Recognize this guy?
This was roughly 6-7 years ago.
I was battling this guy, Serius Jones.
Depending on who you ask, you’d get one of two answers as to who was the victor. Some say this was the battle that “ended my career”. A handful (keyword: handful) of individuals passionately cling on to the theory that I only faced defeat due to how “biased the crowd was” .
Of course, freestyle battling like any other art form is very subjective.
Yes, you can take into consideration things such as performance, delivery, creativity and even get as technical as counting who had more punchlines landed (or even more technical: rebuttals).
However, it sometimes simply boils down to gut feeling. Concise analysis aside, you know deep down in your heart which MC did their thing and which one got caught slippin’.
With that said, I lost to Serius Jones fair and square. Simple as that.
While I was rambling off random lines ineffectively, Serius breezed to victory utilizing his signature nonchalant approach. What he lacked in complexity, he surely made up for with wittiness. After all, “there’s a billion people in China and I couldn’t even go platinum there”.
Then there’s this guy.
I battled him not too long after the above match. Unlike Serius, his demeanor wasn’t laid back at all. Pure ferociousness. Creative angles. All the elements that secured him a well deserved victory.
Reality check face.
At this point, you may be asking yourself “Why is Jin blogging about himself getting annihilated in battles?”
No, I’m not seeking sympathy nor is this a severe case of self loathing.
The reality is, in my 10 plus years of participating in the culture of freestyle battle rap, while all the accolades and recognition fed into an ever growing ego, it was the most agonizing and humiliating experiences of defeat that forced me to really search deep within myself for true signs of resiliency.
Me and freestyle battling have a fascinating relationship. The same platform that propelled me into the stratosphere and helped me launch a career, simultaneously managed to send me back into the depths of obscurity.
Presently, freestyle battle culture has evolved in many ways, with the most prominent factor being the online presence. From the various leagues to the dynamics of the battle itself, it is a whole new ball game. I must say, as far removed away from the scene as I may be, there is still an affinity that I have for the art form even if solely from a spectator point of view.
Which is why I saw the magnitude of what Dizaster vs. Canibus really represented for the culture as a whole. Thus, I did not hesitate to whip out the plastic and fork out the 30$ for the pay per view stream.
72 hours later, the global Hiphop community is still collectively scratching it’s head, some in disbelief as to exactly how it all went down, myself included.
There’s nothing that I can say that hasn’t been said already so I won’t delve too much into the battle itself.
Although I am not too familiar with his work of recent years, Canibus’ influence on myself as an MC is undeniable. If you were a young, aspiring, hungry battle cat in the late 90′s, Canibus represented the level of lyrical excellence one achieved to reach.
The man has quotable lines for days, but without a doubt one of my all time favorites is: “Every word I utter for Hiphop lovers, will reflect forever like two mirrors facing each other”
Also, his verse from Beast From The East > most artists entire catalogue.
As for Dizaster, his performance was high caliber and no less than what’s expected of him at this point. Before his match with Canibus, Dizaster was undeniably at the forefront of freestyle battle rapping already. Now he is the living embodiment of it.
About 2 years ago, I was scheduled to battle Dizaster. He called me out. I accepted. In the end, it didn’t happen due to behind the scenes issues.
I read a tweet following the Canibus vs Dizaster debacle along the lines of “Somewhere Jin is thanking God that he didn’t battle Dizaster.”
To a certain extent, I agree.
Not so much for fear of humiliation or suffering a reputation damaging loss. More so, thankful that by God’s divine orchestration I didn’t find myself partaking in a battle that my heart and soul was not poured into.
If unaware, our egos can easily lead us into taking actions that may not reflect our true instincts.
That right there is one of the main reasons I ultimately withdrew from what was supposed to be a match with Dizaster. Furthermore, that is also the main reason I don’t foresee myself stepping back into the ring at any point. My heart is just not driven in such a way anymore, so to do so would be unfair to myself, my opponent and ultimately the fans of the sport.
I wake up everyday and mainly pray for more surrender and obedience.
Needless for me to say, the nature of battle rapping and what’s acceptable content wise is not exactly aligned with the Spirit that lives within a person when that person truly receives the Lord into their life.
That is not to say that all battle rappers are evil individuals. That’s not for me to say at least. John 8:7
Even with my new single Brand New Me, it’s quite evident my mindset is in a different space. I’ve read some of the comments online.. “This isn’t the hungry battle MC Jin from back in the days.” Exactly.
*For those of you who have not seen any of the videos mentioned above, I just want to forewarn there is explicit language and vulgar themes.
The loss to Serius Jones may or may not have ended my career but it definitely acted as a catalyst for an awakening that would soon follow.
For the longest time, I was defined by the approval and praise that I acquired from building a reputation within the battling community. The moment all of that got stripped away, I was left with nothing but questioning of my own self worth and validity.
I realize as I make the pivotal decision to step away from this element, it is only natural for the world to say ,”The only thing Jin ever had was freestyle battling. Without that he’s nothing.”
By God’s grace the brand new me can accept that with absolute peace.