Classic Battles: Tsu Surf vs Yung Ill

By @MDizzle9000

Returning to the beardless Smack era in early URL again, today's classic battle is probably one of the most entertaining performances by both emcees in battle rap before the big stages. Going back to Tsu Surf vs Yung Ill allows us to see both legends in the game when they were still fresh and hungry. From the first round we get an extremely aggressive Surf, who at the time was not yet considered the face of New Jersey battle rap, since Arsonal was still killing the scene. Yung Ill, who had recently faced Calicoe in the battle that birthed his slogan "Smack, who is this n*gga?", he was ready for war himself. This battle was probably one of his last great performances prior to some very lackluster ones and the now infamous meltdown vs O Red.

Regardless of the huge changes in the culture since 2010, this battle remains a must see for any fan, old or new.

Surf opens up the battle with the bars and aggression that made him the fan favorite he's become in the modern era. Name flips and shots at Ill's hometown St. Louis galore "wouldn't know what to do with the desert, never got his heater on/the Nelly song is the only time he got his Eagle on/", Surf was holding no punches. Ill starts off seemingly slow but quickly shows the energy and wordplay that has fans to this day begging for a comeback from the vet who never reached the levels that Hitman Holla or Aye Verb were able to. By the 2nd round, the battle looks even after some stumbles from Tsunami and some incredible lyricism from Yung Ill(please appreciate that punctuation scheme!). We also see plenty of personal shots from both sides, something which was common in a more raw, unfriendly era that gave battles a more authentic feel to the viewer.
By the 3rd round, the battle has done a complete 180 with Surf ending his last round early and Ill continuing a masterful performance. Never being a fan of props in battling, I still enjoyed the belt snaps Yung Ill used to go along with a verbal ass whooping he puts on in the 3rd. He finishes with a cool 3 letter word scheme and steals the crowd completely in one of the many East Coast vs Midwest battles that have taken place in the Ultimate Rap League. The battle is still debatable as each rapper was at their best during different points in the bout, but after the near chokes and shortened rounds from Surf, who was 18 going on 30 at the time according to his opponent, a 2-1 verdict with Yung Ill winning latter rounds seems like the fair ruling. Watch for yourself and comment with your own take on the classic battle



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