While many are just falling in love with the first Hip-Hop sports battle rap, others like the Ultimate Rap League have worked for over a decade to perfect the smallest details of the contest and to create the biggest and brightest stars. It was this collective of masterminds that formatted battle rap in the three-round fashion with time limits, creating a blueprint for every other group after, with Eminem’s 8 Mile and MTV’s Fight Club to follow.
Smack White flipped the script in 2009 from his legendary DVDs to the UFF styled competition and his team is still hustling and evolving in an attempt to stay on top of a swiftly developing industry.
Initially, this year was mapped and with a new partnership with Drake and Caffeine TV, the URL was set to best last year’s epic itinerary of events. Then … the coronavirus pandemic hit and like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and all other forms of contact gaming … the battle rap world came to a halt.
At least momentarily.
Some leagues did online competitions (even URL did that with their Sterilized series). Others took the chance and just had battles with people, resulting in quite a few battle rappers testing positive for COVID-19.
But like the innovators that they are, SMACK URL has continued this year’s battling events with a franchise title (NOME X) and two revamps of classic tentpoles. Back in the day, the way you got on URL was through the Proving Grounds. Now, you can only go through the new American Idol-like process, The Crucible. In 2013, the Ultimate Rap League took their producing gifts (and artists) to 106 & Park for the Ultimate Freestyle Fridays but now have flipped it to something bigger and better with way more than a title at stake. Battlers walk away with the big bank in this next incarnation called Ultimate Madness (UM).
The first season of Ultimate Madness kicked the summer off with newcomer Fonz from Ohio copping $25,000 for coming out on top.
The second season starts this Saturday, August 1st with some of battle rap’s most notable names entering in for the chance at the big bag.
Th3 Saga vs. Holmzie Da God, Glueazy vs. Emerson Kennedy, Danny Myers vs. Reepah Rell, and Tink da Demon vs. Franchise will face off In the first leg of this tournament-style competition.
The following Saturday, these emcees — Loso vs. Nunn Nunn, Mr. Wavy vs. Steams, Mike P vs. Ryda, and Young Cannon vs. Bill Collector — will engage in lyrical warfare.
URL and Caffeine TV have partnered with Woobox to allow fans to participate by entering into a bracket war, where they will have a free chance to win serious cash. If you sign up to Caffeine TV, you can go to woobox.caffeine.tv and hop on the opportunity to win 1st place $2500, 2nd place $1000, or 3rd place $500.
Judges for the season are Tony Bro, who returns to sit with the legendary battle rap icon, Iron Solomon, The “Queen” of the emcee ring, 40 BARRS, and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man.
Through their partnership with Drake and Caffeine, the league has been able to implement 24-hour mandatory COVID-19 testing before the battles. The first round takes place this Saturday, August 1 at 4 pm EST (1 pm PST) on Caffeine TV.
There is never a dull moment with URL