Joe Budden Loses To Hollow Da Don: Total Slaughter A Total Failure

This past weekend, the live Total Slaughter event took place at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. To me, this event will go down in history as one of the worst and biggest failures of a mainstream battle rap event to date. I believe it was still a success though, as it showed those who are attempting to commercialize an underground industry that they don’t truly understand, just how hard it is to be successful. It also showed that an industry rapper like Joe Budden can’t just step into the ring and win. Hollow won unanimously by judge decision. Thankfully they used judges like Poison Pen, Drect, and Kid Capri, who are familiar with the culture. Royce showed clear favoritism for “his mans” during commentating and even ridiculously gave him the battle 2-1. The only round that was even close was the first and the majority of Budden’s bars were delivered completely unnatural, almost as if they were ghostwritten.

Take a step back and look at the big picture. Road to Total Slaughter was announced in late January 2014 and shooting for the TV series was filmed shortly after in a matter of a couple weeks. With supposed large money backing, and footage even being owned by and parent company Electus Digital (College Humor has been sending all DMCA takedown notices for leaked videos on YouTube and elsewhere), they immediately claimed to be the “King of All Battle Rap Leagues”. This is a move that is disrespectful to the entire battle rap world as you can’t just claim you are king because you have money. While some may think that mainstream support is good for the culture, it truly isn’t when those involved only really care about capitalizing on a market that has proven to be successful on it’s own through a strong niche following.

Total Slaughter proved to the world that they aren’t really about the culture. Even when purchasing a ticket, the description of the event stated: “Total Slaughter is sure to be a night of epic flow, unexpected surprises, and more than a few figurative casualties as freestyle’s new king is crowned.” Anyone who has followed “mainstream” battle rap for the past decade knows that freestyle has long been tossed out of the picture and is only a mere fraction of an element in the now predominantly written format. So who exactly was crowned the new “freestyle king?”

Where does this take battle rap in the future and how will it affect the pockets of all? An interesting perspective to look at, whether true or not, is Joe Budden’s claim of being paid $200k. With some battle rappers already wanting what would be considered absurd amounts to begin with, this sets the bar to a whole different level – A level that most likely can’t even be sustained by commercialization. With tickets for the event ranging from approximately $50-150, and a max capacity of 2,200, ticket sales alone wouldn’t have even paid for Budden. Take the total failure and refunds of the PPV stream into consideration, and the profit was dwindled even further. Unless they had a killer bar percentage deal, they appear to have taken a deserving large hit on conducting this event. Whether corporations like those backing Total Slaughter will continue to take these kind of hits, while still supporting the culture, remains to be seen. Will all top tier battle rappers now be demanding no less than $50k to do a 15 minute performance?

Hollow touched on a lot of how I feel in his bars against Budden. I still have faith in those who truly support the culture and aren’t in it just for the money. On top of that, I think Daylyt did exactly what he was supposed to do. If some culture vultures are swooping in, you need to take full advantage of it and that’s exactly what he did.

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