Jaz/Coffee 

URL hosted its 14th edition of Night Of Main Events (NOME), which proved to be an extraordinary success. One of the best URL events in recent memory, with electrifying battles, stellar performances and a main event delivered for the ages, NOME 14 showcased the pinnacle of battle rap talent. A big salute is due to Jay Blac, DNA, and Nunu for their exceptional commentary, providing analysis, and keeping viewers entertained throughout the event. Credit goes to JB and the production team for their meticulous planning and execution, ensuring a seamless and high-quality production that elevated the entire experience for fans and participants alike. All of the staff at URL are responsible for their successful curation, like KD and many more. Their dedication and hard work were evident, contributing significantly to the event’s success. This is easily one of the best NOME’s since NOME 9, and when it’s all said and done, it might be worth the discussion where it ranks all the time.

Let’s break down all the battles.

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.   ☆☆☆☆☆

Franchise vs Swervoo

1.75☆ Rating Recapped by France

The evening’s surprise battle on NOME over the last few years has been a spot generally used for newer names, rising talents, or high-ceiling prospects to make their debut. And this year’s surprise featured two rising talents in Swervoo vs Franchise. Of course, Franchise has a wealth of experience, but he continues to climb the ranks and establish his name further. At the same time, Swervoo is one of the league’s most intriguing pieces regarding their newer talent hailing from the DMV with a high upside and a positive trajectory so far. Both MCs have previously appeared on an Impact version of a premier URL card; Swervoo was on NOME Impact the prior year, while Franchise participated in Summer Impact (Reloaded) years ago. The battle began steadily, with both battlers delivering solid first rounds, setting the tone for the room, and checking the temperature. The room wasn’t fully engaged or emerged yet, but it was on the MCs to bring them forward.

Swervoo gained significant momentum in the second round and connected well with the room; he landed two big haymakers and was getting in a groove. However, he lost his rhythm and choked to end his 2nd round, which significantly impacted the atmosphere and sucked the wind out of the room. Franchise secured the win by delivering a solid response and taking control of the battle. Swervoo’s inexperience became evident as he struggled to recover in the third round, picking up where he left off in his faltered second round. His confidence visibly dwindled, and his conviction was absent, resulting in a discouraging performance for one of the more intriguing rising talents on the URL roster.

This battle raised questions about Swervoo’s readiness for the spotlight. Despite this being his second NOME appearance, he failed to leave a significant mark in either performance, and he showed a flash in his 2nd round that ultimately came and then went. It may be time for Swervoo to return to the drawing board and regroup; the NOME stage is prestigious, and it’s challenging to make it there; many rappers have careers in the league and never see NOME once. over 600 rappers have been on URL, and only 74 battlers have ever made it to NOME. So, after two consecutive trips that led to an opposite result of what you would project for him, you can expect him to start working his way back up in the league to get these prime-time looks. Im still a firm believer in his talents, but as someone who had a lot of stock in Swervoo, the only word that comes to mind is disappointing. 

As for Franchise, while this wasn’t his most stellar showing, he has consistently delivered solid performances and secured wins, indicating a return to peak form. This consistency is a positive sign for his future. He is getting back in complete rhythm with the heights he’s once touched, and securing a clear win on his NOME debut is a great sentence to add to your run. 

T-Top vs Danny Myers

1.75 ☆ Rating Recapped by France

A style clash of a bar heavy battler versus a strategic Angler: When you analyze all of the qualities both of these battles bring to the stage, you would anticipate this chess match to be intriguing, entertaining, Relentless, and lyrical. You would expect it to be all things except underwhelming, yet that’s precisely what it was.

Despite being known for their relentless and lyrical prowess, entertaining performances, and witty freestyles/rebuttals, the battle between Danny Myers and T-Top fell completely short of expectations, proving substandard rather than exhilarating. Following a lackluster performance from the previous battle of Franchise/Swervoo, Danny & Top were unable to captivate the audience and reignite the room’s energy. While there were moments of good material and flashes of connection from both contenders, overall, the battle failed to meet the high standard typically associated with their names. Many angles and bars seemed ineffective in not only grabbing the room but also didn’t seem to effectively attack the opponent, leaving me wanting more impactful material. Both of them had some lines regarding Danny’s alleged relationship with E-Hart, to make manners worse, Danny rebuttals the angles in a way that just makes you put your palm over your face. E-hart making a feature appearance in both of their rounds and she honestly might’ve left as the biggest talking point of their battle 

The disappointment in the battle’s production was palpable, especially considering the reputation of both Danny Myers and T-Top for delivering top-notch performances. Despite their usual ability to provide value for your dollar, this particular battle failed to live up to expectations. It appeared that their styles didn’t complement each other well, resulting in an unsatisfying  collaborative effort. Despite their strengths in rhyming and delivery, the battle didn’t have the powerful haymakers and compelling moments that fans have come to anticipate from these seasoned vets

In the end, if forced to declare a winner, T-Top may edge ahead slightly, but it’s clear that the true victor is not the viewer.

Jaz The Rapper vs Coffee

3.75 ☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

One of the most anticipated fights of the night, Coffee and Jaz, like most battles on the card, lived up to the hype. Starting on Jaz, she came out with the patent punch-heavy 1st. She used all 2023, even though a good round didn’t land like some of those powerhouse 1st rounds of that year, leaving the door open for Coffee. Coffee took this opportunity to have her best round of the battle, albeit with a lack of reaction, bombing Jaz back to back and really out, barring her from starting out the battle. Mixing in aggression and an improved rapping ability in spots, Coffee was up a decisive 1-0 to start the fight. 

Although this was a heavyweight fight, it is no surprise Jaz responded with her best round of the battle, getting into her angling bag, which, while her biggest superpower as a battler, has felt like an afterthought in some of her recent showings. Breaking down Coffee’s character, career, and action, she must put together a signature masterclass Jaz breakdown round and set an even higher bar for Coffee to respond to after her special 1st. Coffee 2nd was also angle-heavy, taking a few different personal approaches at Jaz for her sex life, dropping all types of allegations and punches within that to attack Jaz as tailored as possible. While a solid round, albeit hard to sell to a lot of fans, Jaz 2nd was just too efficient anyway and gave it a clear 1-1 result heading into the final round.

Like a few other battles on the card, the 3rd is where both have their weakest round. Jaz mixes some more punches and angles, addressing the 2023 WOTY rankings at the end of her round in a somewhat sloppy fashion. The door was honestly open for Coffee to clear the round, but she had an okay round with flaws of its own (repeat angles, a bad “operation” bar). However, while truly 50/50 and as fair of a case for Jaz 2-1 as Coffee 2-1, I thought Coffee did land just a couple extra jabs and won the round by a razor’s edge. I had coffee 2-1, in maybe the most debatable battle of the night, and a battle that did justice to the rank of both ladies in their Battle Rap status today. 

Swamp vs Ms. Hustle

3.25 ☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

Recapped by Justin Smolenski 

A battle that exceeded many fans’ expectations, Hustle and Swamp had a very bar-based and solid battle, both giving the effort we were accustomed to seeing from them in 2024. Hustle brought her performance and punch-heavy style, with a flurry of Paige/Page and Swamp flips that landed consistently up until her 3rd. Swamps’ truly uncategorizable style was in full effect, landing everything from jokes to witty lines that sneak up on you with a much-improved pen this past few performances. His Black Sheep/So My Family Could Eat Lamb Chop’s haymaker to end the 1st was cold, and his 3rd was his best round and the clearest of the battle. 

The debate lies within the 1st two rounds. While there are arguments from both fan bases as to why either side won clearly, it was just a juxtaposition of styles and highly contested till the final round, with fair cases for Hustle 2-1, Swamp 2-1, or even Swamp with a gentlemen’s. Regarding my call for the battle, I edged Hustle the 1st for landing some more consistently and having multiple haymaker peaks of the round, a couple more than Swamp even. The 2nd round inversely edged Swamp, who landed with more power and seemed to even match Hustle a bit in performance in the round. And with a clear 3rd, that leaves me with Swamp 2-1, 2nd edge, and 3rd clear in another good battle on the night, a very debatable battle too despite what you may see online. 

Geechi Gotti vs Fonz

3.5 ☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

Recapped by Justin Smolenski 

One of the many close-a-good battles of the night, Fonz vs. Geechi, was another top-tier test for Fonz as he continues to cement his spot as one of the best in the world currently, while Geechi makes his regularly scheduled super card appearance. 1st round of the battle set a good tone for both sides, Fonz punching effectively through his 1st while Geechi matched with a solid, albeit a bit reserved, round with a few stumbles in it. Gotti had the more all-around game, angling Fonz a bit more and mixing in some comedy and real talk, but Fonz 1st simply felt like not a way better, but just a better round. 

Then, 2nd is the peak of the battle and, quite frankly, one of the peaks of the entire night. Fonz gives one of the best rounds of his career in a moment where he could close the battle early, his Professor X flip being a personal favorite bar of mine from the battle. Geechi 2nd was also his best round, landing some heavy rebuttals early and using that momentum to carry on another all-around-based round contrasting to Fonz’s punching. While I loved both rounds, this still felt like Fonz had just reached a higher high in one of the best rounds of the night, giving him a 2-0 lead through a magnificent battle from both. The 3rd is the closest, both showing what was their weakest (but not bad) rounds of the fight. Fonz angled punched a bit more but had a much shorter round, while Geechi had some real talk and punches of his own but with a few more stumbles. Debatable, but they ultimately edged Gotti in the 3rd, bringing the final call to Fonz 2-1 in the 1st and 2nd. It is a statement battle for Fonz vs a good Geechi Gotti, as he further proves why he is a top-tier battler. 

Tay Roc vs Jerry Wess

3.75 ☆ Rating Recapped by Justin Smolenski

Recapped by Justin Smolenski 

Similar to Fonz vs. Geechi Gotti, Jerry is a battler many consider on the border of that perennial top-tier level as well, and Roc, like Geechi, is one of the absolute greatest the sport has ever seen. This battle was all about if Jerry would seize the moment, and in the 1st, he did just that. Roc had a solid but beatable round, and Jerry proceeded to bomb from the beginning to the end of his 1st. Although theatrics and performance are the box many have put Jerry in and refused to let him out of it, the man has been an elite puncher for nearly two years now, and this 1st is just a continuation of a level he’s already sustained for some time. 1-0 dominant lead after the 1st for Wess.

As we all know, though, Roc is the master of responding back. He gave a classic Roc 2nd that not only landed all throughout but also used a sound effect of his own using The Rocks theme song. It was one of, if not the biggest, physical room shakers of the night. Jerry 2nd was very good in response, too, not letting up, but with it being just a bit worse than his 1st, it couldn’t measure up. It was clear 1-1 heading into the 3rd.

The championship round is what it comes down to, and it truly is debatable, with both having their weakest rounds of the battle. Roc still punched well and had slightly higher peaks, while Jerry was more slept on by the crowd but still had excellent material that people may have been able to catch more on camera. He had a plethora of jabs and probably enough to beat Roc in the punch count, but to be the champ, you have to beat the champ, and it felt like Roc narrowly took this battle, but in true professional fashion, Roc wins 3rd by just exuding more energy and sustaining the momentum it takes to seal the deal. In another dog fight, Roc 2-1, 2nd clear and 3rd edge. Jerry keeps impressing, and there is an argument some will make that he got the 1st clear and edged that 3rd. As for Tay Roc, it’s been undeniable all year long. He’s a leading front-runner for having the best year in 2024 and one of the best years of his illustrious career. He’s in a prime position with a lot of distance and cushion to be the front runner for COTY, and while others are having a good year as well, as right now, it’s a one-man race. 

Loaded Lux vs Rum Nitty

5 ☆ Rating Recapped by Q Moody

We don’t always have the main events and “dream battles” live up to the lofty expectations we place upon them. It’s hard for things to be as special as people hope them to be, to live up to the bright lights, stage, and attention.

Loaded Lux vs Rum Nitty was not one of those battles that had a problem being what everyone wanted it to be. It matched every expectation and possibly even surpassed them.

This battle feels like an instant classic and, on the night of, felt like something that was clearly special. From Rum’s monster 1st round, Lux was able to take control of the room in the 2nd, and all the smaller details in between. But when you have guys like Nitty and Lux, who are also so impressive with multiple watches, this battle will only get better with time and will already stand out more and more.

Lux’s first isn’t as explosive as his two later rounds would be, but it’s still full of excellent writing and slick wordplay that, from the start, made this the most I had enjoyed Lux in a long time. Besides revisiting some of the Wal-Mart topics, Lux wasn’t very angle-heavy in his first either, which was a welcome sight for me. I didn’t want either guy to come into this overthinking it.

While Lux’s first feels like more of a slow walk approach, Nitty dropped an absolute bomb of a first-round on Lux. Even for the sky-high standards we hold Nitty to, this round was stellar. Watching it on Saturday, I felt like Nitty’s first went on a tad longer than it needed to and that he was getting close to over-rapping. But watching it more since then, I think every bar here is either great or phenomenal all the way down to the end. It also felt clear immediately how well-rested and focused Nitty was. Absence does make the hard grow fonder in a lot of ways, and with only seeing Nitty once so far this year up until this battle, there was a renewed excitement and energy. 

This segment of his round was my favorite from Rum:

I saw killings

Pops gone, I got dead homies, I wish I could see my moms livin’

I’m God fearin’

Sometimes I talk to myself like, “Look at you emotional”, cause I done really lost niggas

And all that I got left is to stare at they photo on the wall, the large picture

Let me talk witchu

They gave me one rule

“All that punchin’ ain’t gon’ cut it. You gon’ have to body Loaded with substance”, like a drug mule

I got a ton, fool

Get murdered urgent, I’m sure you heard it

I said, “Body Loaded like a drug mule”

Cause you about to Get This Work in person”

With how potent Nitty’s round was and how relatively unimpactful Lux’s was, Lux needed to respond with bombs, or that deficit could have become too much to overcome. And Lux did just that. Early on, with “You can’t talk down to real kings ’bout crowns wit’ false teeth”, Lux had my attention, and he only got better from there. When Lux is in the zone, his word association and wordplay are nearly unmatched. There’s some angling here. Lux touches on Nitty’s different crews and his status in battle rap, but this battle, maybe more than any of Lux’s work in the modern era, felt the most like him focusing on flexing his rapping ability the way he did in things like his infamous Hot 97. It’s not 2003 anymore; “grey hoodie” Lux might not be a thing again. But this round felt like the closest thing to it that we might ever get. Just look at how long he stays on this long E ending rhyme:

And you just keep gettin’ away with this shit

It’s pure robbery

You wacker than a hit from a mob beat, this shit is ungodly

How can you put all that conviction into that fiction, like that man?

It’s beyond me

It just don’t hold my soul, it don’t pump wit’ the heartbeat

You can’t talk down to real kings ’bout crowns wit’ false teeth

Man brace (embrace) yaself, that don’t make the cut

They think you sharp, me?

What I’m ‘posed to draw from a nigga straight lyin’ (line)

That’s not a Harvey?

At best that’s an erasable Sharpie

This a one on one you bring ya whole Family to the Feud

Son, Think Like A Man if you gon’ be on top shinin’, that’s Steve with the baldy

But this how you come across


“Drive-by, never-ending cycle

Ghostrider on the Harley

The stick out, ketchup stains at an all white party”

And this is all before he even really lands any bombs. Lux is incredible in this round, in my opinion, it’s the best rapping he’s done since the Hollow da Don battle. And yeah that’s a limited sample size, but he’s that special here. The music scheme, “fuck it lets get abducted”, more staying on the same rhyme for several bars at a time, even throwing some internal rhymes. It’s masterful work from him. And I’ll eat crow and admit that I wasn’t too sure about Lux coming into this battle. The Geechi battle was the biggest red flag, but I didn’t love his material against Surf. I wasn’t sure about the motivation level for Nitty, especially seeing Lux showing much more interest in a Hitman Holla battle. But he answered all of my doubts and showed why he’s the legend that he is.

Because of the highlight Lux’s round is, it might get glossed over but Rum’s second round isn’t all that far off from his first. His moments playing off some of Lux’s famous bars like the “this for my niggas…” or the scheme with the palindromes referencing Lux’s “evil to live backward,” Nitty didn’t take a step down or gas out in the first, we just saw Lux reach the vintage form. To Nitty’s credit, too, his crazy punches aren’t “just” gun bars either; you can tell there was a concerted effort from Nitty to find the balance between staying true to what brought him to the dance but knowing he had to make slight adjustments not to allow his pen to be overshadowed.

The third, I felt like, was the biggest toss-up of the battle. Lux was still great but not as dominant as his second round felt. Still, though, the momentum from the second clearly carried over to the third. Rum’s third feels shorter and maybe a little rushed compared to his other two rounds, but I still liked the content, and his Paid in Full/Surf RICO bar was my favorite bar from either guy in this round. Ultimately I think Lux did enough in snatching the battle away to come out of it feeling like he got the upper hand, but it’s a battle that’s so great it’s beyond a winner and a loser.

A perfect cap to a successful night of battles and something where we got the best possible outcome. This battle is probably still great on a big stage, but opting for a more intimate environment was the perfect call for this battle. Getting to just focus on these two all-time-level writers flexing their skills in what could wind up being the biggest battle of the year is what a lot of us want from battles sometimes. The big stage is great. It shows who the real stars are, it gives us timeless moments, and the energy of a packed venue can be infectious. But sometimes the small room is the right place to be. 

Mook’s performance against Tay Roc, Rex’s performance against Chess, Reed’s performance against Nitty and now Lux’s performance against Nitty. As much as they’ve adjusted to newer times, our older legends do feel like they’re more at home in settings like these. Yeah, I know, with their names and the attention they command, you want to book them in bigger venues to capitalize on the drawing power and make money back, but in terms of being conducive to battle quality, maybe the answer is right in front of us.

Having phenomenal showings back to back from Lux and Mook shows that as much shit that others or myself might give them when they’re not great, they’re competitors and still can learn and adjust. They’re our legends for a reason. They transcended the medium and became logos of the sport. And sometimes, that means they get leeway in ways that frustrate me. But other times, we watch them electrify a room in ways few can achieve. I don’t know what’s next for Lux. There seems to be more steam behind Hitman Holla vs Murda Mook right now (and if I’m honest, I do prefer Hitman vs Mook), so I’m left wondering what I’d like to see Lux do next, but after seeing him turn in this level of performance, the main thing just has him back in general.

Lux is admittedly Rum’s end-game battle. He’s not shy in mentioning or highlighting the influence Lux had on him as a battle rapper. For someone who has been a headliner for NOME several times, this still felt like the biggest battle of Nitty’s career. And he didn’t falter under the lights one bit. He stepped up to the plate in ways that an all-time great should and proved to anyone who, for some reason, had any doubt that he truly is one of the best to ever do this. So many years were spent on the things Nitty didn’t have on his resume and why it kept him from a certain echelon. But after NOME 14, there should be no questions anymore about where Rum Nitty belongs.

Ultimately, the battle will be debated till the end of time, which is all the markings of a classic. If I had to choose a winner……

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