Some battle rap fans believe that 2020 has been one long and continuous Volume card.
The year-end signature marquee event that made the small room sexy again was trumped this year by the coronavirus’ social distance protocols. All leagues (not just the URL) have resorted to small intimate contests, where lyrics are at the center of the production and the crowd gas is minimized. But after “the world’s most respected league” announced this heavy-hitting card (with names that could easily have been on a NOME or Summer Madness), many were reminded why the Volume Series stands out: it is literally a rap-sodical battle royale that no one wants to miss.
The card is crazy and promises to have fans on edge with representation from almost every class of battle rap since the inception of this modern-day era.
Rappers Goodz and Arsonal can trace their heritage to the very early days of street-corner emceeing and terrorizing pioneering leagues like Lionz Den, Fight Klub, and Grind Time. To get in the ring with them in 2020 is a badge of honor, as their careers have afforded them access to rap royalty and celebrity in three different decades (2000’s, 2010’s and now 2020). And yet, their love for the culture has not wained and they continue to wreck stages when invited. From an artists’ perspective, they are part of the foundation as to why battle rap is the most exciting element of Hip-Hop.
VETS FIRST CLASS
K-Shine and Chilla Jones have been pushing forth at URL almost since the very beginning. While both have experienced an arduous journey, oftentimes having to redefine who they are in the culture. Now, few can dispute that either is worthy of the many accolades that fall at their feet. Their styles are different, but it is that kind of innovation that justifies why they are still here.
As competitors, T-Top and Ill Will are elite. Both served as champions on the Ultimate Rap League’s collaborative effort with 106 & Park’s Ultimate Freestyle Friday tournaments, where they beat (badly) all of the top rookies in their class. But this is no “Al Bundy” story. These two continue to strike fear in their opponents — accomplishing what often seems incredulous to even fathom as an artist.
THE GOLD RUSH
There is a reason why California is called the Golden State. Because in the crux of the state’s urban oasis, URL has mined emcees that are valuable to the culture as the precious metal. Geechi Gotti, B Dot, and Danny Myers proudly represent a legacy of lyricism that has made SoCa dangerous in battle rap. Geechi Gotti rocks in the direct genealogy of the old Ice Cube. B Dot could be called the grandchild of the Souls of Mischief. And few would deny Danny Myers the mantle left swinging by Ras Kass.
THE NEXT GENERATION
Folk may want to call Jerry Wess and Eazy the Black Captain rookies, but they are not. They are the next generation of superstars. Calling them rookies diminishes their work or significant efforts to get to this level. At the same time, Jerry Wess’ resume is respectable and there is still much to prove for the rising Eazy the Block Captain.
Hip-Hop was birthed in the belly of this nation’s struggle and battle rap is the remnant of that hunger that made Rakim, Jay-Z, and pens like Black Thought the notable pens that they are. ALL OF THAT IS AMERICAN MADE. But in 2020, rap is the #1 musical genre in the world and so that means internationally, some enthusiasts desire to jump and immerse themselves in the culture. That would be the Canadian Pat Stay. But the thing is … despite being from up North … he spits as if he has boogie down Bronx roots and fits in comfortably in the Ultimate Rap League roster of killers.
Twelve emcees are thrown together in a gumbo of sportsmanship. Let’s see who will step forward as victorious. The card is as follows:
Goodz vs. Geechi Gotti
K-Shine vs. Pat Stay
Arsonal vs. Jerry Wess
Chilla Jones vs. B Dot
Ill Will vs Danny Myers
T-Top vs. Eazy, The Block Captain
Volume 6 seems to be the perfect card for the Ultimate Rap League to end this hectic year. Hopefully, it lives up to the hype and delivers up to its promise. To watch it live for free, download the Caffeine.TV app and tune in Saturday, December 12 at 8 pm EST/ 5 pm PST.