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.
How did you discover John John Da Don and what made you bring him over to the Proving Grounds?
I’m usually on twitter and I’m always reaching out to fans. I started hearing some of the fans talking about him and they were saying that he had a good battle out with Brixx Belvy. I decided watching him a little and I started peeping him out. In some of his early battles, he was okay. It made me want to reach out to him. When I did, he seemed ecstatic about it. He was actually supposed to come on a little earlier but he had some personal problems that got in the way of that and prevented it from happening. When that went down, we had to push it back to a later date, and that’s when he had to battle B. Magic. But like I said, I peeped his battle and I seen that he had grown as a battler, so I said, “let me give this kid a shot.”
What do you think of John John’s performance against B. Magic?
I think he did a great job for the first battle. He did one round. B. Magic is one of the premier talents that we have. His word play is incredible. John John definitely put on a show. It definitely came out as a great match up. A lot of people loved the battle. It’s a classic. I definitely think he did a great job. He actually surprised me. I didn’t think that he was going to do as well as he did.
I love B. Magic. He is a class act.
People think that B. Magic is all bars. He is all bars, but he is a funny dude. His facial expressions are hilarious. He is definitely getting to the next battle.
John John’s next opponent was supposed to be QP. What happened to change that?
Contrary to what people believe and to what has been put out on the internet, John John was not black-balled. That wasn’t the case. Basically, we go 100 percent with people who are going 100 percent with us. At that time, he wasn’t ready to do that. We decided to run with that. Could things have been communicated a little better? Obviously. Things just happened so fast. People basically took the opportunity to attack us without knowing the facts. Even John John didn’t know, but stuff happens. Now in terms of people saying that he is black-balled and the reason that he’s not on Smack is because he took a battle on Grind Time is not 100 percent true. As a matter of fact, it’s not true at all. It has nothing to do with it. It had nothing to do with where he battled. Like I said, we go 100 percent with who is going 100 percent with us. He was doing what he has to do, and we as a company felt that it was in our best interest as a company to do what we had to do at that time, so we went with the Tay Roc battle. In terms of black-balling, no, we didn’t black-ball him. Was it about Grind Time? No, it wasn’t about Grind Time. If that was the case, we wouldn't continue to book Swave Sevah. We wouldn’t book Soul Khan. We wouldn’t want to bring in Real Deal or even be considering Dizaster. People just took this as an opportunity to attack us. There are ignorant battle rappers who decided that they couldn’t get a battle on Smack, so the best way to get on Smack was to attack us. That’s basically what you’re seeing on the internet. Those are all lies. You’re seeing a lot of bitter people that are just wanting to attack our brand. At the end of the day, that’s what happens when you’re on top. Shout out to John John. We wish him the best of luck. Hopefully, maybe somewhere down the line, we might have him back on. Like I said, we wish him the best of luck with his battle against… I forgot the guy’s name… but we wish him the best of luck.
Aside from John John, is there any beef between URL and Grind Time Now (Eastern Division)?
There are no issues. Poison Pen is a very good friend of mine. Immoral Technique is a very good friend of mine. I support everything they do. I’m at every event. I’ve never taken a shot at them. Like I said, the people who have took shots at us aren’t people that are very important. I could care less about them. There has never been an issue with my organization and Grind Time. Poison Pen comes to all of our events and he shows us a lot of love. We go to his events. We swap ideas. It really has nothing to do with Grind Time. John John, there’s no ill feelings. We decided to do what we did. I can’t really speak for him. If he feels upset about the situation, I can’t do nothing about his feelings. On our side, we wish him the best of luck.
Before John John vs QP got called off they were back and forth on twitter about betting $5000 on their battle and having it judged. M. Phoenix threw in the idea of having Slaughterhouse be the guest judges to get a fair and equal decision in the winner since it's money on the line. When he met QP at Summer Madness, he mentioned that QP brought up the Slaughterhouse idea again on his own, so he can tell he's interested. Would you consider doing something like that with them or any future battlers that want to make bets?
I’m going to be honest with you in terms of the battles being judged. We don’t do that over here. If the artists takes it into their own hands and say, “this is what we want to do,” or “this is what we’re going to do,” I’m not against it. It is very difficult to judge a battle. How do you judge a battle? There is no definite scoring system. If the artists agree that one individual is going to decide who won or who lost, and that’s what they do, then that’s fine. I just don’t want to be responsible for someone winning or losing a battle. I’m not going to be responsible for someone losing $5000. I’d rather just put on a show and invest that $5000 in the music as opposed to betting it against each other. That’s how I feel about the whole betting thing. In terms of the judging being on URL, I’d rather just see the fans debate about it. People are still debating about Math vs Rex and Mook vs Lux. That’s what we want. We want people to continue to talk about us. I don’t care though. As long as people put on a great show.
Will John John be back on URL?
I don’t know. I really couldn’t tell you. If something presents itself down the line and it makes sense for both parties, we could work something out. He is definitely not on the next card. He has a very big Grind Time battle coming up. I wish him the best of luck. I will be there at the next event to support my brother Poison Pen. We are focused on our brand, and he is focused on his battle. Again, I wish him the best of luck.
John John Da Don vs B. Magic