Friday, September 30, 2011

Aye Verb Interview



Aye Verb is the most enigmatic figure to grace the battle scene. Ever. Since his online debut in a street battle in Harlem against SB in 2009 he's kept his name on the tip of everyone's tongue. Whether through battles, blogs or twitter Verb is always the center of controversy. Fresh off his battle at URL's Summer Madness against Charlie Clips, people anxiously await to see of he really got killed like most reports from that night say or if Verb's side is the real truth: booed before he even started rapping. I caught up with Verb and spoke to him about his history on the battle scene, his new record deal, and why he's the most hated man in battle rap.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Queen Of The Ring Presents: E-Hart Trailer



Here's a quick montage of all of E-Hart's battles on Queen Of The Ring and URL. I fux with Hart she got #BARZ

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Emanny Feat. Joe Budden - I Messed Up

Nice smooth joint from Bronx singer Emanny. Him and Budden got a lot of classic records together. Here's another one to throw on the playlist.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Queen Of The Ring Presents: Tori Doe vs Ash Cash



From QOTR's most recent event.also peep the trailer for their next event First 48 going down next month. shout out to Debo!

King Of The Dot Presents: Rone vs Nils m/ Skils



Another heater from KOTD's World Domination 2 event. sheesshhh!

Is Hitman Holla Scared of Tech 9?


We're now halfway through the Summer Madness battles, the latest release being Tech 9 vs. Midwest Miles. Already we've seen K-Shine vs Tsu Surf, Hitman Holla vs Hollow Da Don and DNA vs X-Factor. The debates on twitter, blogs and message boards continue to heat up as we got closer to the release of the final and most anticipated battle from that night: Aye Verb vs Charlie Clips. Yesterday's debate though had niggas ready to fight each other: Hitman Holla vs Tech 9. Lets get right into the break down.


Hitman Holla, last year's battle rap MVP is fresh off his worst performance against Hollow Da Don. Lyrically he disappointed most. General consensus according to the masses is he won the first round but lost the second and third. He's blamed the crowd, the microphones, the time of the battle, Hollow's t-shirts, the ring card girls, Tsu Surf, the camera men and Smack for the outcome of the battle. I think he might have even blamed Jack Thriller's glass eye at some point. Nevertheless, his image (and lyrics) has hit a major low and he's hoping to turn that around in October in a one round battle with Goodz in St. Louis.

Tech 9 wasn't on anyone's radar last year. Though he's had a following for years, the Philadelphia spitter was not a major threat in URL. Every battle was classic, full of hilarious quotables but some were debatable. Until he body bagged and toe tagged Rich Dolarz. After that he skyrocketed to the top and became a fan favorite. People questioned whether his hype was unwarranted and his bars just full of jokes then Midwest Miles got body bagged at Summer Madness. Now Aye Verb compares him to Jay Z and Murda Mook says he's unbeatable.


Hitman's resume includes Yung Ill, Rich Dolarz, Big T, Cortez, Arsonal, and Hollow over a 2-3 year career. Tech 9 has Arsonal, Goodz, Head Ice, Rich Dolarz, T-Rex, Midwest Miles, and X-Factor (Not including the countless people he's faced on the underground scene in Pennsylvania, putting in work since High School) over a career that spans possibly almost a decade. To be frank, Tech is a legend and Hitman is still earning his stripes. They're not even in the same lane. So why does Hitman feel threatened by him all of a sudden?

Probably because deep down in his heart he knows he can't rock a crowd the way Tech does. Tech is far from being the most lyrical battle rapper but in every other category he's a beast. Say what you want about how the battle with Miles looks on camera but unless you were there that night you can't completely fathom what it feels like to have a room around you shaking from screams and boos of 2000+ people. Miles looked like he wanted to fight the whole front row. Tech got the biggest reception. Hitman got boos and blank stares. Is it worth it for him to try to go up against the Jay Z of battle rap?

Who knows. He's still ducking Tsu Surf.

**NEW MUSIC** Math Hoffa - Always Love Hip Hop

New joint from Brooklyn' s Math Hoffa, produced by J. Glaze. Off his newest mixtape Pac Juice coming soon. oh shit!

Mickey Factz Guest Blog - X-Factor = Underrated


Long weekend. Blame it on the alcohol. Back to our regularly scheduled programing *passes the mic to Mickey*

Most battle rappers have a specific set style to them. Then they gradually grow into a force to be reckoned as time progresses. Natural evolution is probably the best way to describe it. All artists, not just battle rappers, go through this metamorphosis. But none in the world of head to head, Emcee competition in my opinion has elevated more than X-Factor.

Friday, September 23, 2011

M. Ciddy Interview



M. Ciddy is one of the rising stars being brought to us from the Proving Grounds, a division of URL for battle rappers to prove themselves worthy of taking on the big stage. I must say, going into this interview, I was scared! M. Ciddy is nothing like I expected him to be. His sense of humor cracked me up, but his realness reminded me that he just might be about what he be talking about. This interview really gives battle rap fans the opportunity to see another side of him, not just the stern, quiet-but-deadly side of him. I really had a good time doing it. With that being said, knock yourselves out....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

King Of The Dot Presents Illmaculate vs Bender

The One We've Been Waiting All Year For Is Finally Going DOWN



Can't lie I been slacking with the battles cuz to be honest I'd rather debate with yall and post our opinions on what's going on in the scene, and bring yall the exclusive interviews than post actual battles. BUT....I do watch everything so it's only right I share.

King Of The Dot is the number one battle league in Canada, going on their 3 year anniversary soon and they've had some classic shit. Their most recent event, World Domination 2, has been as entertaining as URL's Summer Madness. Arguably even better.

If you haven't been up on it you better start now, pay attention to what their doing and how their doing it. The production quality of their videos and the way the stage is set up is crazy. Shout out to Avocado, Organik and everybody else that's down with their staff. I'll definitely make my way out their next year. Also shout out to Urbanology Mag and all the producers who were apart of Battle Of The Beatmakers 2011.

Illmaculate Vs Bender


Also worth checking out:
Pat Stay Vs Marvwon



Dizaster Vs SMP

NEW MUSIC: Grafh - The Rule EP




In non-battle rap news, in case you've been under a rock, meet Grafh. One of the best lyricists to come out of New York and one of the few NY rappers I still fux with. Grafh been through hell and back in the music business for some years, starting out buzzing on DJ Kay Slay mixtapes in the early 2000's, signing to Sony, Rocafella, Koch, then finally parting ways with his longtime manager Chaz and Blackhand entertainment this year. Long story short, he's still here and this is his new EP The Rule.

Streaming for free for a limited time. If you feeling this, skip that McDonald's meal and spend that 8 bucks to support my man on iTunes. Or directly through his site for 12. Real Rap at it's finest. This nigga's an inspiration and a testament to how passion, hard work, perseverance and dedication to your craft will make your dreams come true. Don't sleep.

1. Welcome to the Party
2. Hallucinating
3. Stoned
4. Conquer (Interlude)
5. It’s All the Same
6. Work It Out
7. Don’t Stop ft. Bun B
8. You Know Me
9. Let It Go

Grafh Feat. Joe Budden & Shalone - It's Just Music

SMACK/URL Presents: URL History, Past, Present & Future Mini Doc



During Smack/ URL's Summer Madness event prior to the Battles beginning we released a mini doc talking about the Smack/ URL brand and how the MC Battle culture is progressing. Fans who attended the event have been requesting for us to release the clip; so without further ado here it is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mickey Factz Guest Blog - The Genius That Is Aye Verb


Most super-villains have dreams of taking over the world. Others have goals of becoming the richest person ever. And then there are those that take pride and joy in the fun of tormenting and torturing people. Correct me if I'm wrong but in The Dark Knight, Alfred had said something profound to Bruce Wayne. "Some men don't kill or plot for money or power. Some men do it for fun." (Not verbatim but u get where I'm going.)

Aye Verb, no matter how you may rank him on your list, is the face of St Louis battle rap. He is the catalyst. The leader. The Hero & The Villian. One of the more colorful battlers in the internet age of back & forth competition, Aye Verb is the guy to hate. Cunning, Intelligent and Wit. These 3 characteristics are what reality television producers drool over. It keeps people entertained. And that's what Verb does well. He may not be the best battler but he's quite possibly the best entertainer in this realm. (Some may argue Tech-9)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mz Gracie Interview Part 3

Continued from Part 2 Read Part 1 here.

Another battle I was disappointed in too was the Hitman and Hollow battle. Looking back on that I think that was just a battle thrown together because the fans wanted to see it. But I think overall that wasn't a good match-up. That was a battle that should have been a classic battle. But it wasn't. I was disappointed in that. I was real disappointed.

I think that battle wasn't as good as it could have been because they didn't really have much material for each other. They're real cool with each other. There was no tension there, no build up before the battle.

Yeah they wasn't trying to kill each other that's what I'm saying. That was just a battle that the fans wanted to see 'cause niggas felt like those were the hottest niggas at the time. So they just threw that together but I don't think that was a good match-up

What do you think of the comparisons between URL and Grindtime?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mz Gracie Interview Part 2 - "Miles, Math & Verb Got Fuckin Killed"


 Continued from Part 1

I can't think of one right now, I think 'cause I'm being asked the question. Who don't I like yall? I don't know who I don't like! Who I don't like Pooh?

Pooh: Man I don't know, I don't know who the fuck she don't like man. Shit I don't know who you don't like, who you fuck with. I think you fuck with everybody! Everybody one hundred, shit I guess!

You know what I don't have no particular person that I don't like as a person right now but I got a couple niggas that I wouldn't say I don't like them as a battler I just think they need to change shit up. But it's nobody I can think of right now. But if I do think of somebody I'ma let you know and you can re-edit this on the blog!

What's your relationship with the URL?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mz Gracie Interview

 


One of the most outspoken people I've ever known, Gracie is as real as they come. Born and raised in Chicago Illinois, Mz. Gracie, sister to battle rap vet Big Kannon, has had a hand in the making of some classic battles over the past few years. She's one of the biggest fans and critics of the culture and people all over respect her opinion. That's not easy for a woman in hip hop but she's a rare breed which is why people love her. But her visibility on the scene has also made her a target for rappers, having been dissed in at least 5 battles.

I couldn't wait to interview her. Little did I know that when she called me, Pooh Bear, another battle rap veteran from Chicago, would be on the line as well. Classic is the best way to describe this.

Body Bag Season Begins

1000 Words
Shit just got real tho.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Official, Your Favorite Battle Rapper Can't Actually Rap

Smack should start teaching lessons in Microphone Etiquette
                                 

So I got this interview I did with someone from the battle world many people know and love dropping tomorrow, and from our conversation a sad bit of info was revealed. As most people know now, at Ultimate Rap League's Summer Madness event on August 7th the rappers had to use traditional handheld microphones as opposed to URL's usual set up of body mics. This was done to make sure all the people in attendance could hear the rappers clearly. The body mics weren't working well enough. But what we didn't know is that some of these rappity rappin ass niggas were so upset about having to hold microphones that they threatened not to even battle. The fuck? Really?

I've seen plenty of them complain (and complain, and complain again) about the situation on twitter since the aftermath but I didn't think it was that serious. For niggas who label themselves rappers/MC's/lyricists/artists/performers to get offended by the notion of having to hold a microphone for a few minutes is blasphemous to me. Hip Hop was built on the foundation of (2 turntables and) a microphone. Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this?

Look I get it, SMACK/URL always uses wired microphones and attach it to dudes like they're CI's. I get it, certain guys are heavy on body language and hand gestures that require both hands to be free. But you mean to tell me you niggas was scared? You rap for a living (or hobby for some of you nine-to-five'ers) and you were fuckin scared to rock a mic? You should just hang it up now. Stop battling. Stop rapping all together. Because if you can't hold a mic for 9 minutes you can't do a 45 minute or hour long show performing your own songs and making real money. You aint built for this.

Will names be said in this interview? Oh most definitely. It might shock some of you. As stated I've seen specific battle rappers complain on twitter about the mic situation but I'd like to see them really openly speak on it. Tell us how they really feel before I drop this. Because I think it's pretty sad that people who are paid money to rap don't know how to use a microphone.

See yall @ 10AM

- M. PHOENIXXX

P.S. I heard DNA was the first one to step up and say "fuck it I'm grabbing a mic" when sound check revealed all this. Props to him. D and X-Factor performed flawlessly.



 
Slaughterhouse - Microphone

Mickey Factz Guest Blog - How Great IS Loaded Lux? Really...



Still editing some interviews my bad, I got yall tomorrow. BUT....this one is a goodie... *Passes the mic to Mickey*

Another guest blog from Mickey Factz. Todays topic is above and to some it may possibly be blasphemy. But after my clear cut arguments, people may agree with said topic.

Loaded Lux is regarded as one of the greatest battle rappers ever. But why? What has he done that has surpassed anybody else? He has 2 battles on camera. One being either debatable or he lost and the other being a body bag due to a drunk and tired opponent.

Lux vs Murda Mook. 8 round opus. I scored it 4-4. But if you wanna have a clear winner it can be 5-3 Mook easily. Lux chokes close to 5 times in the battle. 5 times?! He even ends his 1st rd with the middle of his 7th round. He also has a round with 12 bars. Smh. Mook started off slow and became consistent and turned into Mayweather. Lux, at that time had some crazy bars. Complex and witty. Yet he couldn't hold off the less lyrical Mook. Watch the battle again and judge it based off performance, wittiness, stamina & lyrics. Mook edges him.

Lux vs Young Miles. Miles died that evening. Even with a strong 1st round, it seemed like Lux went home and practiced and perfected his "writtens". Those bars that were spat are actually verses off of his mixtapes as were the Mook verses toward the end. I digress. They were potent regardless. Very distinct and complex. A drunk and visibly tired Miles choked twice and made Lux seem invincible.

So invincible that he starts a battle league, hosts it, and "retires". He returns to battle on 106 where the competition is like Lions against baby deer (sorry Nuborn) and one other battle on cam against Harlem's Cash which we can't count in reality. Where is the real comp?

His ciphers show he can clearly hang and compete with anyone. Also his diss track to Math Hoffa was impressive. But can he last and hang in a big arena? Is his complexities, agility & constant movement too much for a big crowd? Or can a guy like Calicoe who is so used to big crowds, pick him apart? Remains to be seen. I can't count Lux out because as a rapper he's deadly. But as a fan, I reluctantly count him in. Let's see what he does...

"Quiet! I need to hear this!"

-Factz

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mickey Factz Guest Blog (Part 2) - Will Charlie Clips Ever Get The Respect He Deserves?

Continued from Part 1

Summer Madness. Aye Verb died. Horribly. The argument here is... Charlie sat on bars for 2 years, Verb was booed, Home Court Advantage, Charlie is a set up, set up, set up, Punchline rapper, etc. Here are the factz...

If you sit on bars for 2 years and spit those 2 year old raps, your wack against fresh bars. Point blank. Because current events happen all the time. Charlie had bars that were extremely recent due to current events, a hollow rebuttal (which happened 3 months prior), and story bars. Fred The Godson told me Charlie didn't use the bars he had for Verb initially. Crazy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mickey Factz Guest Blog - Will Charlie Clips Ever Get The Respect He Deserves?


First off, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou...THANK YOU, to everyone who's shown love to my blog since I started it. It's become bigger than I ever imagined and it's only been a month. I truly appreciate everyone who leaves me comments on here and on twitter, whether positive or negative. Shout out to everyone who's helped out in any way possible. I'm just having fun with this and people are hitting up me and Bell from all over for interviews and to just speak their mind. One being my man Mickey Factz. So let me just pass the mic to him and get back at yall later. Peace!

- M. PHOENIXXX

Monday, September 12, 2011

Qleen Paper Interview



Generally speaking, rapping is easy. Anyone can put words together over a beat or a cappella and elicit a response from their peers. But not everyone can battle. In this competitive realm of rapping where artists come a dime a dozen, it takes passion for music and love for the art to stand amongst the elite and avoid being grouped amongst the weak. As I stated in the past, today the Midwest is home of some of these elite. Specifically in the city of Detroit, Michigan.


One Detroit battle rapper that stands out is QP. His style and gift with words has gained him a small fan base in 2011 as one of the premier Freshmen of Ultimate Rap League. His debut in March against St. Louis' B. Magic, another top contender in the new class, is considered one of the best battles of the year, if not the best. My partner in crime, the lovely lady Bell The Realist, got the chance to speak to QP as he candidly spoke on how he broke through on the scene, why the Midwest is so popular, and which New Jersey battle rapper he plans to destroy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

SMACK/URL Presents DNA vs X-Factor

#ItsPrioritiesNigga

BREAKING NEWS: Swave Sevah - "I'll Take Aye Verb In Detroit"


UPDATE: Declined.

Now THIS is a fuckin battle I wanna see! Just to bring yall up to speed, last week Aye Verb announced that he wants to battle Goodz on URL's Detroit card and he'd do it for free. Goodz's response: No. Now in another surprise turn of events, Harlem battle rap legend Swave Sevah has stepped to the plate. Swave announced on twitter that he's willing to battle Aye Verb in Detroit "since no one wanna take Aye Verb cuz he got killed by Charlie Clips."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Midwest Can't Be Stopped

Heart of a New Yorker, soul of a nigga from Chicago. That might be the best way to describe my taste in music. I grew up with my older brother blasting Nas, Mobb Deep, M.O.P. Wu Tang, all the classic grimey New York hip hop of the 90's. Gravitated towards DMX and 2Pac as I grew into my own style in middle school. Eminem turned me into an asshole but discovering Bone Thugs N Harmomy's E. 1999 Eternal album in high school is what really fucked me the fuck up

I love my city and the East Coast in general to death for all it's done and continues to do in music. We've birthed some of the greatest lyricists of all time. But something about that damn Midwest man. Them niggas are a totally different breed of lyrical murderers. From Bone to Eminem to Common to Tech N9NE, niggas get busy out there. Possibly due to them being in the middle of the map, they rap like they got a serious point to prove, and they've been proving it on the battle scene for the past few years. They're not slowing down and I dont see anyone who really can make them and here's why:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Street Star Norbes - "John John Da Don Is Not Blackballed"



Over the past 2 weeks There's been a shit-storm of controversy and drama surrounding Ultimate Rap League, particular in regards to a battle rapper from upstate New York, John John Da Don. John John's been making a name for himself and URL took notice, deciding to recruit him into the Proving Grounds to see if he can handle St Louis rapper B. Magic. John John handled his business and was ready to make it to the big stage and face Detroit's QP this fall but when he decided to take a battle at Grind Time Now's Follow The Leader event for September, things got messy. John John tweeted he had been banned from URL and fans (and rappers) went on the attack in defense of John John. My partner in crime Bell The Realist reached out to Norbes to get to the bottom of it and find out John John's fate in URL.

Street Star Norbes Part 3 - "My Goal Is URL At Giants Stadium"



 In the final piece of my interview with Ultimate Rap League co-founder Street Star Norbes, we discuss the last event Summer Madness at Webster Hall in New York City, some of his favorite battle rappers, mainstream rappers coming to battle on their stage on what the future holds for URL.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Street Star Norbes - "QP (Qleen) Is Already A Star"


 In Part 2 of my talk with Ultimate Rap League co-founder Street Star Norbes we talk about the newest project called the Proving Grounds, a second stage created to give lesser known battle MC's a chance to showcase their skills and prepare them for the big stage, creating new stars to carry the torch in URL's future.

Is Hitman Holla Scared Of Tsu Surf?



Fresh off their respective battles at Ultimate Rap League's Summer Madness event this past August, St. Louis battle rapper Hitman Holla and Jersey's Tsunami Surf (and both their fan bases) have been going at it on twitter a lot lately. Surf, with his stellar performance against K-Shine is officially the 2011 MVP of URL. Hitman Holla, last year's MVP, has gone down a notch after his sub-par performance against Hollow Da Don. Surf's on the come up and willing to tear down anybody that stands in his way and Hitman's still holding strong to his spot amongst the top competitors. But is Hitman playing the game right in treating Tsu Surf like he isn't worth his time or is he dodging a bullet he knows could put an end to him?

Lets compare the stats. Hitman's ascension might be the fastest in URL history. He made his debut battling Big T at the Midwest Massacre in late 2009 (which he lost) and Cortez in March 2010 (which he won). After 2 battles he got his shot at Arsonal, a battle rapper already established with a ton of bodies under his belt and making a million views. After Hitman beat Arsonal in December 2010 his stock went through the roof instantly. The promo around that battle, hyping up the fact that they'd been at it for 2 years, plus Arsonal's name alone gave Hitman his first battle to hit over a million views on Youtube. Arsonal still has his spot but he definitely helped put Hitman in a different stratosphere that allowed his battle with Hollow Da Don to even happen.

Tsunami Surf made his debut against Yung Ill in early 2010. A classic battle that's still highly debated today, Surf put on a memorable performance against his toughest opponent to date. He then battled DNA in March (I hate that battle to be honest simply because DNA annoys the shit out of me) and was gone for the rest of the year as he spent some time in jail. His fan base was pretty small but they made his name heard loud and clear until his release and he battled and beat X-Factor in March 2011. Now after putting a hurting on K-Shine he's earned a ton of new fans and more respect.

So they both have 4 battles under their belt (not including battles in other leagues), can make a case for both of them being 2-2 or 3-1 but their both super talented. Ask me and I'll tell you Tsu Surf is the better rapper (in battling and song making) and has better sports punchlines. Better story telling, better stage presence and better breath control. Everyone knows about the microphone situation at Summer Madness. Handheld mics replaced body mics and every rapper had to adapt. Hitman cried about it messing up his performance and still does to this day while Surf made the shit work for him. Look at Surf in his second round stepping to K-Shine:

Sitting by his steps with a cig down smoking
Sub-Zero mask and a whopper for the loccin
Gloves for the hands, heat seekers for the motion

Surf's hand gestures were flawless. Using both hands to simulate putting on a mask he still spoke clearly into the microphone and did shit like that the entire battle. Surf is known for talking with hands and moving around the stage as much as Hitman and he adapted to the change without a problem. Hitman just complains about how he's a "performer" and aint use to a handheld mic. How can you call yourself a performer, or even an MC for that matter if you can't hold a fuckin microphone?

Hitman said he wont battle Surf unless he can get someone to back him in a $50,000 bet. Surf matched the money and Hitman just made pedophile jokes.
 
I'm just saying....

Monday, September 5, 2011

VIDEO: Eric Beasley Speaks On URL- Grind Time Comparisons

Celebrity Cypher DVD interviews E. Beasley, one of the co-founders of SMACK/URL and he gives his opinion on the comparisons and cultural differences between his league and their main competitor Grind Time Now. He also explains why it's hard to judge battles and why battle rappers are having a hard time finding success with their music.

Street Star Norbes Interview Part 1



Since the early 2000's the name SMACK rang bells from barbershops in New York to hoods around the globe. Categorized as a "DVD Magazine," the first of its kind, SMACK DVD was a grassroots brand that had its camera follow the biggest known and unknown names in Hip Hop giving fans exclusive interviews, freestyles the latest rap beefs and an inside look at the music industry no one had ever seen. As other DVD Magazines began to pop up, what  really set SMACK apart was the rap battles at the end of each DVD. These battles created stars out of young MC's such as Murda Mook, T-Rex, Jae Millz and Math Hoffa

Soon SMACK DVD's became less frequent due to the over-saturation of DVD magazines and rampant bootlegging but SMACK wanted to keep the brand alive by taking the most beloved aspect of the DVD's - the battles - and creating something so big no one could replicate. So Ultimate Rap League was born. In less than 2 years SMACK/URL has gone from being an amateur battle rap league with little support holding events in small clubs, to the biggest name in battle rap culture with such exclusivity that it's become a symbol of graduation for a rapper to set foot on their stage.  I got the honor of speaking to the manager of Brooklyn battle rapper Math Hoffa and one of the 4 founders of UlRL, Street Star Norbes, to get the scoop on URL's beginning stages, it's growth, the controversies and how they continue to create stars out of unknowns.