Rap's Mortal Kombat: Why Red Bull's Battle Is Better Than Black Star

This coming Thursday, the same day that Black Star performs at House of Blues, the Red Bull EmSee Freestyle Battle will come stomping into Warehouse Live. Six immediate reasons why you should go to the latter instead:

Bun B will host (trill awesome), Trae will perform (deadly awesome), ESG will perform (freestyle royalty awesome), Alchemist will DJ a set (literature awesome), Baby Jae will DJ (Kracker Nutty awesome) and, above all else, IT IS FREE (money awesome).

The most important reason to go, though: The Battle.

Eight of the best underground freestyle rappers in the state will compete nose-to-nose against one another to see which is the best. And there is no greater sense of fulfillment achieved than crowning a winner of something (actualization awesome), an occurrence that happens far too rarely in rap.

This will be Rap Mortal Kombat; vicious and uncompromising and tethered to an unreasonable amount of pressure. All of the losers will be murdered. And that's totally true. So go .

Here now, a guide to acquaint you with the contestants follows, complete with Mortal Kombat spirit partner, and each contestant's odds of winning.

The eight contestants:

G-Baby (Austin) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Sonya Why: Duh. Money Paid on Winning: 1 to 4

Admittedly, the name is pretty bad. But ignore it; she's from Austin and they don't know any better yet. Her pedigree is legit. She's likely most famous for having dominated BET's Freestyle Friday for just about an entire grading cycle. Being a girl in this type of competition will be an advantage, because watching a girl go nuts on a microphone is extra neat, but being a girl in this type of competition will also be a disadvantage, because someone is eventually going to make a joke about her performing fellatio and everyone will laugh.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

Go Hard Jetson (Columbus) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Kano Why: Foolishly, not considered a substantial threat, but will rip your heart out if given the opportunity. Money Paid on Winning: 1 to 5

Yes, GO HARD JETSON. That's easily the most overachieving rap name in the field. GHJ was also on BET's Freestyle Friday. He's fairly new to the battle circuit, but the founder of Texas Battle League, a roving music organization that basically sanctions rap battles, called him one of the best freestylers in Texas.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

MC Kane (Houston) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Johnny Cage Why: Known more for something other than what he'll be doing that particular night Money Paid on Winning: 2 to 7

Johnny Cage was more famous for being an actor than he was a fighter. Remember, he even had that dick finishing move he'd do where he'd autograph a picture of himself for you after he kicked the shit out of you? Kane has established himself as a vital member of the hip-hop community as a party thrower and event host, but lots forget that he put out an album last year that had about 700 quality punchlines on it. He will fare better here than people will expect.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

Mad-1 (San Antonio) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Sub-Zero Why: Because he's cold as fuck. Or something. Money Paid on Winning: 2 to 5

Mad-1 is a rap legend in San Antonio with a rumored deity-like ability to freestyle. You're free to make your own jokes about San Antonio and its storied rap history. Jay-Z is from San Antonio, right?

Evidence: Exhibit A.

Playdough (Dallas) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Raiden Why: Because he likes hats. Money Paid on Winning: 1 to 5

Sure, Dallas has been referred to by Barack Obama* as "God's mistake," but Playdough is, according to Matt Sonzala, "one of the leading battle dudes from Dallas, for sure." If you get blessed by the Jesus Christ of Texas hip-hop networking, your stock goes up tenfold.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

*Actually, it wasn't the real Obama who said that, but a guy who lives two blocks over from us and bears an oblique resemblance to him. Close enough.

O.N.E. (Houston) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Scorpion Why: The best line on his last mixtape was, "O.N.E. is the flame." Scorpion shoots fire from his mouth. It fits. Money Paid on Winning: 2 to 7

The Brock family is deep in this bitch. (He and Kane are brothers.) O. possesses the same capacity for punchlines as Kane, but he's taller, which is a definite advantage in these types of scenarios. He performs regularly and with a certain amount of vigor. He is a talented songwriter. We'll see if that translates here.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

Hoodstar Chantz* (Houston) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Liu Kang Why: Because he's way tougher than people realize. Also, his eyes are interesting. Money Paid on Winning: 3 to 7

We've seen Hoodstar participate in freestyles a couple times, and each time he was better than good. (His proper show, too, is quite brilliant.) He is on the fringe of becoming an underground power in town. A strong showing here could help his name ring out tremendously.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

*This is our dark horse pick to win.

Phranchyze (Austin) Mortal Kombat spirit partner: Shang Tsung Why: Because, as it is, he's the goddamn boss. Money Paid on Winning: Even

At the moment, this guy is King. He's the defending champ from last year's Red Bull Emsee Battle for Texas, and anyone with honest aspirations of winning this thing will eventually have to stare him down. Tons of experience, tons of talent, an iron gut, and no regard for anyone's feelings. He's is Donkey Kong to everyone's Mario, Shredder to everyone's Leonardo, Mike Tyson to everyone's Mac. Put frankly: Beating this guy is going to be a real motherfucker.

Evidence: Exhibit A.

Go to the show. It will be fun.

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