Throughout the course of our interviews with participants of Road to Total Slaughter, one name has consistently popped up in conversation: Arsonal. The New Jersey battle rapper who’s known for never needing homefield advantage is without a doubt one of the most well-respected battle rappers of all time. People either want to face him, or already have—and lost. In a game of heated rivalries, he’s public enemy number one.
His resumé is deep and he’s battled in almost every league known to man, but if you want to see how ferocious Arsonal can get, watch his ten minute battle with Hollow Da Don at Fight Klub.
Hollow had been on a roll at the time, devouring 10 straight opponents at the New York venue. As legend has it, Holllow claims he freestyled each verse against Arsonal, but perhaps that was more crisis management than pure truth.
Facing each other across a pool table, Arsonal and Hollow each had 60 seconds to get their rhymes off. Hollow starts off strong, making “Men In Black” jokes and cracking on Arsonal’s supposed gang affiliation, but everything changes when Ars starts spitting. When he says, “You dope head, you line sniffer, reefer groupie/Type of nigga can’t fuck unless you eat the coochie,” the crowd goes wild, and by the end of his first round, it feels like he’s already blown the roof off the place.
But it gets better.
Before the second round starts, you can tell Hollow feels the battle slipping away already, there’s a mix of anguish and shock on his face. His following verse fails to impress the crowd, and Arsonal quickly dominates again—”Why you talk like you chop off grams, and you the pop-off man?/ Nigga, you work at the hot dog stand.” Couple that with a line about Hollow and his aunt doing the stanky leg on a street corner, and it’s clear why Arsonal is known for his second rounds.
The third round is a little more even, with Hollow catching a little wind back and Arsonal telling him he sells fax machines, but at the end the judges want more. They’re all in favor of Arsonal, but it’s like he didn’t finish the battle correctly, so they go for one last round. They basically made food out of Hollow.
Puns, insults, comedy—Arsonal hits on every cylinder with his final round. He says Hollow’s outfit is from Walmart and his ring is fake, but the best part is his extended story of fucking Hollow’s bitch. He spits with so much energy it’s as if he sucks the air out of the room by the time he’s done. It’s a unanimous decision (with Dame Dash as one of the judges): Arsonal wins.
When he faces off against the Road to Total Slaughter competitors, you can expect the same thing. He’s a fearless rapper with a well-known reputation and the skills to back it up in every single round. You’d be wise to put money up in favor of the Newark kid.
– Text by Max Weinstein, originally posted on WatchLOUD.com