NEXT TOP BULL TOURNAMENT by Urban Thoughts as (submitted to various National Magazines)
I journeyed back home to ALABAMA which was dope. I grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama so I knew the bars in Montgomery would be outstanding. Literally, Alabama is one of the toughest states on crime which means, if a black man isn’t ready in Alabama, he will spend plenty of time uncomfortable behind bars and that’s two different things. Yikes!
I pull up to the event center and wham! I immediately knew there was a God for what I saw- cause when I say the women in Alabama are heaven sent and perfectly crafted thick creations of the best NY thick cheesecake with all the strawberry filling-I’m just saying. Now let’s get to these bars…
The Bullpen environment is fantastic. I rock with it. The battlers literally enter a square pit with the crowd standing above the trench. Two warriors enter. One warrior survives. The pressure to impress one of Battle Raps Greats: John John Da Don with a prize of $1,000.00 dollars was on the line. If you as a battler can’t get up for that then I have ZERO to tell you. Nah I do have something to tell you: Go quit and go write nursery rhymes to read to the kids, yo. Dead serious.
So we here, the crowd is electric…Beautiful women, safe environment, smoke free, great bar, and it’s on. The Next Top Bull Tournament: All One Rounders: 3 mins and 30 secs of hot fire. Names are drawn out of a hat to mark the battles and who is battling. Tournament favors writers, punchers, and freestylers because you have ZERO idea which battle you are going to face.
First Battle of the Night is:
REL (ALABAMA) VS KING BEANZ (LOUISVILLE, KY)
My first impression was this was going to be tough for REL laid back style. I saw King Beanz in Memphis vs a dope battler 5’9 and it was a war. Dude can go. King Beanz opens, “Underdog and unimportant.” Out the gate he is pummeling Rel like Rocky after the first whooping and he went back to training and now we fighting. It’s ugly, yo, ugly. Beanz is a schemer with nice energy and the crowd is rocking with him. He yells, “Straight to the guns…” and the crowd erupts straight to the gunz. Yo, those are the small moments in battle rap that turn battles. He flips a Chrome a zone bar that was nice. He finishes… “I bring FIRE Everytime I get a match.” Yeah, that way. Zip ‘em up. Yeah you know the rest of how that go. Dude gone be a problem.
Comes out the bottom of the 1st, he stumbles early and pauses. He recovers but it’s ugly like a drunk that catches the side of a door then falls in ugly. Comes out with a smooth bar tho and wordplay flipping Artichoke- Ought to choke ‘em. He has a direct style that is laid back. His set ups are connecting but the pauses in between the lines are showing signs or maybe I’m just overly observant. Naw, I’m Urban Yo and these my Thoughts. Dude choking and yep-maybe the Art a Choke is his surname. He flames out and self times out the match early after maybe a minute and 20 seconds. Wish the kid could have gotten his round off with more confidence, he def was dope for what he had.
BEANZ ADVANCES EASY
Second Battle of the night is:
NAYCHA THE GRATE (Montgomery, Alabama) vs BO THE GREAT (West Memphis)
Rematch of sorts….These two have squared off before.
Bo the Great (West Memphis- LCK/IMBL) opens with his slogan and the crowd catches it, “Hope you Brought another pair of shoes wit cha, Cause I’m bout to smoke ya mf boots N-word.” “(Ya’ll know I don’t rock with that word but FIRE FIRE FIRE.”
Fire the Camera Guy. Naw, he dope dude shoots great footage but maybe give that guy some Ritalin so he can pay attention.
He wasn’t ready and stops the battle. Tells them to restart the battle.
Bo the Great opens with more energy with his slogan and Bo is feeding. Lays a haymaker out the gate with a real life bar and the crowd reacts hard. The reaction may have caught him off guard. I saw a flicker of doubt. Dang, I hate when I’m right. Bo is choking early. He tries to catch it and freestyle but stumbles again. He came back after losing family members and tragedy in real life, a battle with Dallas Cash in LCK league and it may all have been too early to commit to this tourney. His heart was there and it’s sad to see because I think he has a skillset of being a rapid puncher that favors him in tourneys like this. Seeing him choke this early in a round was like seeing Bambi momma get shot, Mufasa fall off the cliff, Ricky get shot in the back…everybody in the room is shocked and honestly the temp is, sad.
Naycha the Grate is the hometown favorite. Bro is smooth. His energy and charisma is dope. Crazy he has an accent and cadence that carries as if he is a New Orleans emcee. His punches are slick and he cruises through a flawless round. Not much to say- he literally could have spit a full minute and won the battle. Props to finishing a round with a dead opponent in front of him. Kick the carcass and let the buzzards eat. This one is done.
Naycha Advances Easy.
Third Battle of the night is:
Classik opens with crazy energy while wearing a Cobra Kai bandana and t-shirt. Bro is cooking and opens with a ton of haymakers early. This is my first time seeing him live. I’ve watched a few of his battles and his punches and schemes. He addresses the failure of his last few battles where his rounds fell dry. He is hella engaging. Mid-way he picks up and throws his water bottle.- I don’t know hell you don’t know either. Just weird. For me the antics are over the top- I can’t really get into his bars. He def had a ton of material but I think of the overall process of what’s happening. We are here to find the next top bull that can catapult there career, push bullpen’s name/prominence and battle at the next level URL/KOTD main stages. At the next level, a battler is judged by his bars. Yeah, you have the occasional slam dunk assist, antics, but the level of antsy spastic performance normally doesn’t hit as well as it does in small rooms or smaller leagues. He finishes amping the crowd and ranting about people not playing with him. Dope round for what it was.
Knight the Poet (Memphis, TN) freestyle rebuttals and comments on Classik Ninja headband. The crowd laughs and he rapid fires a haymaker right behind. The crowd is rocking loud and Y.P. is in the crowd catching a lot of the bars. Barheads are seeing the conflict. Knight is bar heavy. I personally wanted to see him cut the ring off and crowd Classik just a bit more to impose his size. Right in the middle of the crowd responding a phone goes off on stage. To Bullpen credit, they did give several announcements about the audience having phones off. Knight moves through it and into another bar Loud music goes off. The venue has multiple adjoining rooms where other events are booked. The music is overpoweringly loud. Someone jets off stage to get the other side of the venue to cut the music down and it is cut down bout 45 seconds while the round is going on. The phone and the music takes the steam off of the crowd’s reaction because of the distractions. To Knight’s credit, he works through it flawlessly with no mistakes and finishes the round strong. Dude is professional.
I gave it to Knight The Poet but I peeped a few things….wait on it. Btw Young Herb Lucks out and draws the bye of the first Round. Young Herb Advances
- I try to mill around the room after the battles to catch the responses of the crowd. I find the conversations dope to ease drop on.
- The judges are like for real deal debating about the only real battle of the first round.
- Judges are stating cases like a huddle between officials during a call at the Super Bowl. It’s intense stuff. Lot of arms waving, pointing, and talking. The consensus that I heard was it was a dope battle where both battlers cooked. Seems to be a split decision based on preference and idea of “Energy”
Meanwhile, Knight the Poet and Classik are both outside with their wives/girlfriends and Classik is stating that he knows he lost and that when the footage comes out it will be clear. Interesting….Oh if the judges knew these things.
Bam- DECISION IN!
Classik Advances. The judges favored the high energy of Classik which is fair if you were in the room. He definitely wanted it bad and gave everything he had. I def respect that.
During the Intermission: Young Herb is barking bad at Naycha The Grate saying he’d smoke Naycha. Naycha lays down and pretends to fall asleep while Herb talks. It’s High comedy to me yo. Meanwhile, where did the cute bartender go…
Second Round starts:
1st BATTLE OF SEMI FINALS
Classik vs Beanz
Classik opens up with the same energy. I bet bro drank 9 red bulls on the way down here. Dude is amped yo. He opens with a dope Lion King scheme, “Scar to kill a king, then meet Simba” continues to a “that won’t last long: Penny Hardaway knees.” Dude is a writer. I dig the wordplay of his “Close your eyes, bow ya head-now we gone pray/Naw bow ya heads, now we Got PREY!” That was fire. He keeps his energy up the whole round and finishes strong. That was dope.
Beanz in the bottom of one.
Beanz is controlled, “A lot of battlers like you…all energy/no substance reference” Yo, Beanz talking and cuts the ring off. Beanz is strategic. “Stage the crowd/ Give a fake a round” Beanz is cooking. Turns up and matches Classik energy the raspy pitch of Beanz inflection on his punches is setting up the hit. 4 sing like I’m a natural prophet, came to try to replace a bull to find out you replaceble. Dude just rapid fired 6 bull name flips. That was sick.
He is focusing the crowd to focus on the bars and not the antics. I really would have liked to see Beanz vs Knight. I think that would have been crazy bar fest. Somebody set that up…
I edged Beanz.
Beanz advances to the Championship.
2nd BATTLE of SEMI FINALS
Young Herb (West Memphis- LCK) vs Naycha
Young Herb opens with you beat my guy Bo and it’s second round so…you know what I still think you suck and that’s the tone. Young Herb is hella disrespectful. I mean just throw the boy mama and the kitchen sink at him. Yikes. Herb is cooking-Like cooking cooking Emerill Bam cooking-getting crazy reactions. “He going down easy: Baby food.” Herb dropped a 2k bar with the Harden two step hesy hop. “I’m like Black. I’m smacking him and he won’t make the Newz.” Dope freestyle. Shout out to Bad Newz. I was looking forward to that SuperBlack Bad Newz match but transportation fell through. Not on Newz - Not on Bull Pen. Just an unfortunate situation where transportation was delayed. Herb is showing all the evidence of growth: Stage presence, Energy, Crowd Control, and his usual cocky arrogance. It’s working tonight. Herb finishes and was talking wreckless to Naycha.
Naycha fights back. Opens with a room rocker that rocks the room in the first bar with a Smith and Wesson bar that was fire. After that it was pretty much a wash. Naycha had dope material but it all fell pretty flat after Young Herb lit the crowd.
Young Herb advances to the Championship.
FINALS. Last Battle. Boss fight.
Young Herb has been in big fights. PG’s. DNA. Had massive opportunities but never cashed in.
King Beanz has been in big fights and huge moments.
The opportunity for one of these battlers to take a much needed next step and class up in competition is dramatic. Honestly, after a very public divorce from IMBL with Young Herb and someone he looked at as a mentor in AC Dutch it may be now or never to reinvigorate his career to shake the label of…he almost.
This fight was everything. Both were clean and heavily prepared. Props to King Beanz. He had to fight three very different opponents who all brought material that he had to counter and showcased three solid rounds and performances; however, tonight was about Young Herb. In the big moment, Young Herb delivered two absolute stunners of performances.
The Judges unanimously picked Young Herb stating that the way he absolutely controlled the battle, his confidence/ borderline arrogance, him receiving the biggest responses, and how he played on the crowd with a call and response was dope. He showcased a growth and understanding of how to play to the crowd which was well played. Tonight Young Herb grew up. The crowd knew. The battlers knew. He knew that tonight he was the Undisputed Champion and Next Top Bull. He reps Zucru and LCK and it’s his time. At this event, Young Herb shook the ghosts and buried a few opponents.
YOUNG HERB: NEXT TOP BULL TOURNAMENT CHAMPION
Shout-Out to SUPERBLACK for the hospitality and John John Da Don. John John is so humble and cool. It is dope to meet people you respect their craft to see that they are good people.