Last week we reported on a shocking rap battle at Los Globos. Headliner Dizaster punched the other headliner, Math Hoffa, in the face. A brawl then broke out.
Many wondered what exactly had led to this turn of events. After all, as you can see from the above 2012 image, the pair used to get along fine.
And beyond that, what will be the ramifications for battle rapping generally? The aftermath of the punch heard round the world is just beginning to come into focus.
Until recently, Dizaster and Math Hoffa had never faced each other, and the former hadn't previously gotten physical in a battle.
That wasn't true for Math, however, who in September punched rapper Serius Jones during their battle at New York's Stage 48. Dizaster publicly called him out:
"What battling is and what hip-hop is and what we do is the complete opposite of that," said the L.A.-based emcee.
And this was the second time Math had punched someone mid-battle; in fact, he first made a name for himself in battle circles in the mid-2000s by punching fellow New York rapper Dose. (You can see it below, in this meme video, just before the 3 minute mark.)
What's most curious about Math and Dizaster's June skirmish was that their recent relationship has been well documented. In fact, they are both cast members on Fuse TV's battle rap reality show Road to Total Slaughter, which was taped months ago and airs Wednesdays at midnight.
Along with six other rappers, they lived in a Brooklyn house together and battled each other, seeking to win a slot on the undercard of a much-hyped pay-per-view event called Total Slaughter, which will be held July 12 at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom.
On the show's second episode, which aired the week before the Los Globos incident, Dizaster and Math battled for the first time (you can see it below). Dizaster prevailed, both both seemed uncomfortable with the way the battle was formatted. Meanwhile, judge Joe Budden accused Dizaster of recycling his lines. Though he seemingly had no evidence to support this, it only made the situation more fraught.
While there were rumors of tension between the two that didn't make it to air, the pair appeared civil on the day of the Los Globos battle.
In other words, nobody saw the punch coming.
After the blow was landed, Math Hoffa attempted to retaliate, at which point Dizaster's associates jumped into the fray. New York rapper Charlie Clips then attempted to diffuse the situation, but while Math Hoffa’s people were holding him back, Dizaster continued his attack. Eventually, both camps were separated.
It was a scary incident, but the police weren't called, no arrests were made, and no one went to the hospital.
The event's organizers, Toronto-based rap league King of the Dot, say this is the first violent incident in their six year history. Their statement addressing the fight, written by CEO Organik, reads, in part:
I'd like to apologize to anybody that attended BOLA5 for the level of immaturity from some of the KOTD artists. We at KOTD do not condone violence at our events nor find any outlet or excuse to find violence acceptable whatsoever.
Dizaster faces a lifetime ban — that is, unless he publicly apologizes to Math Hoffa and pays a $2,500 fine. (If those conditions are met, he will instead be suspended from King of the Dot events for one year.)
Other King of the Dot events will continue as scheduled.
As for battle rapping itself, many have expressed concern that this incident might re-ignite an East Coast-West Coast feud in the tradition of Tupac's "Hit 'Em Up" and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Who Shot Ya?," considering that Dizaster is from L.A. and Math Hoffa is from Brooklyn. (Stoking these concerns, retired New York battler Diabolic has challenged Dizaster to a battle in New York.)
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King of the Dot spokesperson Lush One said that while he wouldn't be opposed to such a battle — presuming, of course, that Dizaster complies with the organization's punitive terms — these regional tensions are something King of the Dot is looking to curb.
“It’s important for us to have another big event in L.A. very soon where all the dope New Yorkers are back out here repping again and show that this was an isolated event," he says. "There’s no other rapper or situation where this would have happened. This isn’t Math Hoffa’s fault, but no other juxtaposition of rappers would have caused this reaction.”
Will something like this happen again? King of the Dot's swift action makes it seem unlikely. Still, for battle rap to continue to grow, other emerging organizations are going to need to take an equally firm line.
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