May 1, 2010. With just about two minutes to go in round two of Mosley vs Mayweather, one punch stunned Floyd and each fan cheering him on at the same time. A shot that stands out to this day because of who was on the receiving end more-so than who threw it. Floyd has been tested numerous times, some harder than others. He’s had blood in his mouth. He’s had to take time off and reevaluate his approach. What he hasn’t done is lost.
Murda Mook is the closest thing battle rap has to Floyd Mayweather as we’ll ever see. The fans pick whoever’s facing Mook to upset him based on that person’s rise and recent performances. Once the battle happens and Mook emerges victorious, the narrative changes to “well (insert rapper here) isn’t that good anyway.” or “Mook didn’t win the way he was supposed to”.
Sound familiar? Before every Floyd Mayweather fight, the talk is about how he’s never seen an opponent with this much to lose, gain, or prove. How this opponent will give him trouble and become “the 1” in the loss column. Once the fight is over, it’s about how Floyd “ran”…or “it wasn’t as entertaining as I thought it’d be” but never about how he actually, you know, won. Placing asterisks next to wins don’t make them losses.
In this era where groupthink dominates most social media platforms, it’s easy to sway opinions when you start to speak the language of the majority on certain subjects. Aye Verb addressed Mook not having any battle rappers on his podcast as if most battle rappers haven’t been calling him overrated and out of touch for years. It’s easy to sell the “he didn’t look out for us” angle when most casual fans are willing to agree because they don’t like how Murda is heralded as the greatest over their favorite battle rapper.
“You ever seen God on Mt. Rushmore?” -Mook
The great Yonkers prophet Jason Phillips has a bar in his catalog which sums up what Mook means to battle rap culture…
“I’m like God, cuz you can’t touch me or see me. But y’all know I’m there and y’all know that y’all need me.”
Each time an up and coming battle rapper rose through the ranks and generated enough buzz to be called “next”, they were asked about facing Mook. Often times we see the community agree on certain matchups and the consensus becomes it needs to happen. To which the bigger name or hotter rapper at the time gets to dictate if the said battle rapper is even worth their time.
With Mook? It’s the “yea you shining, but the only thing you leaving out. you’re a candle in the sun, that shit don’t even out.” line from Jay-Z effect. Even the rappers who’ve been crowned as GOATs of this current era have to see Mook in order to cement their legacy whether they agree with his status or not.
Regardless of where you stand on Mook’s style, one thing you can’t question is his impact. He made his name in an era where word of mouth and actually buying DVDs were the way to find out who was hot. You couldn’t send a tweet and show how many RTs or likes it received as proof of the consensus. You had to actually “be outside” in a sense. Fans of microwave content don’t take the time to break down certain schemes or understand the complexity of certain angles, and Mook’s whole style is very cerebral. Also, the “in the building” vs “on camera” debate is real. See, in the building majority will hang on to what’s spoon-fed and easy to catch. Not just because the lines go over heads, but imagine standing in a hot venue for hours, intoxicated more than likely, and hungry. You might not be your most attentive. Watching the battle at home when you can pause, rewind, actually focus and view the battle different.
Aye Verb’s slogan was about putting blood in the mouth of his opponent. The Avengers even made Thanos bleed, and all they got in return was “you should’ve gone for the head”. The GOAT remains the GOAT.