Friday, November 16, 2012

Chilla Jones Guest Blog: Is Anyone Worth 100k?

Greetings battle rap world,

               Chilla Jones on the check in here. So recently, I went on a bit of a twitter rant about my feelings on “industry” artists wanting to jump in the URL. I didn’t really go in depth (there’s only so many patience I have with limiting each tweet to 140 characters), but it seemed to add to the mild firestorm amongst the battle rap community in the Twitter world. I was offered the invitation by the homie M. Phoenix to speak a little more on my perspective on things. What your about to read is MY point of view, and does not reflect the point of view of URL, this website, or anyone else except ME. Also, what your about to read is totally opinion, it is not right…but it is not wrong either. Just my feelings. You might find contradictions, or what you consider to be moot points...and well, so be it. Whether you agree or disagree with what I have to say… it’s not that serious…I’m not an esteemed writer or journalist, I didn’t spend months gathering facts in order to support my opinion… I have NO agenda here with this. Not trying to persuade your thought process in anyway, shape or form on this matter, I am just a battler speaking on what I feel…So with that being said…let’s continue.

                Within 90 days of the success of URL’s Summer Madness 2, which had high profile spectators such as P. Diddy (who even put up 10k of his own money to the winner of Aye Verb vs T-Rex), Busta Rhymes, Q Tip, Lloyd Banks, Cassidy, and featured the highly anticipated return of battle rap legends Murda Mook, Iron Solomon, Serius Jones, E. Ness, and of course, Loaded Lux, there’s been a buzz of a few names of people who were considering coming back to the URL for a battle. Specifically, and the name that incited the aforementioned twitter rant, Meek Mill said that for 100k he would step onto a URL stage and go to war with any emcee URL had to offer. This began to get the rumor going about possible matchups, an expected timeframe of when we may see this, and other things amongst the battle rap world. It would be exciting as hell to see...this is true. But for 100k? Hmm...lets discuss.

              Now, lets look at this from a business standpoint: Meek Mill said for 100k he would battle a URL emcee…that’s not a problem because Meek Mill has a HUGE hiphop following, and is one of the brightest, most popular stars in hiphop music today. Period. This is a fact that which can not be argued or taken away from him. And despite his battling ability, the name “Meek Mill” on a URL card will undoubtedly bring more spectators and more “mainstream” attention to the culture. I say all this to say, though it would cost URL 100k alone for 1 artist, he would probably bring that money back to them…and probably more. So from a business standpoint, while the initial investment is heavy, the potential payout is almost certainly worth it for any company willing to compensate him. But how would it affect the morale of the battlers who dedicate time and effort into the craft? How many other artists would we see try to make the transition and would it ultimately be GOOD or BAD for the culture? And would this move be worth everything that comes along with it?             

              Now, lets look at this from another standpoint: Meek Mill said for 100k he would battle a URL emcee…that’s not a problem because Meek Mill has a HUGE hiphop following, and is one of the brightest, most popular stars in hiphop music today. Period. However…this is battle rap. BATTLE RAP. The reason I said that twice is because, though the music industry and battle world are closely aligned, they are NOT 1 in the same. A battle rap emcee can not walk into a label and say “I love the albums I’ve heard from the artists from this label…I mean, I love it so much, I will create an album for your label….for ($x)” and get a check cut. It doesn’t work that way, right? Notice I put ($x), it doesn’t matter what number you put in there, chances are the label will call security to escort you the fuck off the premises. So…how does it work that way in this case? Is it because Meek Mill alone is more popular than the entire battle rap culture? Maybe he is…is it because there is no question he is worth the money he is asking for, and a label would not know what a battle rap artist’s album would be worth? Maybe that’s it… I’m sure there are logical reasons behind why these 2 scenarios aren’t a great comparison. That’s fine with me, I’ve got other more important points to make.

               Another point: Meek Mill put in work to get to where he is in the hiphop music industry/culture. He works hard, makes good music, is marketable, etc. I salute him for that 1000% and I think a lot of us who do music as well would love to be in his shoes but the truth is, he worked hard for all of it. Now, I am a product of something called the URL Proving Grounds, which is a start out point for emcees who either aren’t familiar to the URL fan base, or haven’t battled URL level competition, and for a lucky few will eventually lead into officially being apart of the URL. For me, and a lot of other battles over the past 18 months, it was where we began to put in work in order to prove to URL that we are both talented as battlers, and also worthy of their promotion and marketing dollars. It is the platform to REACH the platform, if you will. Most URL PG emcees hope to be invited to battle more established names on the “main stage” once they have proven to URL they can hold their own. In the best case scenario, A battler will eventually become “top tier”, or amongst the most popular names in battle rap, and be paid top dollar for battles (I’ll touch more on that term “top dollar” in a second). In the minds of most, this is the “star” level of battle rap…when you are elite according to general consensus, when your name sells tickets, and when you are paid “good money” to battle. We all have different motivations for battling…some of us have a passion for it, some of us just want to promote ourselves or our music, some of us are good and see it as an easy check… but regardless of the motivation, most of us are striving to get to “top tier”. There are a lot of people who work hard in THIS culture for the opportunity to reach that platform and to have a pay day like that…and IN MY OPINION, it’s almost insulting that someone who as a battler has never left a mark on battling themselves, nor done much to help advance the culture prior to Summer Madness 2, could cash in on everyone elses work to build up the leagues and the culture as much as all of us have. Shit…compared to a lot of people I haven’t done ANYTHING yet in my career…so I can imagine what other, more established and accomplished battlers MAY feel about this situation. Maybe some of us are just territorial…I’m sure that’s part of it. But shit... if an NBA player was about to get more than 10 times what a platinum artist got to headline Summerjam as a rapper…

              Now, lets discuss “top dollar”. Mind you the figures I’m throwing out here aren’t based on anything factual, as I would never release that information, but will give you an idea of the scale in which 100k really resides. Now, Meek Mill said for 100k he will battle a URL emcee…Do me a favor and name 5 emcees you consider “top tier”. Then name who you think is the GREATEST battle emcee, likely someone who was on the Summer Madness 2 stage just this past August. So you have a minimum of 5 names there, possibly 6, right? Now, if we add up what they ALL got for their very last battle, chances are that number is NOT above 50k. Yes, I mean combined. Again, this is all hearsay, but there are very few scenarios in which I can envision that number being above 50k…and even if it was, it’s not within 30k of 100k. This is almost a certainty. These are people who have represented battle rap on a VERY large scale, have put their reputations on the line time and time again, have basically given a lot of their time and effort to this culture. And we are potentially going to allow someone who likely hasn’t battled in 5+ years to come back and make at LEAST 5x what the “professional battle rappers” make? Also, it should be said that now that the popularity of the artform has grown, there are more sponsors willing to help accommodate some of the battlers monetary requests so it’s very likely that even if anyone received 100k, it wouldn’t all come directly from the league involved. But personally, I’d like to see someone like Tsu Surf, Hitman Holla, Conceited, Charlie Clips, Aye Verb, T Rex, Calicoe, DNA or any other battler widely considered top tier to get a payday like that. Shit…knock a 0 off of that and that probably ain’t bad for most them dudes neither (but I am not speaking for them). People like them are a huge reason URL is as successful as it is, right?

              So, in conclusion, this isn’t a Meek Mill/industry diss blog, I think he makes dope music, and I would love to see him, and others like Joe Budden, Cassidy, Fabolous, and JR Writer give it a go on URL. But…let’s be reasonable; Yes - certain artists will bring their fanbase to the culture…for a battle at least. But lets not overlook the flip side: Any artist who comes back and doesn’t completely suck, will probably become more popular as a result of this too, and will boost the value of THEIR brand, as well as URL’s. If you ask me, (and you didn't...) 100k, in my humble opinion, is just far too much to ask for, especially before proving you can even compete at the level of the best in the world. But, prior to Summer Madness 2, a lot of us thought 25k was a little much for Murda Mook to ask for…and some of us see him, or depending on how you felt about his Summer Madness 2 performance, saw him, as one of the greatest battlers EVER. Some of us thought he'd NEVER get it, and even if he did, that he wasn't deserving. But all this...new found attention, Maybe it’s a sign of the culture growing, eventually reaching it’s peak of appeal to the masses, possibly breaching the world of cable television and turning “top tier” battlers into bonafide household names…Or, Maybe it’s a sign that the battle rap culture is going to walk down the same path some of us criticize the hiphop industry for venturing down, where the money made is more important than the integrity of the artform...Well, I guess we will find out soon enough. But if, and when it happens, salute to Meek & anyone else on the payday…and I hope they are ready for the wreck they will catch standing in front of a top tier URL emcee. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aye Verb Calls Out Loaded Lux

Make it a one-off, no huge crowd just a few niggas in the room, and I'm with it. I can't call a winner on this one.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Did Nas Ghostwrite For Loaded Lux? Or Is This Just The Best Round Ever?

He gives respect to Aye Verb by referencing his classic 3rd round breakdown of Hitman Holla and the relationship between him and his father earlier when he says "If you noticed I mentioned Verb in that other round....Remember in that Holla beef when he checked the child? I'm bettin Cal that Holla the stick man and you wore the wedding gown. All I'm saying is yall married yo in scenarios same death and style" Then it gets ugly as Lux proceeds to school Calicoe. Read slow you might appreciate the realness of it.

I want yall to picture this as I paint the slide
Tombstone grain and scribe "here lies my beloved." Grave this wide.
I mean I had that much love for you. I know that cuz you got that much hate for I.
Don't want you to hang your eye, not for a second lil nigga catch it, brace your vibe.
Be froze, for death is cold. I wanna search your soul
And hold on to whatever holds it exposing the pain you hide
Bring me mine nigga, ah.
Now I don't wanna break this bond,
I just wanna break the cycle.
Thank your moms I liked you for nights he didn't write you
She stayed alive so your days could shine.
I might do one better, with a letter to tell her I appreciate her kind.
How strong a queen she is, and any man would be lucky for her to be made his bride
But see I take in mind your situation. And though I never met your father I see a lot of his ways in your stride
I mean you got that "talk it how I walk it" kind of attitude, you know its real good that he gave you pride
Every son should be proud of his father, and I look at my little one and I want the same for mine
That's why when I look up at you, I see what he can go through when a father don't take the time
I think its fucked up when them people gave him all that time
You wanna know what's even more fucked up?
For all them years he got away from you, has only been a way for you
To be more together would have been a cage in five *
That's why I'm angry guy
Cuz he didn't take the steps now you chase his rep but them running shoes aint your size
They say don't whine over spilled milk
But what a man supposed to do when his baby's crying?
Oh he say shit like "you know it cost to be the boss" what he too good for a paying job?
What was wrong with being a cable guy? A real estate agent, why?
Was that nigga too cool to go to flight school and learn how to fly planes through the friendly skies?
But nah, he told you he had to do what he had to do to put food on yall plate to dine.
You mean to tell me all that slanging and banging was to give yall greater lives when God gave him drive?
And that Big Meech back up singing ass nigga left your moms out here alone for the latest ride?
That don't plague your mind?
Them mistakes aint guides?
And you wonder why them Shotgun Suge shells still ate your spine?
"Look what Ray Ray got Lil Jimmy out here in New York doing!"
Tell your OG Bobby Johnson you tried to steal the wrong radio this time.
Something to think about next time you on stage waving signs,
Trying to be like the only daddy you got, I understand you wanna keep his name alive.
But youngin' I'm tryin to save you from your demise
You said it yourself  "my pops was a real. NIGGER" youngin that aint no lie.
He was in the business that the system perpetuates from the side
To keep us in the condition where we aint made to survive
But you think he a God
Well let me ask you this, would you kill at will* to save yourself nigga?
Yeah I aint think that was wise.

If you can't see the skill displayed in that (which isn't even the whole verse) I feel sorry for you. You don't know rap. Battle rap, rap songs, you just don't know rap period. This wasn't just a bunch of rambling, this was metaphors and real rap. From a nigga with metaphors that can really rap. Get it?

- Nix

* = possible misquote. but you get it

SMACK/URL Presents - Loaded Lux vs Calicoe




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Open Letter To The Midwest

Dear Midwest battle MC's

Let me preface this letter by saying I've been a huge supporter and fan of all of you. Detroit, Chicago and especially St. Louis, have given battle rap a steroid shot that it desperately needed to grow stronger. Truthfully, with all due respect to URL and every MC that's put in work, battle rap wouldn't be where it is this very day if it wasn't for Aye Verb. So you all deserve a round of applause for your contributions to the current culture.

With that being said, let me kindly ask you all to slow your fuckin roles and get off your own jocks.

Firstly, in regards to Summer Madness, are yall gonna make it a tradition to get on twitter bitchin every year the monday after? Good fuckin lord what is with yall crying about being booed and us in NY being biased? Do you even know what bias means or do you just like throwing it around because it sounds good when you lose? Lets break it down real quick maybe I'm crazy or something. Bias:




Read that. Digest the definition. Now look at the names of every rapper who has been booed at a URL event in Webster Hall since the first Summer Madness.

Tech 9
DNA
Bill Collector
John John Da Don
K-Shine
Math Hoffa
Charlie Clips
Loaded Lux
Iron Solomon
E. Ness
Serius Jones
 Aye Verb
Hitman Holla
Midwest Miles
Calicoe
QP
Young Kannon

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see 11 battle rappers from the east coast, and 6 from the midwest. If New York is supposedly biased against you as you claim, why are more New York and east coast rappers getting booed off the fuck off stage?

Next, scrolling through twitter yesterday I see you guys decided to start a union against URL because you feel you don't get paid enough or certain rappers got paid more. You all want 10k per performance. I hate to break it to you but none of you are individually worth 10k. Especially Big T, X-Factor, and Hitman Holla. Mook, Iron and Lux got paid whatever they were paid for a reason. Their names sold those tickets. You still got paid, including flights and hotel rooms, to rap for 9 to 15 minutes. What are yall complaining about?

It's just sickening to see this much whining in battle rap these days. Yall need to get it together. If yall wanna say fuck URL and never battle there again go right ahead. Organik aint giving you more than 1K so good luck. JC, B. Magic, John John and Chilla Jones would take your spots on the main stage in a heart beat.

Easy,

- M. PHOENIXXX
@MPHX3

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Respect: Amzilla Uses Tall T's Death As A Punchline


Amzilla vs Luciano Crakk by otbva I should start saving my tweets. I called this early. For those that dont know, Stockton California battle rapper Tall T was murdered last month, shot at point blank range while with his girlfriend in a park. It made the news and sent shockwaves through the battle world amongst fans and artists alike. The show off support to his crew the SONS and his family was tremendous. But the battle scene being as ruthless (and sometimes really ignorant) as it is, I knew it wouldnt take long for someone to make light of his death and use it in a battle. Team HOMI member Amzilla battles Luciano Crakk, a member of the SONS crew and went for the lowest blow possible at the end of his third round. (13:25 mark in the vid)

"For the bills I don't play right, it's like I'm cheating motherfucker. I'll shoot this nigga in borad day light, Tall T this motherfucker!"

When Shotgun Suge dissed Proof in his battle with Calicoe he set the precedent. Yeah this is entertainment but aint nothing funny about disrespecting the dead for the sake of a hot line. ever. This type of shit is pathetic. I don't ever wanna hear Amzilla rap again. He's really corny for this. The Rest In Peace shout out doesnt negate the sucker shit buddy.