Eminem's Shady Films / watchLOUD.com

Big T is a powerful presence in any room he enters. Maybe it’s his Chicago heritage—bred on the notoriously dangerous South Side, he’s always aware of a potential threat. Death is an everyday reminder where he’s from, and you don’t carry that kind of burden around lightly. Maybe it’s his weight, where he gets his namesake from, but ask him and he’ll tell you that being big is what made him a battle rapper, he started improving his rhymes because people were cracking on his size. What makes Big T an imposing force is the fact that he’s the best rapper in every room he’s in. Just ask Tsu Surf.

Last year, the two clashed at a boutique in Detroit, semi-neutral ground for the New Jersey spitter Surf. He comes out swinging in the first round, but Big T just paces with patience, as if controlling the small crowd with silence. “I do very well in small rooms,” he tells us. “I think that’s because the person gets to sit and think for themselves instead of having the crowd sway them. I’m the king of the small room battle.”

It isn’t until the third round that Surf gets hit with the hammer. In a battle where punchlines rule everything, Big T said, “Now he’s like Keenan Ivory Wayans, ’cause I’m Gonna Git You Sucka /Nah, that was wack, it’s ’cause I put most his family up in a cast like In Living Color.”

Shit.

“I’m more of a longwinded…I like to go 12 rounds,” says Big T. “I want to set it up. I want a beginning, middle and end. Set you up, laugh a little bit, walk around you. That’s my specialty.” He showed amateurs how it’s done in close quarters. Fat jokes be damned; Those were the reason he got nice in the first place. Tsu Surf should have known what he had coming.

And Total Slaughter competitors better recognize, too. Coming from the Midwest, Big T is a sleeper pick to steal the tournament out from under everyone’s nose. He wants to battle Eminem and he says he could beat everyone in Slaughterhouse. Seeing how he dismantled Tsu Surf, it looks like anyone could get got. Watch your back.

– Text by Max Weinstein, originally posted on WatchLOUD.com