The Murda Ave Capo
Cortez has either reached his peak or has yet to find his voice in Battle Rap. I’m not quite sure what it is but something is missing. His career seems to be suspended in limbo, surrounded by magnetic fields pulling at him with equal strength that, instead of drawing him closer to one side, keeps him stagnant in the middle. In Battle Rap you’re only as good as your last battle, and for Cortez he has managed to stay alive by the skin of his teeth.
I think there are a couple of explanations for this. First, he’s never convincingly, without-a -shadow-of-a-doubt, won a battle, at least not against any top tier battler. There always seems to be some debate in his battles. On the surface this can be looked at as him just having great battles, but in reality, it raises a question. Can he win? Close-but-no-cigar, are how Cortez’s battles seem to play out. Secondly, as someone in my “Straight Shot Battle Rap” group on Facebook put it, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of “Don Demarco” moments. Another group member compared him to the San Antonio Spurs by saying that he doesn’t have the highlight reel but you can always count on him to do things the right way. What I mean is he’s not dynamic. Cortez has a continuous flow of satisfactory bars, minus the “compelling” factor. It’s unfortunate, because Cortez is a solid lyricist, but in live performances, not having this is the difference between good and great. This puts him in a box where he always has to prove himself as being worthy.
Let’s not count Cortez out. Though his resume consists of heavy hitters like Soul Khan, Conceited, and Thesaurus, his career in Battle Rap seemed to have run into a glass ceiling after battling veterans like, X-Factor & Hitman. He’s had a lot of struggles and criticism because of this and has managed to maneuver his way through it like champ. Despite all of this, he still gets decent battles, primarily, because people still believe in his talent. Thus, Cortez loyalists may see something that his critics don’t. It could be that there is more of Cortez that we haven’t seen? While most fans may overlook him as top tier, his loyalists still place their faith in the Murda Ave Capo. This was especially evident in his most recent battle with Dizaster, when he showed fans and critics why he’s a veteran. Although, the battle was not a classic, and Dizaster wasn’t on top of his game, he proved once again that he could still hang with the best of them.
If there were one word to sum up Cortez’s Battle Rap career, it would probably be “tenacity”. Cortez has tenaciously fought an uphill battle to the top, and he’s still fighting. Unlike, his other NYB counterparts, who don’t have the problem of continuing to prove their worth, Cortez is stuck with this cross to bear. And for what it’s worth, it hasn’t shattered his belief in himself. But this may be one of the reasons why Cortez has survived in Battle Rap all this time? He’s tenacious and tenacity pays off in the end. I think Cortez says it best, when describing the value of his career,“Don’t ask if I’m top tier, dummy. It doesn’t matter, as long as I’m getting this top tier money.” Can someone please give this man a “Demarco” for that?
Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group