[Article Written Originally for URLTV.TV]
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by Industry Standard does not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or beliefs of the Ultimate Rap League or it’s associated entities….except for The ShootersTDT…because I own them shits…
Animus, conflict, polarizing characters, and a lack of closure. All of the aforementioned are elements for not only an engaging story, but the latter is most certainly always the corner stone to build a narrative for an anticipated sequel. The previous match up between these two warring factions resulted in what most battle rap enthusiast would agree to be a clear and definitive win for the debuting duo of Guntitles consisting of, arguably, the two most consistent and popular performers on the big stage today, Tsunami Surf and Tay Roc. Their victims on that particular night just happened to be the most notable team in the two on two battle circuit within the last two years, NWX, consisting of battle rap veteran mainstays, DNA & K-Shine.
NWX’s record in two on two encounters is debatable. Although I personally feel that they have losses to Hitman Holla & Aye Verb as well as Marvwon & Quest McCody on their resume, I also believe that their work ethic indirectly legitimized the two on two rap battle construct and is directly responsible for the Ultimate Rap League’s “Double Impact” card to have been able to virtually go seamlessly from conception to fruition. Given their solidified position in this particular arena of the culture, I would assume losing to a debuting faction, albeit a faction consisting of two of the most note worthy entertainers in the genre, would be a direct shot to the ego of a team as celebrated as NWX.
“Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas! Fuck these niggas!”-Tay Roc
As illustrated above, the 6:57 mark of Guntitles vs NWX I is what set the tone for what consequently became one of the most aggressive, animosity filled contest of the modern era of the sport. Although the battle was inchoate in nature, ironically, that very same incompleteness and the minutiae that surrounded it is what thrust this match up into a realm of battle rap infamy.
Usage of the words controversy and sensationalism often serve as precursors to the word viral. Apart from the one sided nature of this particular contest, this is a contributing reason why Calicoe vs Math Hoffa currently sits at 1,403,895 views from Summer Madness I, but in contrast, Calicoe vs K-Shine, featuring an emotional outburst from Murda Mook, sits at 2,027,314 views. Likewise, Calicoe vs Arsonal, which includes an encounter between Arsonal and Trick-Trick has accumulated 3,036,913 views in comparison to Arsonal vs K-Shine which currently sits at 1,467,117 views. In addition, although the combatants’ stature at the time, the amount of channel subscribers at the time, the time that each respected battle was released, and the overall quality of the battle plays a major factor in the view count equation, at press time of this article, Guntitles vs NWX I has currently amassed1,884,485 views in the mere three months since it’s release.
(INTERMISSION FOR A SHAMELESS PLUG, #THESHOOTERSTDT #BIGPICTUREGRAPHX #THEDAMNTRUTHMAG)
In the first installment of this rivalry, I discussed briefly on The Shooters Radio how I appreciated the purposeful energy fromRoc and Surf in their performance. NWX allowing two fan favorites in their first outing as a team to go first was admittedly a strategic mistake on their part, as Guntitles created an environment that wasn’t conducive to the battle rap energy signature that had come to define NWX at that particular point and time. Some will disagree, but a case can be made for DNA being the most uniquely talented MC in battle rap, but what he lacks to most is something that’s been discussed ad nauseam, which is believability. For good or bad, NWX, as a team, sometimes feels like an extension of DNA, and this comes with it’s own particular set of pluses and liabilities. DNA’s freestyle ability was the sole saving grace when their failed attempt to go personal against Aye Verb backfired, but he was a liability versus Quest & Marv when the two Detroit legends decided to strategically spend their first two rounds virtually not acknowledging DNA’s presence whatsoever.
On a subsequent, and unfortunately unreleased, edition of The Shooters Radio, I stated that, to the contrary of most battle rap media, that NWX could beat Guntitles if; 1.) The rematch doesn’t happen “immediately” after Double Impact; 2.) if they acknowledge the first encounter as a loss early in the battle; and 3.) if the duo feels more so like an extension of K-Shine rather than DNA as a method of strategy in their next match up.
“Last time we battled Guntitles, y’all all know what happened…things got hectic for NWX, man,-they got crazy, but…being a champion, being a Warrior is all about learning from your mistakes…we learned…”-DNA
Forty seconds into their first round, ostensibly, NWX did indeed learn from their prior mishaps. They had the advantage of having material to reference this time around, as Guntitles was no longer an unproven commodity. The stage was cleared of all nonessential personnel which I felt, aesthetically, aided to negate a bit of the energy of Surf and Roc on stage. Battle rap is more psychological than many are willing to give it credit for, and all of these minute details contributed to setting a tone that K-Shine & DNA benefited from.
“Shine: Since you here, why the fuck they think you panic/a lot/..”
“DNA: Cause I control my temper and don’t fuck up the only chance/that I got/ you on the other hand want to fight in every battle..
“Shine: Bro, I don’t give a damn/bout’ this spot/ It’s space jam/I got my talent back as soon as I put my hands/ on a rock(Roc)/”
I don’t want to debate the quality of the sequence as quoted above, but more so that it represents a shift in strategy from the last time these two teams were paired up. You aren’t going to defeat Guntitles in the eyes of popular opinion with reverse sequences, convoluted scheming, simple scheming, convoluted punches or simplistic punches. You’re going to have to beat them by setting the pace and establishing your presence in the room early and matching their aggression, which is exactly whatDNA and K-Shine were able to do in the first round of this battle. As stated earlier, they felt more so like an extension of K-Shine rather than DNA, and that plan of action seemed to be moderately successful.
“Surf: I’m tired of watching fucking 2 on 2s-of this nigga…
“Roc: Me, too
“Surf: Talking about how his heater/spray/ Freestyling, sweatin'(?) machetes that shoot either/way…
“Roc: K-Shine just standing there…
“Surf: Doing nothing, you don’t even see/it/straight/that make him just like you’re mother, another bitch getting checks off DNA…”
Guntitles‘ first round began with a narrative that we previously discussed, which is to isolate DNA in their opening. Their game plan was sound in theory, but the variable of K-Shine taking the lead, at least on the surface, helped to nullify that angle. I’ve seen many who was in attendance live state that Roc and Surf didn’t have the same energy to begin as their debut performance, but I disagree. I felt that the aggression level of their 1st round in their prior showing rivaled this one, but the variable difference is that they went second and had to establish themselves after the energy was removed from the room after NWX‘s first round. This is a case of confusing crowd participation with the performer’s enthusiasm; The two aren’t necessarily linked. AlthoughGuntitles had a serviceable opener, it wasn’t enough to snatch the momentum from NWX.
“I got one thing for sure/two things for certain/this for Roc, this for Surf/ n’/ Oh, y’all waiting for name flips, I’m putting work/in/fuck flipping a name, I’m tryin’ flip a person/”-K-Shine
The overall theme that I hope to get across with this review is that NWX isn’t necessarily battling Guntitles. They’re battling their own perception as a result of battling Guntitles. The continuing and escalating story arc of the battle in this round is for NWX to be defined by K-Shine’s aggression and energy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was DNA who introduced the idea. Masquerading as K-Shine having to “prove himself”, he was positioned the first half of the 2nd round strategically to neutralize Guntitles‘ performance in their 1st in order not to lose any crowd favor. Although DNA would return the second half in order not to lose the round by default, enough was done early by Shine to cement their presence with the live audience, and to cast purposeful doubt on how to judge this round. Like I stated earlier, they’re not battling to win bar for bar, they’re battling not lose the performance war.
Guntitles‘ 2nd was enigmatic for my personal taste. I felt that they had the better round orchestration and more clever punches than Shine’s performance, but they also had more dry spots, less focus on their opponents and more questionable material. A perfect example of this is when they decided to throw barbs at Quest & Marv with, “The mutha fuckin weapons a bang, I send them Quest chin (question) in a box like the Jeopardy game”. This simply doesn’t make sense, but then they follow with what I felt was a clever retread of the Wheel of Fortune “box” rhymes from over the years with:
“Surf: I pull up to where they sell caskets like..
“Roc: I would like’em all…
“Surf: And fill every box like…
“Roc: I would like to solve…”
As a viewer, it’s difficult to stay engaged with hit and miss writing such as this. Adding this to what legitimately felt like a lack of enthusiasm from Guntitles in this round, partially I feel because of Shine’s performance, I begrudgingly edge this round to NWX.
The 3rd round was a regression of NWX to their form from the prior battle, and it felt more so like an exhibition with a little filler mixed with a few sharp jabs rather than a deliberate strategic attempt to win the round. It leaves an impression that NWX was playing to muddy the clarity of how to judge the battle rather than to actually beat Roc & Surf, but in the process, inadvertently edged Guntitles for the win. Guntitles‘ material in the 3rd, for the most part, wasn’t overly impressive, either. I felt as though both teams were racing to the finish line simply to end the battle rather than racing to victory.
Admittedly so, I’m an over analyzer, but it would also be a disservice to the MCs who take time to hone their craft to gloss over it simply because it’s easier to do so. With that being said, I felt NWX executed better with their objective in this battle to snatch the first two rounds, leaving the third up for an unenthusiastic debate of who had the least uninspired material.