June 18, 2014


Combatant Profile: Math Hoffa’s Equation

Eminem's Shady Films / watchLOUD.com
Eminem's Shady Films / watchLOUD.com

Math Hoffa is a hard guy to track down. When we get on the phone and I tell him I haven’t seen his infamous battle with Serius Jones, where Hoffa knocked Jones the fuck out like Debo, he laughs. “I’m gonna cherish this moment,” he tells me. He’s not playing around.

In fact, Hoffa never does. Some say he’s one of the most respected battle rappers out right now, while others felt he slipped after his loss to Calicoe, but everyone knows one thing: Hoffa doesn’t lie in his raps. “I think people believe me more than they believe anybody else,” he says. 

That seemed to be the jist of his battle against Arsonal, as Math pegged his opponent to be a cartoonish phony who loved video game references. Hoffa sets himself apart from the crowd by steering clear of the dense, majestic infected apoplectic dialectic shit that other rappers trip over themselves to spit.  He slows it down and stuffs conviction into every word, so as not to impress as much as impact. There’s little flare to his style—you either feel his bars or you don’t.

I think people believe me more than they believe anybody else.

That’s why Arsonal’s witty jokes and wordplay don’t hold up against Math’s charisma in their battle. It feels like Arsonal is performing, but Hoffa just looks like he strolled into the venue by accident. He’s cool, calm, collected. He laughs at Arsonal’s comedic jabs with the confidence that home field advantage gives a battle rapper. Even rhymes about his deceased mother or killing his son don’t put a nick in Hoffa’s armor. It’s like he could lose this battle and not waste a second to care.

Math is an artful warrior, a careful observer, and a weathered pro. He strikes the hardest when the odds are stacked against him, like when he won three straight rounds in his comeback battle against Marv Won. Sleep on him at your own peril, because he just might be the one that sneaks up on the competition and steals “Total Slaughter” for himself.

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