On paper, the rap battle lineups are exceptional. Just judging off the battles that have already been announced, leagues are looking to the culture of battle rap to the next level. Let’s take a quick look at five of the top battles that have caught our eyes this year.
Harlem legend Loaded Lux is set to make his long-awaited return to SMACK / URL. This year, he will do so by at NOME 9 in Houston, Texas against St Louis’ Aye Verb. Without doubt one of the greatest battle rappers of all-time, news of Lux’s return to the world’s biggest battle rap stage has sent fans in a frenzy. This is a battle that fans have wanted to see for some time, but not as much as Verb. The vegan vet has been chasing this battle his entire career. Facing a formidable opponent in Aye Verb, whose last year battle on RBE with Murda Mook might have chiseled his face in many people’s Mt. Rushmore, “Beloved” may have his work laid out for him.
Loaded Lux has previously battled in the SMACK/URL DVD era against Midwest Miles (aka Young Miles in 2006), and most famously against Murda Mook over eight rounds back in November 2003 in the Bronx. Lux then went on to battle half a dozen times on the now defunct 106 & Park on BET in 2009. In the most modern era post-SMACK DVD on URL TV, Lux headlined Summer Madness 2 against a young Calicoe in a classic, had a very tough battle against Charlie Clips on a heated Summer Madness 5 three years later in 2015, a classic versus Hollow Da Don on UW in 2014, a rematched with Murda Mook on Eminem’s Total Slaughter in 2014 and most recently battling Arsonal Da Rebel on UW mid last year for Arsonal’s then supposed retirement battle.
Verb will be no easy opponent by any stretch of the imagination for Lux. The experienced Verb has had near 50 battles on camera over the last decade since the Grind Time era on multiple platforms. He has stood on that stage and like Lux also faced off against Charlie Clips, Hollow Da Don, Arsonal, T-Rex, Midwest Miles (twice) and of course most recently with Murda Mook in a performance which really made its own case for him to now face Lux. Aye Verb’s complete battle resume is one of the most impressive overall, having also battled the likes of K-Shine, Math Hoffa, O-Red, Pat Stay, Hitman Holla, Dizaster, Tsu Surf, Cortez, Goodz amongst dozens of others.
This battle has been long in the making for seven-plus years already, and Verb’s recent strong showing against Mook coupled with strong fan support for this battle to go down now means the time is now finally right for Lux to greenlight it. The battle means a lot to both, a Lux win will really see him cement his place at the top end of battle rap table while a win for Aye Verb would really rattle battle rap.
Platinum-selling Philadelphia legend Cassidy makes his long-awaited return to battle rap, this time debuting on the URL stage versus Bronx legend Goodz. This will be Cassidy’s first battle since his controversial encounter with Los Angeles- based battler Dizaster four years ago at the FilmOn.TV’s “Ether” event in LA, with consensus giving that battle to Cassidy 2-1 in an overall disappointing battle plagued by technical issues that failed to live up to the lofty hype surrounding such a potential classic showdown.
Goodz over the last 15 years has battled the likes of URL’s current top gunner Tay Roc, T-Top, Aye Verb (hosted by Jadakiss), X-Factor, Hollow Da Don, Rone, Hitman Holla, K-Shine, Jae Millz, Conceited, Head I.C.E, Tech 9, Rich Dolarz as well as Cassidy more so at the beginning of his career. Goodz is currently in top form, coming off a very strong performance against a formidable Tay Roc in Houston at NOME 8.
With the personal grudge match of NYC legend Hollow Da Don facing off one-time close confident in infamous Bronx legend Math Hoffa, fans can expect a heavy-hitting encounter full of personals from two of the cultures best over the last decade with an unlimited third round sure to expose all and more on RBE’s Pearly Gates 3 card in mid-February.
One of the most random matches off the stacked SMACK Volume 4 card, New York’s Charlie Clips returns from Wild ‘N Out and collaborating with Nick cannon to the URL stage to take one the most electrifying performer in battle rap at the moment, Nu Jersey Twork. After a very strong year mixed with a couple of chokes, no-shows and stumbles, a consistent Twork in 2019 could see him cement his name as one of the most feared battlers while Clips is here to prove why he is still an active legend. RANDOM but potentially great.
The long-awaited title match for the chain on King Of the Dot pits Harlem legend and reigning champion Head I.C.E vs. one of Boston’s finest in the schemin’ Chilla Jones at KOTD’s World Domination 8 event in London. The style clash on foreign soil is sure to be a strong battle after the match-up was already previously postponed once.
Honorable Mentions – the whole SMACK Volume 4 card, Yung Ill vs. Ill Will on RBE, Arsonal vs. Soul (UK) on KOTD.