Summer Madness X Recap: Calicoe, Ill Will, K-Shine & Holmzie Da God Shine Bright

The Ultimate Rap League hosted their Summer Madness X card this year and many are saying that it not only might it be the best card of the year, but one of the best cards ever.

Fans and industry insiders have said that out of the seven battles put on by URL on Saturday, September 19, six of them were bangers, with substantial replay value and two of them might be considered classics with the only real winner is the culture.

The Ultimate Madness 2 tournament finals opened up the card. All eyes were on the first battle because the two opponents, Bill Collector and Holmzie Da God, were brothers from the same Loud Boy crew. This “Cain and Abel” match was for a whopping grand prize of $25,000 — pushing the term friendly competition to its limited. In the end, HTG emerged as the victor.

The second battle of the night was breathtaking as John John da Don battled against Ill Will, in a battle that was originally scheduled to take place on NOME X. Bar for Bar, it was a demonstration of two elite emcees engaging the art of battling at its highest capacity. JJDD, aka the PG Killer, was at his optimal gifting but his opponent, Ill Will was just in a word, “different,” easing a gentleman’s 30 over an almost unbeatable Bullpen titan. This battle set the tone of the night, dusting the air with excellence and setting the bar for every single battle coming up after them.

Fan-favorite Charlie Clips returned to the battle rap stage after making his name (and earning his SAG card) on Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out series. Though not in the first two waves of organized battle rap, he is considered a pioneer. So his opponent had to be tremendous. The URL held not shorts and put him with someone considered the best battler in the culture right now, Geechi Gotti. Known for his street talk style punching, the Compton rapper was formidable. Another great battle, the 2-1 victory was etched by the elder emcee. Clips’ ability to choke but still come out of it and make even the choke look good, just highlighted his gained-variety-TV experience only made him more dangerous and more polished as a competitor.

There is something in that Schukyll punch that makes the emcees from Philly just a problem. Regardless of how long they have been in the game, that pedigree always makes you a potential outlier that could shift a battle at any time. Rum Nitty, though he has shared that he respected Reed Dollaz are a rapper, most not have gotten the memo. This was not the Rum Nitty that strikes fear in the hearts of other emcees.

He was lunching and not expecting Reed to come in and fire him all the way up. Nitty was outmatched by a ferocious pen and the desire to solidify himself in this new world of battle rap. Yeah… Dollaz is back.

Battle Rap from the Midwest was just as strong in the early 2000s as the hub of Harlem, the party-corners of Philly, and borough of the Bronx. But even with a hit movie produced by Hollywood, 8-mile, no one believed that spitters could hold water to the East Coast arrogance that easily boasts the origins of rap culture. At the helm of that movement to shift the narrative were Calicoe and Aye Verb. Ironically, they were so busy killing folk from New York, that they never got to battle each other.

That’s what made this a showdown of the two Midwest battle rap gods. SMX brought the two together and each rapper drew blood. Most have said, the “BANA” rapper bested the St. Louis OG, others (though few) have it the other way around. What this battle showed others how such rivalry in the culture should play out —with both getting a crazy bag to do what they both do best. #CalicoeIslandGodBlueprint

B-Dot and T-Top had the most debatable battle of the night. The two are considered the best anglers in the culture and the style clash made this the only preference-based debatable that the card offered. B-Dot, the Black Consciousness Gang Banger went up against the hustle talking T-Top. Top’s angle targeted several hypocrisies in B-Dot’s Pan-Africanism and to the contrary, the West Coast rapper took the approach of T-Top’s lack of protection of the Black woman — even as he is a father raising a Black girl. Debatable aside, this battle is being called one of the battles of the year. B-Dot for having two battles that are contenders for the battle of the year!

NWX’s K-Shine and Cake Lyfe/ Cave Gang/ Gun Titles Chess took to battle at SMX, anchoring the day’s competition. Chess was in rare form, rapping like at 95% without stumble or flaw, however, that was not enough to top the seasoned K-Shine who could easily be considered one of the best rappers (battle per battle) to ever took to the battle arena. Without question, Chess is a beast, but K-Shine’s pacing and unorthodox brilliance taught the young Bronx Bomber that he is not ready to consistently battle the upper echelons of competitors. Sure, you will say that he was talking to Lux and Hollow.

But he was not alone, he stood beside the veteran Tay Roc — who understands the cheat codes for pioneers and this new breed of emcees— and helped him get the “W.” K-Shine shined his light and showed the young rapper’s extraordinary gifts, his youthful aggression but also the few (very few) places where his armor is chinked. SMX showed that Chess is an animal to be feared, but Shine continues to prove he is the King of the Jungle.

Summer Madness X continues to be a prized franchise for the URL. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, it proved to be a fan favorite and wets the whistle of the people who loves battling.