Adam & Cuth - Letters EP (Cover)Adam Kammerling, more commonly known in hip-hop circles as Adam The Rapper, doesn’t really fit a pre-determined stylistic box. He isn’t an overtly “conscious” emcee, a comedy rapper or an avant-garde obsessive; he just plays himself – an unpretentious Brighton-bred, London-based emcee entirely unbound by a need to seek fame and recognition through his artistic exploits.

In the process of aspiring to the plain and simple, he’s in some ways adopted a kind of frontier mentality: a certain freedom to mix influences and depart from both hip-hop and spoken-word traditions through his cross-cultural merging of the two art forms. Far from being an ego-driven genre contrarian, Adam ensconces the listener into his easily accessible, organic sound without the need of didacticism or forced abstraction.

His latest release, The Letters EP, is a fresh, delectably simple and original mutation which successfully marries spoken-word and rap sensibilities. Soul-drenched, sample-heavy beats suspend a medley of serenely self-possessed musings on everyday life and the human condition. Chock-full of heady and happy reflection, the EP never aims to be anything but a laid-back and comfortably sedated affair, whilst providing just enough nuggets of wisdom and insight to pique the listener’s curiosity. In thrall to the notion that art can never remain too stagnant, the most important factor in this release is not just to please the listener, but to also give them something to think about.

Characteristically scruffy and off-kilter, Adam is a fringe-dweller who’s contented to stay grounded in the face of stresses generated in the course of modern living. Without talking witlessly and in mindless platitudes about the day-to-day struggle we all face, Adam prefers to gently massage his own wisdom into the roots of this EP through a sound that is unmistakably of the old-school. Never ranting or rallying, though occasionally betraying his weariness with the current state of the hip-hop (a seemingly inescapable trope of underground hip-hop), Adam prefers, for the most part, to wax lyrical about his abiding love of books, a decent cupper, and a simple life divested of high-octane distractions.

Both Adam and beatmaker Cuth evidently share a similar worldview and enjoy an unerring intuition on this EP. A hand-crafted duo functioning in a smooth, symbiotic arrangement, they’ve taken a traditional format and tried to do something interesting with it — their collaboration being a distilled wisdom gained through careful thought and meditation, merry mishaps and a willingness to drift through life’s challenges with a clear and level-head.

Devoid of pretence, the EP’s sound is a perfect antidote to listeners weary of hearing rappers possessed of huge egos and an obscene fetishism of money and materialism. Carrying a self-conscious hippie image that thankfully never congeals into shtick, Adam shines as a light of quiet transcendence in the UK rap game, gracefully tracing his steps towards spiritual self-fulfilment.

Stripped-down and unelaborate, the EP is solid proof that good music is very often, if not most often, simple music that coaxes traditional elements and occasional innovative flourishes into magical submission.

Download The Letters EP @ http://adamandcuth.bandcamp.com

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Strange, Lively, & Commonplace“They call me The Ruby Kid; I don’t make protest rap.”

It’s already been two years since Sheffield-hatched, London-based emcee The Ruby Kid released his superlative Maps EP, a CD which garnered a long list of laudatory reviews by writers and bloggers such as myself. Since then, he’s decided to put rap on the back burner, and instead devote much of his energy to pushing the ever-burgeoning London spoken-word scene forward. His new release, Strange, Lively, & Commonplace, proves however, that he hasn’t abandoned hip-hop altogether just yet.

Like Maps, his new release pivots on the border of hip-hop and spoken-word poetry, and successfully draws together elements of both art-forms in defining a style quite distinct from that of any other UK artist out there. In many ways, the four-track EP represents a continuation of Maps, especially in how it forges sensibilities that emerge from the artist’s own daily political, social and introspective experiences within the spatial framework of the capital. For Ruby, the music serves as a canvas onto which he brushes his ideas, the meaning of which we as listeners are left to infer.

Though his lyricism is especially dense and poetic, he is sure not to privilege his words over his music, and DJ/producer Dan Angell’s input on the EP in this regard is crucial. Angell’s well-crafted arrangements wring out the tension of Ruby’s edgy, disembodied poetics superbly and provide subtle harmonic sequences for genuine narrative arcs to develop throughout each track. Spare and frugal, bar a few horn flourishes and kooky indie film samples, the EP is a very slick and sophisticated soundscape in which the percussion, key and bass layers interlock seamlessly.

For the most part, The Ruby Kid’s lyrical praxis remains much the same in this EP as it was in Maps. Rejecting mawkish over-sentimentality, he broods over topics and expounds his observations through a nuanced lexicon, shot through with hard and powerful flashes of realism. Much like indie rap forebear Aesop Rock, The Ruby Kid aims to challenge the listener to educe meaning from his music rather than merely spoon-feeding them, and much beholden to his hip-hop idol, he even quotes several memorable lines out of Labor Days.

Despite its brevity, Strange, Lively, & Commonplace certainly doesn’t disappoint. There are a few minor flaws; the choruses for example, lack vitality and Ruby’s cadence could also arguably do with more variation, but the EP’s combination of dense poetic lyricism over cleverly-wrought, low-key instrumentals is still sure to provide a compelling listen to any attentive musical ear.

Download Strange, Lively and Commonplace for free here.

By Alex Bartiromo

In 2012, knowledge on how to run a good battle rap event is largely shared by those invested in the scene. Legitimate and reputable venues are rented out, professional video crews are hired, and top-tier battles are booked. However, one area that remains an enigma is the crowd, whose comportment from event to event remains erratic and unpredictable. A good crowd can bring energy to an event, act as a boon to the battlers by holding them to a high standard, and allow everyone involved (including internet viewers) to have a good time. However, it is a rare occasion when a battle rap crowd actually behaves like this, often eschewing positive, controlled hype and respect in favor of disconcerting rowdiness, hometown bias, lack of knowledge, and intolerable harassment of the battlers that they have paid to see.

First off, can we all agree that the crowd does not impact the result of a battle? Good. Now that we’ve established that (and really, there’s nothing to establish – it’s practically a truism), we can begin discussing what role the crowd does and should play in the battle rap world, as well as analyze the behavior of some of them around the world.

The Don’t Flop crowd has frustrated me in the past. They have a tendency to laugh at bad jokes and stand stoically when someone is actually rapping something of value. The most extreme example of this is the rise of Lunar C, who crushed weak opposition before quasi-retiring without facing any top-tier battlers. His stationary style would not have survived in any other battle league, where he would have been forced to improve and test himself by a crowd that would hold him accountable (except perhaps the all but defunct Grind Time, but that is no compliment. Were this an isolated incident, it would not be so bad, but the Don’t Flop crowd (and judges, too) have failed to be the quality control that big time battle leagues need. Don’t Flop has showed indifference to this (but alarm at the fact that people are complaining about it) stating recently on their Facebook page, “All that matters is that the crowds at our events are the ones who bother to pay and come watch it live, which funds the next event. Who are we to judge their level of interest in the scene when they are the ones who mean we can continue to do shows?” While I respect and sympathize with this point of view, I have to disagree.

Regarding the first half of the statement, what the post fails to mention is that not everyone can pay or watch it live. Take me, for example. I am a huge Don’t Flop fan, and have been following the league since 2009. But I have never attended an event. Why? Because I live in New York City. They have not yet had a PPV event a-la Vendetta, something which I would gladly pay for. Obviously, not everyone’s situation reflects mine, but there are a myriad of reasons why “hardcore” fans cannot attend a Don’t Flop event. As for the second part of the statement, it is not as much a judgment of interest as it is one of respect (and to be fair, Don’t Flop clarified in the comments section of this post that they are attempting to expunge the chatter that goes on from the back of the crowd in many battles from their shows). While it is appalling to me that a new fan of Don’t Flop would not want to at least peruse some of the league’s back catalogue, he/she should not be forced or expected to do so. What they can be expected to do, though, is to respect battlers that they don’t know or that are not their favorites and to enter battles with an unbiased attitude, giving both rappers their rapt attention, and not heckling one in particular for being white, black, skinny, gay, female, American, Malaysian, et al. You get the gist. To read further about crowd bias, check out David Masters (who, despite holding no official position in the battle rap world as far as I know, is as much of an authority on these matters as there is) blog post on this website (for the record, I started writing this post before his article was posted and I was not aware that he was writing it, hence the overlap).

In a vastly different world exists the Ultimate Rap League crowd, which is mainly filled with dedicated, intense fans that, due to their lack of patience for anything which they deem to be below the utmost standard of quality, force the league’s battlers to perform to the best of their abilities. Always. In the URL, even a minor choke, which in other leagues like King of the Dot or Ozone Battles would be largely pardoned and met with support for the rapper, will incite heckling and jeering that cannot be recovered from and that damages a rapper’s credibility for months to come. It is often unfair, but ultimately, it is good for the quality of the battles, because rappers never show up unprepared.

Where this intolerance becomes a problem, though, is when it spills into the domain of style, with many URL fans unwilling to accept rappers who don’t perform in the “street” fashion (gun bars, exposing the other rapper to be a fake gangster, etc.). At its worst, this can become tantamount to racism, which makes it intimidating and difficult for battlers of different styles (especially if they are white) to attempt to ply their trade there. Recently there have been signs that this attitude is changing. Real Deal, who is white and does not rap in the “street” style, has broken in to the league, but only with a great deal of work. In his most recent battle, versus B-Magic, Real Deal put in a daring, even intrepid performance. But some of the material that he used to fantastic effect in his later rounds (“I’ll take your wig off like a Native American”, “But what happens when the black goes up against the white and loses/ Aight then”) would not have been possible had he not brought the crowd over to his side early on. Deal was smart to acknowledge that he is different from the typical URL battler; he is. One of his first bars was to hint at URL’s catchphrase, “Real nigga time”, without saying it (which would have been disastrous), forcing the crowd to fill in the missing words for him, and then thanking them for “making the exception”. This communicated to the crowd that, yes, he is different than them, that yes, he understands that, but that yes, he was going to come to their stage and perform, and that they should try to understand where he was coming from. And, to their credit, they did. As far as I’m concerned, this is a positive development. It shows that at least some of the URL crowd is able to accept rappers of different backgrounds and styles as long as they put in top-tier performances.

If that trend continues, the league will truly dominate the battle rap world. However, there is still a long way to go. One only has to scroll down to the comments section of the Real Deal vs. B-Magic battle to observe the (euphemistic) xenophobia coming from many of the fans of the league that are afraid of change and development. Smack White must be daring and take the uncharted path of tolerance if he wants his league to be as successful as it can be.

In a way, it is good that these two companies are dealing with this similar problem, and the reasons are twofold. For one, “crowd control issues” is distinctly a problem that a successful brand has. If these two companies were really struggling, no one would be discussing the crowd, as there would probably be more pressing issues. This is the problem of two companies verging on the brink of (relative) mainstream attention and success, attempting to figure out how to best put together their package before making that jump. The second reason is that both fans and people within each respective organization are talking about this openly, and discussion will lead to education which may even help, in part, to solve the problem.

However, the problem still does exist, and there is only so much Eurgh or Smack can do to help solve it. The fans have to take it upon themselves to be more respectful and open-minded, and only then will we achieve that electric atmosphere that can make battle events so classic all the time.

@Alex70394

By David “The Mast” Masters

Society, by its very nature, is about group behaviour. The idea that we all have to work together for the better of everyone is as old as societies themselves.  We all have our own sub-groups in which we move, and associate ourselves with people we like or need to know.

I’ve never been one for bias, in any situation. So, though I love the people who I would consider my own, I will never give preferential treatment where it counts. It isn’t productive, really. How good someone is at any given task is not determined by how much you like them, and this is an idea that people seriously need to understand in the British battle rapping community.

I constantly see people retweeting their friends battles, which is fine. Rarely will you see someone take an unfavourable stance on their friends’ battles, though. There is more Twitter beef or interaction than there are actual battles nowadays, and people let this cloud their vision of how good or bad someone can be. Callumboom’s legendarily dreadful performance against Impact was met with almost universal scorn on the Don’t Flop Facebook,  but he had an army of never-before-seen friends cheering him on and defending him. It’s no good for the community. We need more genuine fans of the craft than the people performing the craft.

There’s a lot of people in the Don’t Flop scene who have each other’s backs to the point of grand bias, and it’s never anything short of cringeworthy seeing them comment on battles (If you think this is about you, you’re guilty of something whether I meant you or not).  As for me? I wouldn’t give two shakes of a duck’s tail. I don’t care if my own flesh and blood steps in the ring, personally. If you’re not good, you’re not good. Quality control is something Don’t Flop seem to be cracking down on, and it’s about time, but we’re going to get nowhere if preferential treatment remains as ripe as it does.

You run the risk of alienating those wanting to join by making it seem like a club of mates. It’s not and it can’t afford to be. There needs to be a line drawn. Some people do not care to join in on all of the non-battle insults and banter, and that needs to be respected.

Another kind of bias is way more serious, and cliquey on a national scale.

Don’t Flop would not exist were it not for Americans and nor would hip hop. I am genuinely worried by the overwhelming amount of anti-Americanism that comes from the fans and the MCs.  “Let’s show them Yanks a thing or two.” The crowd for Illmaculate vs. Tony D was so disgustingly biased that you could almost taste it in the air. This is a grand shame, because the battle was phenomenal. It was as though people had already decided to cheer one man more because he came out of a vagina in this country. That needs to stop, fast. If it doesn’t, the league runs the risk of not attracting certain big American battlers.

Whether it’s nationalistic bias or one based on friendship, you seriously need to knock it off and pay attention to the bars. I don’t care how much you like someone. JUDGE FAIRLY.

I support quality. I don’t look at passports.

If you make great music, I’ll buy it. If you’re a good battler, I’ll support you. What I will not do is treat you like you’re fam if you’re not. I don’t particularly care if you’re a Londoner or not. Be good.

This league’s MCs, and indeed the country’s, are learning to rely on location bias. “YES! HE’S FROM WHERE I AM!” Who cares?

DNA vs. Eurgh was an incredible battle on BOTH counts. It was remarkably close. However, try finding a comment that doesn’t involve saying, “UK REPRESENT! DFAFD.!” and I will concede. Who cares where anyone’s from? It’s not war, people.

Talent should always prevail, not nepotism.

Things need to change or I sincerely fear for the future of this country’s battle scene.

@TheMastTweets

By Gareth Hancock

Subculture: a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.

Hip-hop has always been an art form enriched with various subcultures – gangster rap, comedy rap, conscious rap, etc. At one time the movement in its entirety was a subculture, born in the Bronx and away from wider society. Today, UK independent hip-hop is a subculture of the wider genre and regional hip-hop is a subculture of the independent scene, with artists being generally confined within the boundaries of their own demographic.

Keeping in line with the definition, to my mind and (untrained) ear, hip-hop, more than any other musical genre, embraces regional subculture; local accents are broad and easily recognisable and rappers are keen to base rhymes on their own stories and those related to their specific area. Many people will argue that other music is heavily influenced by regions also. This may be true, but it is not as easy (for me anyway) to differentiate clearly between a band from London and a band from Leeds as it is to tell apart a rapper from Birmingham and one from Liverpool. But is this a good thing?

My home region, the north east of England, is the perfect example of a regional subculture in hip-hop; an area of the UK where rappers rhyme predominantly in their own distinctive Geordie, Mackem and ‘boro accents. Now, in my humble (and biased) opinion, the north east has one of the best hip-hop “scenes” in the UK right now. The artists, if not as vast in terms of numbers as they once were, are certainly more talented than ever. If you’re in any doubt as to the quality of the music being made in the region, check out acts such as Leddie & Smoggy, Jister, Suus, Dialect and the rest of the Keep the Faith family. The north east hip-hop scene is a tight community and artists are keen to support and promote the music of their peers, the problem is, this music does not often reach listeners outside of the area. Why is this?

Musical subcultures are generally regarded as being resistant to the commercial aspects of the genre to which they belong. I feel this is only true to a certain degree. Granted, “going mainstream” as an artist is so vigorously associated with “selling out” that a lot of independent artists are keen to avoid it for fear of having their voice stifled. And it is true that rappers that achieve commercial success are required to change their style and lyrical content to suit record labels; however, you cannot tell me that no underground artist wants to achieve some level of commercial success in their genre? The underground scene is generally all about the music, but no one could ever begrudge anyone making a living from their music – something they love. And it doesn’t have to be done by “selling out” either; artists such as Lowkey and Akala are perfect examples of this. To generate an income from their art, artists must first have their music heard.

This may be me once again saying something biased, but the reason the music in the north east isn’t being recognised on a wider scale can have nothing to do with the quality of lyricism, beats or production, and I’m sure that is the case in other regions too. Is it the regional accent? I don’t think so. I can definitely see how some people from outside the area may be put off somewhat by north east dialect, but give me a regional accent over a put-on American one any day. This problem of hip-hop music not being heard outside of its local scene seems to be one that exists in every area north of London – I feel this is the fault not of the artists, but the fans. The vast majority of hip-hop fans (myself included) have been brought up on a diet of US rap and are unwilling to look at what is happening in their own area, let alone a region outside of their own. Why is it that we fans are willing to invest all of our time and money in hip-hop from across the Atlantic but will not entertain the music of an artist based just a couple of hours up the road? This needs to change – but how?

Well, far from being an oracle, my suggestion would be that first and foremost artists’ need exposure. This exposure needs to come from the fans. Some will argue the point that artists should be doing more to market themselves – I’m not sure what more they can realistically do with what they have available to them. A lot of independent hip-hop relies on the use un-cleared samples which makes it hard to achieve radio airplay, so maybe something can change in that area, but other than that, the responsibility is with the fans to support the local scene, buy the records and promote anything that you love. Not only this, more people need to embrace hip-hop from other regions; this is easier than ever with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and costs absolutely nothing. Read blogs such as this one and visit independent hip-hop websites to discover new artists. Remember that feeling you got when you first discovered Nas or Wu-Tang? That same feeling still exists when you discover some exciting underground UK talent. Without abandoning their local dialect, fans and artists need to work to create a UK wide scene. Local promoters should do more to put on artists from other areas and in-turn artists should be willing to perform further afield. Get local artists known on a wider scale.

Hip-hop is as much about the fans as it is the artists, and working together to extend the parameters of regional subcultures can only be good for the future of the music.

@gjhancock01

Artwork by Tom Hines.

Two years since the release of his joint effort ‘Scattered Colours on the Rubiks Cube‘ with H-to-O, Anglo-German emcee and battler JollyJay is back with his first ever solo project. Produced entirely by Brighton beatsmith Cloud 9, ‘Fresh Breeze‘ elicits newer and crisper sonic sensations than those found in his debut album and traverses a far richer electronic soundscape.

Essentially an 8-track grab-bag release, ‘Fresh Breeze‘ is a medley of experimental, reverberant and spacious electronic sustains, tinkly jazz piano and vaguely trip-hoppy atmospherics all stretched over walking basses and easy boom-bap rhythms.

Its experimental sounds are matched by a fresh impetus from Jay, who succeeds in imposing a will to assert his self-identity and defiance in the face of ephemeral trends in the rap game. Predicated on Jay’s own carefree worldview, his lyrics contain elements that transcend the traditional conceptual field of hip-hop, with tracks like the jaw-droppingly beautiful ‘Virtual’ betraying a yearning for a world without technological commodity. The synthetic electronic strains in the instrumental somehow give a rich, earthy resonance to the lyrics to which Jay adjusts his ebbing and flowing cadence beautifully.

While the individual tracks have been tweaked and refined beautifully, one thing ‘Fresh Breeze‘ doesn’t do a good job of is sticking to a motif. For example, the juxtaposition of the playful and comedic ‘Just Jam‘ doesn’t play off too well against the quixotic electronic/shoegaze in ‘Thinking‘ and this negates the tape’s overall impact. That said, I can hardly fault the individual tracks which are carried through with an easy charm and bolstered by Jay’s trademark rhyme acrobatics. His penchant for rather facile punchlines notwithstanding, JollyJay is a truly beguiling rapper.

Adding depth to but never overplaying Jay’s boundless gusto, ‘Fresh Breeze’ is relatable, gimmick-free hip-hop for rap enthusiasts and lovers of plain good music alike. This isn’t music to be over-analysed, and although it isn’t a cohesive front-to-back effort, listening to its individual tracks truly is a breath of fresh air.

Download ‘Freeze Breeze’

By David “The Mast” Masters

What IS a choke? A choke is not a stumble and it’s important to tell the difference. Whilst the line does become blurry at some points,  chokes are generally  very different and very noticeable. In fact, they can also be very damaging.

A choke, for those with such boring lives as to not know what rap battles are, is when the participant forgets his or her rhymes and is forced to either freestyle, move onto their next part or just pass on the round. It’s generally considered fatal in almost all cases, with rare exception. Some people have minor chokes that are overcome, but generally they’re seen to be somewhat insurmountable.

A stumble, to me, is when someone clearly knows their part, but trips over their words a bit. This is nowhere near as serious, but can cause an unfavourable judgement if they occur too frequently.

How do you judge these events? There is no one answer. Some believe a choke loses a battle, some believe a choke loses a round, but some believe that you can win with multiple chokes. Here are some examples and how I judge them:

Porich vs. Soul Khan

Soul Khan has a noticeable lapse in memory during is second round, which seems to only be made worse when he forces himself to recite some of his other bars. Granted, he finishes his round, but it was a pretty large choke for someone like him.

In his second, Porich says, “Your obsession with short, black men’s a scary omen, guy. Hey, where were you the that night Gary Coleman died?” Capping off his third, he compliments Soul Khan rather sarcastically regarding the choke. Soul Khan, not to be outdone, brought forth the rebuttal, “Motherfucker, I could beat you if I did or didn’t choke. Where was I on the night Gary Coleman died? Giving your mum a different stroke.”

This is one of the more layered and effective rebuttals of all time. Why? He took note of his choke, and the fact that Rich made fun of it, and included it in the rebuttal. That indicates freestyling ability. He also replied to Rich’s S.O.N.S./Gary Coleman line, too. He cancelled out the choke, while also hitting Rich with a rebuttal, taking weight and damage out of both. It stood fresh in everyone’s minds and made Rich look bad. That is the very definition of a flip. He literally flipped the situation on its head by hitting every point needed.

Should he have lost based on that choke? The round? Possibly. The match? No, because he rectified it. This ties into the placement of chokes. Had Khan choked in his third, anyone who gave Rich any of the first two would have likely given it to Rich, simply because he wouldn’t have been able to perform the flip. Soul Khan went first, so his third round could flip the material in Rich’s second, but it would’ve been impossible to rebuttal anything in Rich’s third as that was the final verse.

As long as you have the ability to freestyle well or, at least, perform a really on-point rebuttal, you will always have a shot are recovering from chokes. Unless you do what happened in this next battle.

Disciple vs. Dose

Dose was undefeated (undeservedly so, but we won’t go there) when he headed into his first international battle at Don’t Flop’s To the Test 10 against Disciple. Many had the rounds to be very even, and they were, right up until the third round. Dose unfortunately forgot all of his third round, and as a result, it cost him the match.

I believe a full round choke IS an automatic loss, and I think anyone else should agree.

Lefty vs. Double L

At Don’t Flop’s ‘The Hunger For More’, Double L had a third round choke that was identical to Dose’s. The difference is that many had given Double L the first two rounds before he chokes. Do you give him the benefit of the doubt, or do you count the whole round choke as a loss?

Again, I believe it’s a total loss, but as you can see, there are multiple points of contention, however fruitless.

The Saurus vs. Pat Stay

This one is also met with contention. Pat, after winning the first (in my opinion) and looking to be taking the second, suffered a choke mid-round. He made the excuse that he wrote his “shit” the night before, but that doesn’t wash with me. He should know better. The material he claims he forgot, which he rapped in the post-match interview, was dynamite and would’ve have bagged him the round, I think. So, it’s very unfortunate.

However, lots of people feel he won the first and the third, even without rebuttaling the choke. Saurus had a monster rebuttal in his third (having gone second), but didn’t really have much else (I felt it was his weakest round),  and thus people apply the rebuttal to Saurus trouncing Pat’s second as opposed to winning the third.

I personally feel Pat won the first, lost the second due to the gravity of the choke, and the third is honestly so close to call based on the factors. Pat’s third was amazing, but it’s a case of Pat’s third vs. the HUGE rebuttal in an otherwise sub-par round from Saurus in his third. Then you factor in that Pat didn’t rebuttal the choke, either. Had he, I think I’d have gone with Pat. I maintain that the third was Saurus’s by the thinnest of hairs possible, but this is a prime example of how chokes aren’t always easy to work into a judgement.

Deffinition vs. Jefferson Price

This one, also at ‘To The Test 10’, that comes under a lot of fire.

Deffinition won, many claim, due to Jefferson Price’s choke in the third. He finished his round, but it was large enough for him to stop rhyming and comedically say, “You said this would happen!” to Deffinition. He handled it with class, even through the frustration, but I do feel it cost him the match.

I don’t think this was Deff’s best at ALL, and I’m sure he doesn’t either. I believe Deff took the first with a degree of safety, Jeff took the second with a larger degree of comfort, but the third wasn’t working out. I’m of the school of thought that if you choke, you lose the round.

Many claim that because Jeff’s first two were very good, and he finished his third despite the choke, that he should’ve won. That only works if you give Jeff the first two. I do not feel you can say Jeff deserves the L based on his third round choke, at all. I believe he lost that round and, due to Deff taking the first, lost the match as a result. That adds to two rounds to one in favour of Deffinition.

I don’t believe his choke definitely means he lost, but I do believe it’s madness to claim someone can win a round they choked in.

O’Shea vs. Sensa

This battle is one that I will never understand.

I have a great love for what O’Shea has done for Don’t Flop and he is easily one of the more entertaining guys to watch. If you go back and watch his battles with Loe Pesci, Dirtbag Dan, Lego, and Flex Digits (his best performance in my opinion), you will see he was the inarguable king of jokes/bars in unison. He had both to a high enough degree that there were few people he couldn’t beat, I feel. In this battle, the first ever Don’t Flop title match, O’Shea had stumbles throughout every single round, and choked a few times in addition to that.

I don’t believe there’s any justifiable reason for him winning that match. I don’t say that as a hater, because I am a fan of O’Shea and will remain so until given reason to feel otherwise. I say it because he faced off against Sensa. The importance of the match, the calibre of opponent and the fact that Sensa never choked is what baffles me about all of it. People say Sensa’s angles never hit home, but that’s irrelevant. O’Shea choked and stumbled his way through the match.

He choked in his battle with Ness Lee at Blood in the Water 5, too. It’s a growing problem of which Don’t Flop’s current champion is blatantly aware.

Everyone judges chokes differently, but I feel there are criteria in place enough to make it so that the decision isn’t a hard one. Once in a while you get a battle like The Saurus vs. Pat Stay, where it is very odd to judge because of the choke. Then, maybe you’ll get a battle like Porich vs. Soul Khan, in which the choke is made to not matter in the slightest.

It IS a big element of battling, but one that isn’t often discussed with any level of interest or equanimity. That’s all I wanted to do here, really.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this article, and the one before it (which got 2,000 hits in a day!). It’s much appreciated and, honestly, it’s a pleas….wait…it’s a pleasure to….ahh….FUCK!

@TheMastTweets