Battle rap fans already know that Ave is one of the most exciting new talents to enter the URL scene in the last few years, but for the uninitiated, now is the perfect time to get familiar with him, since he’s potentially two quick steps away from superstardom.
This weekend, he’s facing off against returning veteran O-Red at URL’s “Born Legacy” small-room event series in Brooklyn, and then less than a month later he’ll take on Shotgun Suge at the league’s “Night Of Main Events 7” at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza. If he’s able to duplicate the quality of his performances over the last year in these next two battles, there’s no way he won’t skyrocket his way to the high end of top tier.
The Norfolk, Virginia native has impressed fans with his seemingly endless supply of creative bars and deep references to sports, movies and Hip Hop/battle rap culture. With the strong writing comes a confidence of delivery and an urgent flow that is only interrupted by the crowd exploding into cheers.
Check out some of his highlights:
Already he’s made a statement with his four battles on URL’s channel, taking steady strides forward with each showing: an under-viewed small-room classic against Nunn Nunn, a clear win over fellow up-and-comer Mike P, a 2016 Battle Of The Year frontrunner with Rum Nitty, and a building-shaking performance against rising star Chess in a surprise battle on Irving Plaza’s stage. Two of those battles (Mike P and Chess) got URL’s coveted Christmas Day release and two (Chess and Rum Nitty) will have surpassed the million-view milestone any day now. (The battle with Nitty already has and Chess is currently at 958,000 views.)
“He’s already on legendary status,” said URL’s Chino “Norbes” Velez to HipHopDX. “He has arguably one of the best battles in URL history with Rum Nitty. His main-stage debut with Chess on NOME was iconic. His first round was just earth shattering. The room was shaking. It was crazy.”
“Just know, life ain’t make you six feet, but death can” – Ave vs. Rum Nitty
Norbes had Ave pegged as a star from the first time he saw him perform at URL’s Proving Grounds in 2014.
“What makes Ave different is that he was willing to put in the work,” Norbes explained. “A lot of people try to downplay what we do in the [Proving Grounds] in terms of development. Ave’s first PG didn’t drop. I pulled him to the side that day. I told him, ‘You have everything it takes to be the next star, but I wanna see you work. I wanna see the Ave that I expect.’ … He took the criticism and came back in his second PG and got crazy … To be able to see him progress and become the superstar that I believed when I first seen him is definitely crazy.”
Despite being relatively unknown until he started to catch shine in URL’s development league, Ave has been around too long to be considered a rookie. He’s been active since 2012 and was a standout in smaller local leagues in Virginia. He’s had 12 on-camera battles over the last five years, taking on known names like John John Da Don, Ty Law, Steams and Ah Di Boom before even hitting the URL stage.
Those match-ups helped him craft an approach that fits perfectly with the punchline-heavy style that dominates battle rap right now.
“A lot of good writers come and they’re lacking a demeanor about them, and he comes with everything,” said Norbes. “He has the demeanor, the presence, the vocal projection. A lot of punchers come in and they’re kind of monotone. But Ave can grab control of the room and his cadence demands that people pay attention. He’s like a combination of so many different battle rappers that it’s insane.”
His battle with New Jersey’s O-Red this Saturday (March 11) will be a big test for him, as he headlines the card against a well-respected veteran whose return to the URL has been highly anticipated. He’ll also have to stand out against the rest of the hungry MCs on the card, which features Qleen Paper vs. Nu Jerzey Twork, JC vs. Chef Trez, Th3 Saga vs. Tink Tha Demon, and a 2-on-2 with Ryda and Jakkboy Maine vs. Snake Eyez and Dougy.
Regardless of the outcome of Ave’s BL5 battle, he’s also already booked for URL’s biggest card of the year so far, April 8’s “Night Of Main Events 7” where he’ll take on Shotgun Suge. This main-stage battle against an aggressive, established East Coast name will be the biggest test to see if Ave has the ability to turn himself into URL’s next major star.
See more coverage of URL events and Ave on BattleRap.com.