"With this Hip Hop shit, a lot of people separate battling from mainstream," Norbes says. "So to get them to actually watch it and understand what we're doing is a blessing."
In an interview with VladTV, co-manager of the SMACK/URL league Norbes and Proving Ground (PG) emcee Ah Di Boom detailed the filming process of the second season of the BET network’s 106 & Park Ultimate Freestyle Friday segment. The weekly segment is produced in a partnership with SMACK and the Ultimate Rap League and premiered March 28.
“The season was insane,” Norbes said. “Ah Di did his thing. Everybody going there was dope matchups. I think there’s a few classics. A lot of people was feeling like it was gonna be watered down because of Season 1—Season 1 was okay. It wasn’t season two. Season 2 was just, you know, Sno was disrespectful, Ty Law’s punches, Ah Di’s aggression, it was a lot going on. You could actually sit there and have that same SMACK feeling if you was at an event and was watching a tournament...I was really happy with it, they gave us a little more time to work, I’m excited. It was dope.”
Asked about his ambitions coming into the tournament, PG rapper Ah Di Boom described many of the competitors feeling overwhelmed by thought of battling on a television set.
“I was actually very hungry,” he said. “It didn’t hit me until they opened them doors, though. When they opened them doors and you saw the cameras, the lights, the brick wall, the UFF logo, that’s when it really hit you like, ‘Dang, this is really about to go down.’ A lot of people was walking up to me like, ‘Yo, we really about to battle.’ There was a very few of us trying to calm the other people down like, ‘Yo, son, it’s just a battle. There’s gonna be a tomorrow.’ That’s how I live though, it’s gonna be a tomorrow. So today’s gonna be over and it’s gonna be a tomorrow, we gotta do what we gotta do.
“It was a fun experience, it was a nice experience,” he added. “Even the people that won, even the people that lost, they can still say, ‘I was on BET.’ It was a great experience. Facts.”
Speaking on the progression in judging between the two seasons, Norbes explained being proud of leaving the celebrity judges impressed and invested in the league.
“I think it was more fair for the simple fact that you had people who listen to bars,” he said comparing seasons’ judging. “You have somebody like Jadakiss who is the king of the punchlines in Rap period, him and Fab probably. You had Kay Slay. You had DJ Kid Capri who is an avid fan. Capri watches everything over. He understands. To me it was more fun, last season it was a lot of kids in the background, they were going off of energy and certain things. You actually had real debates, you had Kay Slay debating with...Saigon.
“What I loved about it was how excited they were,” he added. “Like Troy Ave. Shout out to Troy Ave. That’s the homie from Brooklyn, was like, ‘I never been to a battle, this is the shit.’ Never been to a battle and was like, ‘Yo I fuck with this shit. I wanna come to an event.’ That was a good feeling to see. With this Hip Hop shit, a lot of people separate battling from mainstream. So to get them to actually watch it and understand what we’re doing is a blessing. It gotta come together. So to see that and see our peers, people we grew up with, that enjoy it, was dope. It was a good feeling.”