Battling has always been a huge component of hip hop culture. From the days of its inception, the culture has always been influenced by the aggressive, lyrically-driven, competitive nature associated with battling. While some artists become known for their hits, emcees such as Busy Bee, Kool Moe Dee, and even LL Cool J remain infamous for their role in the battle culture over the years. With that being said, proponents of battle culture are as excited as they have ever been over the past few decades, as the Ultimate Warrior Battle League is set to host arguably the biggest rap battle event in history this weekend.
The Ultimate Warrior Battle League (often referred to as UW) will host its largest event ever, High Stake$, on Sunday January 26th in Elizabeth City, New Jersey. The event has created a tremendous buzz in the battle community for several reasons, and looks as though it will have an incredible impact on the culture as a whole. In the main event battle of the card, battle rap legend Loaded Lux will match wits with the highly decorated veteran Hollow Da Don in a faceoff that has been eagerly anticipated since both of the emcees returned to battle rap in 2012.
The High Stake$ event came to fruition on the eve of a shortcoming on the part of fellow battle entity SMACK/URL (Ultimate Rap League). SMACK/URL has been a major player in the culture for roughly a decade, originally building its brand from street DVDs regarding the culture of hip hop and its biggest performers (battles were included as bonus content on each DVD). Moving into this generation of battle rap, the URL is viewed as the largest and most respected among the numerous leagues due to their longevity, and they consistently attempt to provide quality content to fans around the world. After a slight lull in activity, the URL returned to prominence in recent years through the cultivation of new talent and the return of legendary emcees. Among the handful of legends to return, Harlem battler Loaded Lux made the biggest splash, putting on an incredible performance against newcomer Calicoe en route to millions of views and an equal amount of buzz to go along with them. After patiently awaiting the announcement of Lux’s next potential opponent, fans were surprised to find out that the legend would soon be called out by another battle rap star in Queens native Hollow Da Don. A fan favorite due to his incredible freestyle ability, Hollow’s taunting marked his own return to battling following his recent incarceration. Although billed as the rap equivalent of Mayweather-Pacquiao, the potential Loaded Lux vs. Hollow Da Don battle would soon meet a similar fate as the URL was unwilling to take the financial risk of the matchup. Seeing an opportunity, UW founder Arsonal Da Rebel (a veteran battle emcee himself) would swiftly announce that his company would be hosting the Lux-Hollow battle in the months to come. While the initial reaction was confusion, the release of a full card (along with confirmation from the battlers themselves) has made the dream matchup a reality.
The High Stake$ main event matches up Lux’s incredible lyricism with Hollow’s game-changing freestyle rebuttals in what is sure to be a classic faceoff. The battle also makes history from a financial aspect for the battlers, as the reported payout ($40,000 for Lux, $20,000 for Hollow) makes this the richest battle in the history of the culture. Furthermore, the entire event will be available for purchase on live Ustream pay-per-view, a feature which has been seen few and far between at battle events of this magnitude. In addition to the huge main event, High Stake$ will feature three additional noteworthy matchups on the card. For one, both of the main event battlers’ most recent opponents will square off as Detroit’s Calicoe takes on Newark’s Tsu Surf. Also, St. Louis emcee Hitman Holla takes on New Jersey standout O-Red in an interesting contrast of styles. Finally, punchline extraordinaire B-Magic takes on the enigmatic Daylyt in what might be the most lyrical match on the card.
High Stake$ is without a doubt one of the most discussed events in battle rap history. The combination of hosting the biggest battle, the option for pay-per-view, and the controversy and hype surrounding it all have built the anticipation for this event to monstrous heights. January 26th is right around the corner, and it will be interesting to see the battles and their aftermath. If the UW manages to make this event as successful as it’s hyped to be, we could be witnessing a paradigm shift in the world of battle rap as we know it.