In light of Hollow Da Don squaring off against Joe Budden at Saturday's "Total Slaughter," here are 10 examples of his brand of lyrical swordplay.
Many eyes will be on Hollow Da Don during this weekend’s “Total Slaughter” event. Getting his start in the freestyle era, Hollow was one of the few emcees able to seamlessly transition into the written era of Battle Rap. With his aggression, clever rebuttals and charismatic stage presence, he gained fans in both New York’s street battle scene as well as California’s more lyrical and comedy-based Grind Time Now league.
Some passionate and knowledgeable fans have tracked his rise through the Battle Rap ranks both before and after his incarceration. Aside from checking his multiple videos, readers can stay up to date on all things Hollow Da Don at BattleRap.com.
As Hollow prepares to enter the ring against established industry artist Joe Budden at this weekend’s “Total Slaughter” event, we thought we’d take a look back at some of Hollow’s most memorable lines over the years. Also check out Hollow's clothing line LOM (Loyalty Ova Money).
Hollow Da Don vs. Aye Verb
Event: Street Status 2009 DVD
Notable Bars: “And just for givin’ the baby life, I even wish the nurse’s death / But wait y’all, that ain’t the worsest yet / I slept on the church’s steps to sneak into his funeral to make sure his hearse gets wrecked / Nigga, I’ma come on my Em shit, dive in it and hide for five minutes / Come back with a Fuck Aye Verb hat and a t-shirt that says I did it…”
Context: In 2009 Hollow visited St. Louis for a tense battle against Aye Verb on Verb’s own turf. Hollow’s second round is an early example of what became a staple of his style: wishing terrible things upon his opponent and their loved ones. First he says that he hopes Verb overdoses on Percocets and his pregnant wife has a birth defect, and then he really starts cooking. Very cold stuff.
Hollow Da Don vs. Big T
Event: SMACK / URL Presents Hollow Da Don vs. Big T
Notable Bars: “How you gonna Battle me with a style that I made up / Remember against Deacon Frost / He said you’ll need Jason, Saw XI, if they was all mixed / He even waved his arms with the balled fists / Nigga that’s Da Don’s shit!”
Context: Most hardcore fans could quote every Hollow verse from the classic URL battle against Big T in 2010, but these were arguably some of the best...punctuated by five simple words.
Hollow Da Don vs. Philly Swain Pt. 1
Event: Grind Time Now Presents: Hollow Da Don vs. Philly Swain Pt. 1
Notable Bars: “I got the word in Philly, he spark the toolie / He grab the M-16, let off the Uzzi / Shiiiit…. On Call of Duty.”
Context: One of Hollow’s strengths is his sense of humor, especially when using it against aggressive gun-bar rappers like in this 2009 Grind Time battle versus Philly Swain. Hollow quickly negated Swain’s first-round threats with his opening verse.
Hollow Da Don vs. Tsu Surf
Event: Smack/URL Presents NOME 3: Hollow Da Don vs. Tsu Surf
Notable Bars: “You like to play swear to God / I wanna play swear to God too / Swear to God we wasn't in Detroit and you said Joe Budden is pussy and everything he write was trash / You swear to God you ain't say everything he write is trash / This is why I don't like these battle rapping niggas with they lying ass / I'm a do the battle standing over here, cause God 'bout to strike his ass...”
Context: After almost two years off because of a stint behind bars, Hollow returned to battle New Jersey-native (and Joe Budden compatriot) Tsu Surf at URL’s NOME 3 in the summer of 2013. The end result was heavily debated on Twitter, including by Kevin Durant and Drake. Hollow’s line about Surf having fans “blindfolded by the trash like a Febreze commercial” was widely quoted, but his attack on Surf’s friendship with Budden was relentless.
Hollow Da Don vs. Passwurdz
Event: Grind Time Now Presents Battle Of The Bay: Hollow Da Don vs. Passwurdz
Notable Bars: “Ignore his dickriders, they gon’ hype him up like he tough / He’ll rhyme hollow’ with swallow, and they’ll be like Wooo, how he write this stuff?’”
Context: Hollow has a ton of memorable moments here, including his “intercom in a generator” line that subsequent opponents mocked him about for being nonsense. But it’s his first-round opener that makes our list. The line was strategically brilliant and stifled any hometown advantage Passwurdz held.
Hollow Da Don vs. Okwerdz
Event: Grind Time Now Presents Battle Of LA 3: Hollow Da Don vs. Okwerdz
Notable Bars: “I don’t think his English superb / He weak with the noun and flow lame with the verbs / If you go back to his name it refers / He's just O-K with the words...”
Context: After a very solid Okwerdz rebuttal, Hollow immediately went into another iconic line, flipping Okwerdz’s name. The whole crowd, including Aceyalone from Freestyle Fellowship and Luckyiam of Living Legends, nodded enthusiastically. A couple of rows back you can see Dizaster mouthing the words, “That was dope.”
Hollow Da Don vs. Loaded Lux
Event: UW Battle League Presents Loaded Lux vs. Hollow Da Don
Notable Bars: “I mean my bars give you that, Mmm, I just shitted face / His bars give you that, Hmm, I think I get it face.”
Context: This battle, from January 2014, was the most hyped matchup of the written era (until Hollow vs. Budden was announced, arguably). Loaded Lux was still riding a huge wave of buzz after his historic comeback against Calicoe at URL’s Summer Madness 2 in 2012. But with clever angles, Hollow twisted Lux’s whole style against him. He turned his eloquence into verbosity, his complexity into obfuscation and his street preacher persona into a false prophet. The approach lasted for most of the second round, but the above line summed it up perfectly.
Hollow Da Don vs. Big T
Event: SMACK / URL Presents Hollow Da Don vs. Big T
Notable Bars: “‘Cause I’m good if I’m guaped up, but I’m robbing if I ain’t good on no cash / Hustle on the block with you, see where you hid your shit, leave, then come back in a hood for your stash / Rob your bag, he like, We just hustled together / I’m like, Don’t get your bread cooked for a half / Jim Carrey style, I act different when I put on that mask...”
Context: Consider this a prime example of Hollow showing off his ability to vividly paint scenes of violence. The crowd in the background of the battle is full of familiar faces, including Math Hoffa, DNA, Cortez, Calicoe and (a beardless) Smack White. Their reactions to the verse said it all.
Hollow Da Don vs. Arsonal
Event: Fight Klub Presents Arsonal vs. Hollow Da Don
Notable Bars: “You gon’ need Michael Jordan’s ball, Jeff Gordon’s car, Ken Norton’s jaw, and some very important bars / Nigga you gon’ have to run a mile or two with 50 pound weights tied to you / Then come back doing Street Fighter moves, I never seen Guile or Ryu do / Nigga it better be a hadouken and a sonic boom…”
Context: A sports-related take on the ever-popular “You gon need” riff takes a sharp turn when Hollow incorporates five references from the iconic video game Street Fighter. This doesn’t do much to disprove the stereotype of Battle Rap as being nerdy, but if you want the crowd on your side, pull out some references to one of the most popular video games of all time.
Hollow Da Don vs. Hitman Holla
Event: Smack/URL Presents Hitman Holla vs. Hollow Da Don
Notable Bars: “I Brewed her / I Boozed her / You woulda thought the Bulls was playing / I mean, I ain’t Know her / But when that D-Rose / She was like, Dang!”
Context: Again, this one was also punchline heavy. But if a battle or even just an individual round is reliant upon punchlines, best to attach with some clever wordplay as evidenced by these Chicago Bulls-influenced bars. Current and former Bulls Ronnie Brewer (Brewed her), Carlos Boozer (Boozed her), Joakim Noah (Know her), Derrick Rose (D rose) and Luol Deng (Dang) all get incorporated into a hilarious verse about Hollow making the beast with two backs with Hitman’s girl.
RELATED: 10 Infamous Joe Budden Battle Bars