Ultimate Rap League’s marquee event, Summer Madness 11 went down last night In Houston Texas.
The night was said to have the largest live ever battle rap crowd, with almost three thousand fans packing the Bayou Music Centre.
The card was stacked with some of the brightest talent URL has to offer across the tiers. Top of the show was the Ultimate Madness 4 tournament final and headlining was one of the longest awaited matchups at 20 years in the making; the legacy battle between Harlem’s Murda Mook vs. Philly’s Reed Dollaz.
RealNameBrandon vs. MVP
Kicking off the night was the championship match between RealNameBrandon, the rapper from Pasadena, CA, and St Louis MI’s MVP. The stage was a very different setting than the Caffeine studio the two have been battling in throughout the tournament. And all eyes were on how they would cope under the pressure of the Big Stage.
MVP started first and had his strongest round of the battle, punching solidly and drawing a decent crowd reaction, looking comfortable on the stage.
RealNameBrandon stepped out and immediately, a URL STAR was born, his commanding presence and booming vocal projection winning over the crowd instantly.
His performance was more suited to the big stage, getting to the punch quickly, and often he heated up every round whereas MVP didn’t adapt his material as well and lost steam as he went on. Brandon has a risky angle in the third, opening the round with a tribute to his deceased grandmother but he executed it well, the crowd chanting “3-0″ before he completed his round. All four judges gave the decision to RNB.
Arsonal vs. Lu Castro
Next up was veteran Arsonal from New Jersey, the highest viewed battle rapper in the world, versus the emerging talent from the Bronx, Lu Castro. Arsonal kicked off the battle using Lu’s “Hey Big Dawg” slogan against him and had a fire start to the round.
Lu came out in the first all guns blazing, his energy high commanding the stage and generating a big response from the crowd. Arsonal had his best round of the battle in the second, with some really nice rapping, performing aggressively. He also was extremely physical this round. Just as Lu dared him in his first round to bump him, the King of Disrespect got busy bumping the New Era representative and proving that “Big Dawg” talk only matters when followed by “Big Dawg” action. Still many thought that the vet wasn’t saying anything and that was something Lu highlighted in his second.
Many had the battle tied at 1-1 going into the third. Lu saved his best round of the battle for the third and brought out all his slogans and used humor really effectively. He wasn’t going to let Arsonal’s size advantage get the better of him, shoulder bumping him and shaking the building.
One of Lu’s biggest moments of the battle was a spontaneous one, reacting to Arsonal pulling his phone out to make a video, showing how comfortable he was in front of the nearly 3,000 strong crowd.
Eazy The Block Captain vs. Chess
Spoiler alert! It was a classic.
Eazy vs Chess was one of the most anticipated battles on the card with many calling it a “Battle of The Night” contender in their predictions. URL league-owner, Smack himself said that this was the one he’d been waiting for.
This one did not disappoint. AT ALL. The word classic is often thrown around way too soon. However, this truly fits the bill. Everything you could want from these two was manifested in this close back and forth display. As well as being “BOTN,” is a real contender for “Battle of the Year.”
Chess started first and instantly snatched the crowd. He raised the energy in the room using only his slogans which the audience shouted along with him (all four of them) before finishing with a punch.
The Bronx rapper had the crowd captivated all round with his incredible writing, delivery, and performance.
Philly native Eazy the Block Captain started strong, winning the crowd early on, leaving them hanging onto every word.
He proved he was built for the big stage. This top-notch performance abandoned any questions about him being ready for the live crowd. Eazy matched Chess’s hunger, passion, and intensity.
By the end of the first round, it was clear what sort of battle we were getting. Many battles fail to deliver in three rounds what these guys did in one.
If the first round was tough to call, the second was a little clearer. Chess had a slight drop in energy from the first although the writing was still on top form producing some of the wittiest lines you’re likely to hear.
Eazy left earth in the second, perfect pacing and poise throughout the round, performing like a vet using facial expressions, gestures, and crowd control to ensure his already great material hit home.
The third was a similar story, the two rappers talking to each other giving us pain that we could feel. “Struggle Talk” vs. “The Talk Different,” was a real fight, both battlers leaving with the taste of blood in their mouths.
The only clear winner was the watching audience.
It was clear to all involved, particularly the rappers that a classic was unfolding with both emcees reacting to and feeling the other’s material. As for a winner, like a good classic, this one will be debated for years to come.
Chess’s status as “The Young Gawd” is cemented. Eazy’s stock rose. If you weren’t already paying attention, like Joe Budden, you are now.
Commentators on the night, legends media personality/host Jay Blac and Queens rapper DNA suggesting Goodz Calico and Geechi Gotti as his next possible matchups.
Tsu Surf vs. John John Da Don
Eazy Vs. Chess was a tough act to follow but New Jersey’s Tsunami Surf and Atlanta by way of Yonkers’ John John Da Don were up next and the anticipation was high. The star power heating up in this one with Houston rapper Trae tha Truth doing the coin flip and the “URL Princess,” NuNu Nellz front and center looking ravishing, hair bright red as it should be for Summer Madness!
This was a battle that JJDD had been “chasing” for years. The Bullpen Rap League owner was aiming for one of URL’s stars — one he deemed unworthy for all the accolades he has received. The “What’s Changed” rapper is duly decorated for what people call the “It Factor.” Surf is a legend and his ability as a rapper is unquestioned both inside and outside of the battle rap streets, he also comes with the “If Factor.” “If he gets through his round clean…” “If he doesn’t “Jersey’…” “If he comes with three rounds.”
According to many, Surf is almost unbeatable. But so is JJDD. The six-foot-plus tactician is one of the most surgical writers in the game, a sniper some might say. His plan was to be one of the ones that could claim victory over the braggadocios emcees in this space. That was the plan.
Some plans go awry. This was a case of being careful what you wish for and all of the signs were there. Surf was back in his white tee, signaling a long night for anyone standing in front of him.
John John’s first was solid but not enough for an on-form Surf and the watching audience felt the same.
Surf, like a shark smelling blood in the water, came out and shut it down instantly giving us no doubt that Surf is back!
John John had a decent second round but it wasn’t enough. He had a nice audience participation section which won over the crowd but it wasn’t a strong JJJD, even his “Multiple Choice” fell a little flat.
It didn’t help JJDD’s cause that Surf had his own “Multiple Choice” flip in the second which hit a lot harder than John John’s.
Surf took the second round clearly with a succession of back-to-back punches shaking the building. The question was, would he have a third?
The third was going well for John John although he had lost the crowd by the end of the round, even picking up some light booing from the Houston crowd.
Surf finished the way he started, in style, and by the end of the round he had the crowd chanting “3-0”
Royce Da 5”9 and Lloyd Banks were tuned in on the night and impressed by Surf, took the time to show some love on Twitter.
Hollow Da Don vs. K-Shine
Heavyweights Hollow Da Don and K-Shine took to the stage next and had good back and forth, although it was not the best showing from either rapper. Shine’s energy was on one hundred as always but he seemed to lack a little weight in his punches.
The crowd was only reacting in places, especially in the last two rounds and much of Shine’s third failed to land in the building.
Hollow ended his third mid-bar basically calling time on himself.
Murda Mook vs. Reed Dollaz
The headline battle came next, though not the last battle of the night, organizers probably not wanting the audience to become too worn out for the nostalgia battle on the card.
Going into it, there were questions as to whether Harlem legend Mook is good on the Big-Stage, and on the first watch, it was not Mook’s finest performance.
Reed fared better, talking to Mook in the first round engaging the crowd not only with his unmistakable flow and cadence but he also had a “without you” crowd participation segment that landed early on.
The third went the same way as the first two rounds, looking like a clear victory for Philly legend Reed Dollaz although many of Battle Rap Twitter were left underwhelmed by the battle as a whole.
Calicoe vs. Geechi Gotti
Detroit veteran Calicoe and Compton’s Geechi Goot were up next and the audience were counting on them to lift the energy and finish the night on a high.
Both rappers delivered good performances. However, with the appearance of the Landslide frontman, it started to feel like “Summer Madness again.” Calicoe redeemed himself from the two on two with Mook, by rapping-rapping like the fans love him to do. Standing in front of the vet, Geechi Gotti didn’t look the unquestionable “Face of URL.” He looked like someone fighting (hard) for a win.
But that’s the thing, we love the scrappiness of Geechi. We love when he has to tussle for the victory and this demonstration of lyrical brawling gave us a glimpse of the emcee that we love.
The only round that was clear was the second, Geechi took that with a real talking to him round, angling and punching back-to-back.
Geechi dropped the ball in the third and while he didn’t choke and avoided any dead air, clearly lost track of his round, freestyling in places. He covered it well, showing veteran poise and skill but still left the door open for Cal to come and take the round. Geechi is known for his real talk thirds, and his second tonight seemed more that type time, it looked as though maybe he switched them around.
One person who wasn’t impressed by Gotti’s performance was Iron Solomon.
Cal had a solid second and third rounds and if Geechi took the second, Cal clearly took the third. It is hard to call. Many are calling this the second most debatable battle of the night.
As SM11 came to a close the momentum continued and announcements were made on the night for the much-hyped October events.
“Super Fight” October 9
First up, only two weeks away is the “Super Fight” card headlined by two of the hottest emcees in the ladies’ game, Ms. Hustle and Coffee Brown.
The battle should have gone down on the “Heir 2 The Throne” card back in June but had to be rescheduled after Hustle got into a car accident shortly before the event.
When it was first booked, the promotion going into the battle was oh so spicy, fans will have to see if the next two weeks bring more of the same…
“Til Death Do Us Part” October 30
Saving the best for last, the final announcement was one everyone had been waiting for. Although no official word had been given, hints and rumors have been circulating for some time. Everyone was waiting for URL to announce what was being called “The Drake Card,” due to the participation of the biggest rap superstar on the planet. Ultimate Rap League and Drake’s OVO coming together for what is being hailed “the biggest event in battle rap history!”
The first battle to be revealed was Gattas vs. Jaz and sees the return of one of the most talked-about in the women’s game.
The next announcement continued the hype of a potential “best card ever” with the news that Tay Roc and Nu Jerzey Twork would be happening.
Smack said that more announcements would be coming this week and if these ones are anything to go by the line-up is sure to be straight fire…on paper at least!
All of the SM11 battles will be available on the URLTV App.