Battle rap is no longer underground. Although the history of battles date back to the earliest days of hip hop, the artform was a hard sell to many mainstream listeners. That all changed over the past few years, as streaming sites and social media trends helped shine a brighter light on battle culture.
And when it comes to rap arenas, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Ultimate Rap League. Already home to some of the most classic matches, the URL is sure to gain more viewers now that Drake is personally giving $100,000 to the champ of the Ultimate Madness 3 tournament, set to air on Caffeine.tv.
Drake has a partnership with URL and Caffeine.tv. According to the rapper, working with a platform dedicated to giving battle rap its proper respect is a major win.
“I’ve always loved URL and admired what Smack and his team have been able to create,” Drake said in a 2020 statement released by Caffeine. “It’s exciting to be in a position where I’m able to bring Caffeine to the table and help provide URL with the tools they need to elevate the viewing experience and make it more accessible to fans.”
On Saturday, April 24, Ultimate Madness 3 will feature 16 spitters facing off until only one remains.
The first round of match-ups are as follows: Cortez vs. O’fficial, Swamp vs. Jerry Wess, Riggz vs. Geechi Gotti, JakkBoy Maine vs. T-Top, Serius Jones vs. Rum Nitty, Drugz vs. Yoshi G, Swave Sevah vs. Prep, and Casey Jay vs. Nu Jerzey Twork.
While he may be best known for pop hits and record-shattering albums, Drake truly has been a fan of battle rap for years. In fact, he almost battled Harlem rapper Murda Mook in 2015. A legend of the genre, Mook told MTV the story of the time he almost went head-to-head with Drake. The rapper said Drake approached him about battling first.
Drake also gave his side, explaining that taking part in a battle had the potential to hurt his brand.
“I would love to enter this scene, it’s just, it’s tough for me because it’s a no-holds-barred competitive interaction.” Drake said at a 2015 press conference Blackout 5 rap battle. “The problem with that is that I have to go back to my life after that. I’ve always struggled with that as far as battle rap goes. I would love to get into the scene, but I have obligations [and] I might say something, or somebody might say something about me, which makes it tough when I have, like, corporate stuff going on. It’s a tough thing, but I think one day I might do it. I don’t know if Mook deserves it but…” he joked. “I definitely have a folder full on bars in my phone for somebody one day, so we’ll figure it out.”
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