• Tristan Acker


As someone for whom Deems has become something legendary, this Urban the Element battle was a thing to behold. In this moment, Carter has just gotten comfortable with the disparity of his intelligence and his opponents’ to the point where he’ll basically freestyle a battle. Urban didn’t come to be another guy Deems gets laughed out of a room. An unstoppable phenomena collided with a determined-ass object and it was incredible. Deems, even when he slips and is on his heels as he is in this battle (which I really hadn’t seen in other battles from him), shows such a remarkable wit and love of words that it feels like he’s channeling, and shit maybe he is.

Urban not only brought a fierce second verse that attempted to critique a racist American psychology that would contribute to Deems’ popularity in battle-rap but brought verses that effectively (if not perfectly) satired Deems’ own absurdist and tongue-twisting style.

Urban was not without missteps – I have a lot of raps about my deceased dad, but I wouldn’t end a battle verse about him…at least I don’t think I would. His use of vocab wasn’t always accurate but I was impressed at how clear he was communicating his theses despite that.

If the chronology of Deems’ battles was a movie, this would be the back against the wall, hero-is-down moment – someone has not only bested him but called out his whole shtick in a brutal attempt at deconstructing it.

As a biased fan of Deems, I still feel his work here is at least as artistically interesting and prodigious as Urban’s here but Urban’s second and third verses are positively inspiring in their spirited attempt to not be overwhelmed and defeated by the intellectual force of nature that lives within Deems. It was one of those moments where the herculean feat that the Element had to perform in order to beat Deems was so impressive and strenuous that it ultimately is still a very big compliment to Deems that Urban the Element prepared for war to this extent, with this level of effort and precision.

Until next time.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdculture hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers

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