[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 TheShootersTDT…because I own them shits…]
Most battle rap fans are hype-beast. Often times, the fans, for a myriad of reasons, want what is considered to constitute a “must see” match-up in the culture without actually really understanding why they want to see it in the first place. At the time, I was in the minority of stating that Loaded Lux vs Hollow Da Don was a blockbuster match up, but not the blockbuster match up to be had in battle rap. I was, and still am, more interested in Loaded Lux vs Aye Verb. After the fact, when profiles have been both built and broken, it’s easier to go back in retrospect with an opinion without taking into consideration the placement and the energy in the culture at the time.
A select few elements usually dictate what is a “must see” match up, and they usually follow these tropes.
- The Grudge Match
- The Mirror Match
- An Extended Inability for the Battle to be Booked
- History That Can Be Exploited For Promotional Usage
As a spectator during the early stages of the modern renaissance of battle rap, I understand why Aye Verb vs Loaded Lux would have been a ground making moment in the culture. It has elements of all four of my previously listed bullet points to play off of, but it hasn’t been presented as such or as a possibility to the battle rap lexicon to fully be considered in that light in contrast to how Hitman Holla vs Shotgun Suge has been. There are few organically built match-ups for a variety of reasons, but Tay Roc vs Rum Nitty has maturated into a spectacle worthy of a Night of Main Events billed event for the relative current modern day culture of battle rap, and in my opinion, it is essential that it takes places for the longevity of the aesthetic as a whole.
“For one, if a nigga put on a great performance, if I do say ‘Man, Nitty got to put in more work’, what they go say!?..keep it real, cause I’m fucking Tay Roc, and if I tell this punk ass nigga (points to Nitty)…and if I tell this nigga he gone have to wait…what they go say!?..keep it trill”- Tay Roc
Tay Roc is a made man in the industry. He is synonymous with the Smack/URL brand, widely known as being one of “Smack’s gunners”, an association that has aided him very well along with his hard work and consistent professionalism in an industry that, at times, severely lacks professionalism and accountability. He respects the competitive nature of the genre, taking on all challengers with the same resoluteness as the one prior with no regard for industry stature and/or profile. As illustrated above, he is an MC who is totally aware of his position, but doesn’t rest in it or use it as a crutch or as a built in excuse to avoid competition.
Rum Nitty, by contrast, could be consider as a self-made man in the industry. He’s one of the few who’s work ethic and brand building ability allowed him to circumvent the traditional Proving Ground’s system of the URL and jump directly into the fray against proven and stamped competition on the big stage. Nitty is believable, a word used to measure the authenticity from a performer’s material on stage in contrast to his real world persona. In battle rap, it’s a rare bird for a MC to possess both “believability” and to also be in the discussion of the upper tier elite pens in the genre, but he has managed to pull off this feat.
During our recap of Rum Nitty vs Ill Will on TheShootersTDT Radio, I stated that Rum Nitty out rapped Ill Will, but that Ill Will out battled Rum Nitty. I suspect that the encounter between Rum Nitty and Tay Roc has the potential to travel down a similar path, but Nitty has essentially won the personal brand war before the battle has even taken place. In the eyes of many, Roc vs Nitty is the default main event for this card. Nitty has arrived at a destination in the URL that took Tay Roc years of consistent performances on the worlds biggest stage to achieve in less than one calendar year. From here on out, fans will never question why Rum is battling an established vet, and it is more likely that they will question any possible future opponents as being “beneath” him.
NOME 6, when it’s all said and done, will be a demarcation period in the history of the culture. Most of the match-ups represent a changing of the guard placing veteran mainstays against individuals who, at one point in time, was/or is seen as being the next torchbearer in an industry that exhibits cognitive dissonance with whether or not it actually wants that change that it claims to seek.
Roc/Nitty, along with other battles on this card, is the opportunity for battle rap to prove if it truly wants to evolve and elevate other names, or if the culture will continue to be a slave to the slew of casual fans who will only acknowledge performers with views totaling over two million in count who have most likely never spent a dollar on the culture, while the “hardcore” enthusiast continue to be the financial crutch of an industry that caters to the hobbyist.
With that being said, it’s impossible to predict an performer’s approach, but I suspect that Rum Nitty will come into this battle attempting to out “gun bar” Tay Roc, which he will, but he will also neglect to have enough direct moments in this battle to make it feel like it’s an actual battle, and not just a lyrical exhibition. Tay Roc, on the contrary, will be animated, focused and ready to kill with enough emotionally charged personal moments to engage the viewer. Nitty will out rap Tay Roc in every round, but I have Tay Roc winning this battle, 2-1, losing the first, but winning the last two.