Smack Presents URL: Classic Battle Edition
The Ultimate Rap League is a bit of a misnomer. Most times when the concept of any kind of league comes to mind, folks think about wins, loses, schedules, officials and such. You know, NBA-type stuff. The things going down in this league, however, don’t have much to do with points or conference standings. These lyrical athletes from across the map are centrally focused on making their points and keeping a solid standing in the hood.
Star, one-half of the controversial Star ‘n Buc Wild entertainment team, serves as the URL referee during the battles on the intense DVD. The physical location comes off pretty neutral, what with an elevated stage and hungry onlookers on both sides. But seeing as how the bout is taped somewhere in the Apple, rappers with New York ties still come off with the unofficial edge in "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs" from the sidelines.
Still, Star is solid in giving equal time to those on the undercard as well as the two emcees, T-Rex and Math Hoffa, squaring off in the marquee bout. Homie’s got a stopwatch and everything to keep things in check. There are even breaks between rounds where URL cuts to the likes of Nipsey Hussle and Freeway for musical intermissions that have three times more heat than anything you’ll find during an NBA halftime.
As for the actual rhyming, some of the underground’s finest represent. Head Ice, Frenchie, Liaison, Stimuli, Iron Solomon and Murda Mook all see a cappella action. And that’s just during the harmless cyphers. Ish gets Dame Grease for the battles. Big-T and Deacon Frost start things off. The head-to-head is cool, but neither really puts his stamp on the night.. Young Miles then gives it to Rich Dolarz and tells’em to keep the change. There’s a hot Cortez vs. X-Factor duel. The homies go in too. Like watching Rihanna and Keri Hilson in an oil-splattered catfight, you kinda want them both to win.
Ah, but therein lies the only real gripe with the Ultimate Rap League—there’s no definitive victor or victim. Take the fussed-over T-Rex-Math headliner, for example. The two hurl lyrical jab after jab at one another. When one stumbles, he comes right back with 16 stingers of his own. It would’ve been ill seeing the likes of Lord Finesse, M.O.P.’s Lil Fame and the rest in the audience determine the winners with a vote.
Even still, you can’t really complain. The event is filled with fiery competition, expiring shot clocks and memorable performances under pressure. The URL ain’t perfect, but it settles more than its share of underground scores.