Wheeew! When you talk about things that are revealing you have to talk about Bigg K’s third round against Math Hoffa at GO-Rilla Wafare’s, The Crown 2 event in Chicago. For a while now, Math has been under a dark cloud of scrutiny for his role as the Biff of battle rap. Punching, pistol whipping, and shoving his way through the fray of rappers, he found his notoriety and solace in his power to intimidate people. Although I believe Math would have objections to this, it is true that his fist throwing in the ring is what he’s most famous for. Bigg K wouldn’t disagree, either. His knock out round was structured to expose Math of this truth, and then some.
We don’t need to go into depth about Math’s fights – how he made it to Worldstar after punching Dose, or how he helped to ruin Summer Madness 3 when he unexpectedly socked Serius Jones, leaving him disoriented. However, we will analyze his last fight with Dizaster, the fight that put his career at a crossroads. Last year at a KOTD event in Los Angeles Math was blindsided by an all out attack initiated by Diz. Prior to their battle, the two had been publicly feuding in heated exchanges via social media, but that all came to a head that day.
The pummeling that Math took by Diz and his cronies was disturbing, to the say the least. Two things that surely came of this were discussions about violence in battle rap, and about Math. As a fan you felt torn between sympathizing with him and feeling like he got what he deserved. Although the beating was unwarranted, and stunk of suspicion on whether or not the whole thing was a setup, it left Math like we have never seen him before – vulnerable.
A huge part of Math’s identity in battle rap is that he puts fear in his opponents, but when the fear is gone how do we as fans identify with him? For years the bully role has been his safe haven, resting assured that if he can’t win lyrically he can out bully you. In that one moment in Los Angeles that all but vanished – poof, vamoose, and however unfair the fight was, it was as though he lost a large portion of the bravado that once puffed chest with boisterous pride.
It wasn’t all-bad for Math. Defenseless and bare to the elements of persecution, the forlorn bully eventually made his way back into the good graces of a few league owners and got an opportunity to battle emcees like Crome on O-Zone, a great battle with Chilla Jones on Don’t Flop, and on GO-Rilla Warfare, Bigg K. K is a battle rapper’s battle rapper. He’s one of those white boys that embodies so much effortless-ghetto, that unless you’re reminded, you forget that he’s white.
Finally, a perfect match for Math that was long overdue, and probably delayed because of all the bull surrounding him, he locked horns in Chicago with K in a highly intense battle. K started off in typical fashion, gunning for Math’s head with punch line after punch line. Jabbing here and jabbing there, K’s bars fell softly on the sleepy crowd until the second round when he landed a mean punch, when he said, “How you lick the doo-doo maker ‘til you pass out, and then go to your crib and kiss your kids with that mouth? Sh*t stains on your tongue like, hold these youngin’. I flew all the way to the Chi I’m about to Cochise something.” Throughout the battle Math didn’t seem poised like you’re used to seeing him. He’s usually the puppeteer tugging at his opponents emotional strings, even though he gets into his feelings and becomes volatile sometimes, he’s usually the starter and the finisher. This time he looked defeated, not because K was tougher than him, but because of his response to the crowd’s reaction to K’s rounds. When it was Math’s turn to rap it was like he was playing catch up to go the distance to meet K’s rounds. I wondered why Math was taking this to heart but apparently him and K were close at one point, and though I don’t know the particulars of their relationship, things got very personal in the third.
“Stop acting like you the only one that’s been through something. This world is f*cked up. It’s sad but it’s true. What goes around comes around; we get back what we do…At this point in life just be happy you exist. You got snuffed. So what! Now, stop acting like a b*tch.” This is how K started off his third round – strong, to the point, and wound opening. Let me press play again so you can listen some more. “You think you’re bigger than battle rap, that’s how I know you’re corny. If it wasn’t for battle rap I wouldn’t know your story. That’s why you popped your hubcaps on a road to glory, and you plotting a comeback when you’re close to forty.” Math’s retort was far less impactful and in the beginning of his third he stumbled for moment while trying to gather his words. It was like K knocked the wind out of him and he had to recuperate, so he did what most black battle rappers do when their backs are against the wall when battling a white guy. They pull the race card. Now, I’m not opposed to talking about injustices and racism as it relates to black people, but this was clearly a below-the-belt tactic to get out of losing. There were a few laughs and sporadic cheers, but none as enthusiastic as the roars that came from the crowd when K was breaking Math down.
There was no genuine love between the two, or any sportsman-like gestures of appreciation when it was over. It actually turned into a short spat in front of everyone, where Math was clearly disheartened, claiming that K and other so-called friends aren’t on his side in this beef between him and Diz. At this point in his career, Math is out there on his own. The Brooklyn role is washed up, and fans have moved on to the new bullies on the block, and new waves in battle rap. You can say a part of this is his cross to bear, as he has clearly been the bully his whole battle career. Another way of looking at this is that Math has an opportunity to redefine himself in this current landscape, which is not a bad thing, because you can’t be a bully forever.
Bigg K vs Math Hoffa 3rd round audio <—— click here
© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2015
Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group