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Smack/URL Finds Great Success W/ Epic NOME 4 Event (Recap) by. Michael Hughes
With Smack/URL just one day away from releasing the first of the six battles that took place at their epic NOME 4 event, it’s only right that we give you a full recap of how it all played out. I, VladTV Battle Rap Journalist Michael Hughes, was on the scene conducting interviews and absorbing all of the energy and drama that filled the venue on this epic day in Battle Rap history.
Let me start off by saying, that Smack/URL has successfully managed to wash away any stains that were left over their brand after the unfortunate incidents that occurred at Summer Madness 3. Even though they’ve held successful events since SM3, such as “Born Legacy” and also a very, very successful second season of their BET 106 & Park Smack/URL “Ultimate Freestyle Friday” tournament, NOME 4 really helped to once again set them on a positive path to continue to serve as the true Mecca of Battle Rap.
After struggling for quite some time to find big venues that would do business with them following SM3, Smack/URL was able to weather the storm and finally lock down a top quality performance space for NOME 4 with Irving Plaza. While the event was scheduled to start promptly at 3pm, it didn’t begin until after 4pm, however, the tardiness is not Smack’s fault, as some of the battlers didn’t arrive on time. Even though they began a little late, this was still the smoothest running, and well organized Smack/URL event that I’ve ever been to.
Having nabbed a great seat in the sound booth on the second floor next to the VIP section, alongside 15 Minutes Of Fame’s Heavybags, I was able to watch all of the battles with a perfect, undisturbed view of the stage. NOME 4 kicked off with a bang, as the highly anticipated return of Reed Dollaz vs the respected veteran John John Da Don, was the first battle to commence on stage. John John went first and set the tone for how the rest of the battle would play out.
After being booed briefly, most-likely by some Philly haters, Smack was quick to shut down the crowd interference and maintained an impressive amount of crowd control throughout the event. Once the booing stopped, John John went off spitting bar-after-bar full of strong punchlines which had the crowd very entertained. He hit Reed Dollaz with heavy bars such a, “it used to ring before the crack like the Liberty Bell,” among many others.
While Reed tried his best, it was obvious that he was very rusty and unable to fully adapt to the modern style of bar structures that are seen throughout Battle Rap presently. Reed got little crowd reaction in the first round, but it seemed to all go down hill from there after he spit a bar stating, “since you p*ssy, we will f*ck you, soft ni**a,” in his second. By the third round the crowd didn’t even seem to want to hear Reed rap anymore and people began talking throughout his verse and many others shouted out repeatedly, “TIME!” hoping that Smack would cut him off short. Just being honest, it was a very clear non-debatable 3-0 body in favor of John John Da Don. If Reed polishes up a few things, he could definitely do better in the future.
Next up was one of the top 2 battles of the night; Goodz vs Aye Verb. Before this battle began, Smack brought out one of New York’s most respected MCs and a true fan of the Battle Rap culture – Jadakiss – who hosted the rest of the battles. Aye Verb calmly came out onto the stage full of confidence, however, Goodz fully grabbed the crowd’s attention when he came out wearing the same gold and silver jacket that Verb wore in his battle vs Swave Sevah in Go-Rilla Warfare’s last battle event. Not only was Goodz wearing the jacket, but he also came out carrying two others which he threw into the crowd for a few lucky fans to take home, before he ripped off the one he had on and threw it into the crowd as well. After Goodz was finished passing out souvenirs, Aye Verb kicked off the battle with an incredible first round.
Verb truly came bar-heavy to this battle, as he took shots at Goodz’s habit of sipping Hennessey during battles and spit a whole bunch of other gritty bars such as, “I used to have to freestyle over the sounds of Mac rounds,” which had the fans fully amped and attentive to his verse. After Verb’s first, it was clear that Goodz was going to have to bounce back hard in order to even the score, and he managed to do just that with a bar-heavy verse of his own combined with his one-of-a-kind battle swag. The first round is very debatable and will most likely appear the same way once the footage gets dropped.
Verb suffered from a very minor stumble (not a choke, just a stumble) in his second verse, but came right back with heavy “Showtime” bars and punchlines that had the crowd in awe. Goodz remained flawless with his performance and delivery throughout. I clearly remember Jadakiss being thoroughly entertained in this battle from start to finish. In the end, it was a great lyrical clash between two true veterans and “top tiers” of the sport, and is definitely a 2014 classic. This battle was so competitive that I know it will be debated in favor of both Goodz and Aye Verb once the footage drops, and rightfully so. I’d say, this battle can be argued as one of the best battles of the year thus far.
Next up, was Big T vs B-Magic, which turned out to be the most surprising battle of the night. Many fans were surprised by this matchup making it onto the NOME 4 card in the first place, and the result of the battle was even more shocking to watch live. Big T kicked off the battle, and struggled very hard to gain any crowd reaction in the first round. None of his punches seemed to really connect, and he only got a few “oohs” throughout his entire verse. B-Magic, one of the best punchline battlers in the sport, came right out the gate wasting no time landing hard hitting punches such as, “Big T will die with the piece (peace) on him like hippie clothes,” which had the crowd going wild. However, the second round is when the real drama began.
Big T’s second was much like his first, with maybe a little more crowd reaction than his previous round, however Magic is the one who surprised everyone in attendance. He began cooking in his second round early, and it seemed as though he was on his way to a clear 3-0 body bag when the unthinkable happened. Magic suffered from a truly horrible choke, that he wasn’t able to fully recover from. He managed to get off a few extra bars, but couldn’t really get his rhythm back and had to forfeit his second round early.
Big T’s third round was his best of the battle which generated the most crowd reaction. Magic’s third started off effectively much like his first and second until he suffered another choke later in the round, however, this choke wasn’t nearly as bad as the one in his second round, and he managed to recover a little better this time. Still the third round choke greatly effected his performance and in the eyes of many who watched the battle, earned him a loss simply based off of technicality. On the flip-side, there were many other fans at the venue who still believe that Magic’s material with the chokes was far superior to Big T’s, and thus they still awarded him with the victory.
Following this battle was the other arguably best all-around battle of the night between Young Gattas and URL’s First Lady, Ms. Hustle. QOTR CEO Debo, was on stage for this battle since both ladies are also representatives of his brand, which is the top female battle league in the world. Look out for their upcoming “No Holds Barred” event at Irving Plaza on June 28th as well. Joe Budden came out on stage for this battle, and sat next to the gorgeous model Sophia Body, who was one of the ring card girls for the event.
Before the battle started, Ms. Hustle came to the stage and grabbed the crowd’s attention by shaking her cakes and busting it open for the fans with a brief, yet very skilled twerking session. Gattas came out wearing an outfit that greatly resembled Lara Croft from the hit video game series, “Tomb Raider,” which actually turned out to be her angle for the battle. The fine appearance of both battlers grabbed Smack’s attention and he couldn’t help but praise them for their looks.
“Ya’ll both lookin good as a mothaf*cka, ya’ll both can get it,” Smack said to Gattas and Hustle which caused the crowd to burst out into laughter.
Gattas kicked off the battle, and truly has to be commended for her consistent ability to command the attention and respect from the crowd whenever she battles on another rapper’s home turf. She came out the gate with high energy, bars, punchlines, and great bodily performance animations. Her first round was so impactful, that it almost seemed as though Hustle wouldn’t be able to match her intensity, and while Hustle started off a bit slow in her first, she managed to pick up steam and unload haymaker punches later in the round to make it very debatable. The second round was much like the first, very competitive, but the third round may have served as the deciding factor.
Gattas tried to expose Hustle early for a semi-nude picture that she posted online, however after making the announcement, the crowd had trouble settling down afterward which affected the amount of attention they gave her during her verse. Hustle seemed to clearly have a more effective third round, however I’m sure this battle will be debated 2-1 in favor of both ladies.
Next up, was the long-awaited grudge match between Murda Ave’s Cortez vs Dot Mob’s T-Rex. While this battle was predicted to be one of the most classic battles of the night, and certainly one of the most highly anticipated battles that fans really wanted to see, it honestly turned out to be the most disappointing. T-Rex came out as he always does, spitting gritty bars with veteran performance and delivery that had the crowd thoroughly entertained and eager to see what Cortez would come back with. While Cortez landed a few punches of his own, he really used the bulk of the round as set up his bars for some heavy haymakers, however Smack unfortunately yelled “time” before he could finish.
As it turned out, Smack explained that both Cortez and T-Rex had agreed to 2 minute timed rounds. Smack was only upholding the details of their contract by stopping the rounds at 2 minutes on the dot, however the end result was greatly damaging to the battle. The time factor only really had an impact on Cortez, as he got cut off early in every round, and maybe once for T-Rex as well. At one point there was some arguing that occurred on stage between Smack and Rex, but that settled down almost as quickly as it started.
Overall, this battle fell short of the expectations that followed it, however if 2 minute timed rounds was in the contract, then nobody can be mad at Smack or any of the URL staff for simply upholding the agreement. For the future, battles such as this one that have so much history behind it shouldn’t be timed, at least not with a short 2 minutes. Loaded Lux vs Hollow Da Don was a prime example of how badly timed rounds can hurt such an epic clash, so hopefully battlers won’t agree to, or request for such short timed rounds for future grudge matches.
The next and last battle of the night was one that was heavily promoted, especially by VladTV, with Smack/URL veteran DNA going toe-to-toe with UFF Champion and one of Smack’s favorite battlers, Ill Will. Prior to this battle, DNA was regarded as a major underdog, and the bulk of the Battle Rap fanbase expected him to lose badly to Ill Will. Smack even stated once in a solo interview with VladTV that “DNA is going to get killed,” and also told DNA to his face in another VladTV interview that he thought Ill Will was going to beat him. However, when DNA and Ill Will finally stepped onto the stage, Smack was left with no choice but to eat his own words.
Ill Will went first and spit a decent verse, however the general consensus was that he left a lot of room for DNA to outshine him in his own first round, which is exactly what he did. Following his great performance vs Prez Mafia, DNA came into NOME 4 on a hot streak and also a mission to show the world that he shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even though he may be guilty of putting forth half-effort in some of his past battles (not on the URL stage), DNA came with a full arsenal of bars, punchlines, and top-notch freestyles to utterly dismantle Ill Will in the worst way. DNA’s first round in this battle was arguably the best round he has ever spit in his life. You can see by the trailer, that he nearly took the roof off of the building with some of his KO-worthy punchlines.
After the damage done in the first round, Ill Will wasn’t able to make a recovery until the third round, which was his best of the battle. DNA’s second was filled with great freestyles, while his third was his lightest of the battle but still a solid round. The third round could be viewed as debatable when the footage gets released tomorrow on Father’s Day, June 15th, but regardless it was a clear 2-1 body at the very least in favor of DNA.
While everyone was eager to see the true main event of the night which was a highly anticipated rematch between Charlie Clips vs Tay Roc, Smack/URL unfortunately ran out of time, and the club shut down NOME 4 after DNA and Ill Will finished their battle. According to the sound engineer, Tyler The Creator was scheduled to perform after NOME 4, so the club had to get the stage and venue cleaned up and ready for his show. No one needs to blame Smack/URL for Tay Roc vs Clips II not happening, it was entirely out of their hands, but fear not, for the battle will surely go down at a later date. Who knows, Clips vs Tay Roc could even find its way to the Summer Madness 4 card.
Overall, NOME 4 was a great success for Smack/URL, and the culture and sport of Battle Rap as a whole. The event lived up to its name, and the card was filled with classic battles, major upsets, body bags, and utterly shocking performances. You can rest assured that Smack/URL will keep the momentum going and deliver another truly successful event when the day arrives for Summer Madness 4.
You can check out all of the pictures captured after the conclusion of NOME 4 by Battle Rap Journalist Michael Hughes, in the above slide, and be sure to tune into Smack/URL’s YouTube channel tomorrow, June 15th, to see DNA vs Ill Will’s epic battle.
Congratulations are in order for Smack/URL, for putting on a truly epic event to further boost the culture and sport of Battle Rap. Let’s keep the momentum going.