Remy Ma brought battle rap back to the big stage in New York City, shining a spotlight on the ladies of the culture on Sunday night (Feb. 27).
Hip-Hop stars including Remy Ma’s husband, Papoose, and Fat Joe came out to support “Queens Get The Money,” her first event as owner of battle rap league Chrome 23. Maino, Dave East, and Lil Mama also pulled up to the show which was live-streamed on Hot.97.
Remy Ma dazzled in a series of wardrobe changes, switching her fit in between each battle, upping the style stakes. She told the crowd she aims to change the misconceptions of female battle rap by showcasing some of the best talents in the scene, male or female.
Yoshi G vs. Pristavia
The highly-anticipated clash between Yoshi G from San Francisco and Brooklyn’s Pristavia kicked off the night.
Yoshi went first and opened the first-ever Chrome 23 card showing off her rapping ability using layered schemes throughout all three rounds. At times Yoshi was snapping on Pristavia, yet the crowd was a little underwhelmed, something which visibly affected her. She had to fight to win them back each round, turning up the energy to hammer home her more intricate raps.
Pristavia had the more explosive start and began her first round with a confident rebuttal. She got personal, talking about Yoshi’s father and kids with a string of aggressive punches. Pristavia addressed any questions about her being a Christian battle rapper who uses aggressive gun bars by hitting Yoshi with a barrage of aggressive gun bars. She clowned her in the third, flipping Yoshi’s “thot” persona by rapping about how she’s not “thotty” enough.
Both ladies confidently rebuttaled their opponent’s material to start their rounds. The battle was a real preference battle, with the commentators divided on who took the clash. However, the Hot.97 live stream viewers voted Pristavia as the winner with 71% to Yoshi G’s 29%.
O’fficial vs. Casey Jay
The second battle of the night was between good friends O’fficial and Casey Jay, both members of battle rap crew, The Bardashians. San Antonio, Texas native Casey Jay had injured herself shortly before the event, and the commentators announced she would be on crutches. She came out with a cast on her leg and had to spit her bars rooted to the spot, her mobility obviously reduced.
Her usual energetic delivery was affected by her inability to work the stage and sell her bars to the crowd. However, her pen was still on point and while she never got personal, she was rapping, hitting O’fficial with material that the crowd slept on.
“Gun Bar Queen” O’fficial was able to take advantage of Casey’s handicap using maximum movement and energy as she performed her material, rocking the crowd throughout her rounds. The New Orleans rapper started strong and stole the momentum back each time with her fast punch rate and digestible material. However, she raised a few eyebrows by pulling out her phone on several occasions before her third round, leading viewers to wonder if she was reminding herself of her material.
O’fficial scored an 84% win on the Hot.97 vote in a battle where both rappers delivered a bar fest without any personal attacks. Casey Jay proved herself a warrior, fighting through her injury to put on for Chrome 23
Next, Remy brought out battle rap legends Smack White and Murda Mook for the coin toss and revealed the event was trending No. 3 in the world on Twitter. However according to reports, Chrome 23 hit the top spot.
40 BARRS vs. QB Black Diamond
QB Black Diamond made her return to female battle rap against Boston’s 40 BARRS. The two ladies have a long acrimonious history with a faceoff that left fans wondering if the women would get through the battle without coming to blows. Less than a day before the event, 40 BARRS accused QB of being a woman charged with falsely accusing a man of rape in a 2009 report. Both women were sure to address the issue in their material.
40 BARRS began the first round predicting QB would try to beat her using her trademark vulgar disrespect, expertly diffusing QB’s approach ahead of her round. She was a commanding presence on stage, deploying her intricate writing and lyrical delivery to break down her opponent. The crowd was rocking with her, especially when she turned on the aggression, putting the bass in her voice and barking in QB’s face.
The Bridgeport, Connecticut rapper responded with a round opener of disrespectful insults playing into 40’s breakdown. She clowned the Boston rapper’s appearance and teased her for being “battle rap’s first grandma.” She also had some bars for 40’s dead relatives and boasted about being paid “to stand and talk here about your kids for money.” She seemed to get little reaction for this, although the commentators said a lot of the audience was feeling it, and Lil Mama said: “they had a really good spar.”
40 BARRS flipped the disrespect on QB in the third round with some savage bars attacking QB’s deceased family members. She blamed their deaths on karma, claiming QB “tried to end one man’s life,” then lost three from her family. She got into the angle she raised the day before, which QB rebuttalled at the beginning of her third.
QB denied lying about being assaulted, claiming she was raped and beat up but cops didn’t believe her. She then gave 40 an intervention telling her to get her priorities straight and set a better example to her kids. She rounded off by reminding the audience that she’s a Queen of the Ring legend who raised this generation of female battlers, including 40. “It would be no me if it wasn’t for you, so I still won,” was her parting shot though the Hot.97 voters called it 86% in favor of 40 BARRS. Furthermore, her three rounds were voted best of the night, and her win the biggest body of the night, earning her an extra special bonus.
Ms. Hustle vs. Couture
Harlem New York’s Ms. Hustle had a very civil lead up to her battle against Couture who hails from Providence, Rhode Island by way of Liberia. The pair had a lot of respect for each other’s skills which showed as neither woman came to play in the clash that was ultimately crowned battle of the night.
Ms. Hustle laid out her credentials as the first female battler on SMACK early on in the first round. She said she wasn’t worried about Couture’s infamous personal angles before joking about her former relationship with battle rapper and Wild ‘N Out star, Charlie Clips. She won the crowd immediately with her electrifying stage presence and delivery.
Her energetic performance and aggressive punches, which she barked out in rapid succession, kept the crowd entertained for the first two rounds. Hustle then switched it up in the third, which she said would be “the pettiest” ever. She brought turned the tables on her opponent’s detective-style approach and tendency to use props brining out an actor, followed by one of Couture’s former opponents, who also had a few lines for her.
In contrast to Ms. Hustle’s captivating star-power, Couture engaged the audience with unwavering poise and composure, fighting back each round. She won them back early with her opener, dismissing the “First Lady of URL” claiming Hustle’s always in drama and her stock’s dropped. The crowd listened as she set up the angles she’s known for, coming for Hustle, who she says ditched rapper Cassanova when he got locked up.
She accused Hustle of being a Remy Ma groupie in the third round and broke down the differences between Ms, Hustle, the rapper, and Ebony, the woman. Hot.97 viewers were big fans of Couture voting her performer of the night and awarding her the win with 68% of the vote.
Watch The Chrome 23 Stream
Remy ended the night thanking all the ladies who showed out for her first Chrome 23 event and promised the league is here to stay.
Image credit: Nicole Duncan Smith