Raw, skin-deep emotions. A lot of hunger. The final battle of the 2nd Division Rap Battle series is one to remember.
Title: HypnosisMic 2nd Division Rap Battle "Buster Bros!!! VS Matenro VS Fling Posse" Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS Release date: 08/09/2021 Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap-Rock
1 - SHOWDOWN (Buster Bros!!! VS Matenro VS Fling Posse) 2 - Hoodstar+ (Division All Stars) 3 - 2nd D.R.B NON-STOP DIVISION MIX
Track by track analysis:
1 – SHOWDOWN
“SHOWDOWN” is the song that will ultimately crown a winner – new or recurring – in the 2nd Division Rap Battle series.
And this is quite an interesting song not only on the instrumental side but also in the way the battle – vocal parts – are structured.
The song kicks off with a melancholic rock sound with strong emo vibes going on. It sounds final and emotional right off the bat, providing the perfect stage for Buster Bros!!!, Matenro and Fling Posse.
The 3 verses in this song are completely different, providing different looks into this battle. The verses are quieter and introspective, leaving the spotlight on the vocals. Overdriven guitars play in your right ear while distant guitar riffs paint a melancholic soundscape on your left. At the center, powerful bass elements leave a strong impression.
In a way, the panning of those elements seems intentional to illustrate the 3 different crews. Buster Bros!!! is illustrated with those distant guitar riffs on your left. Fling Posse brings melancholy to this battle with those overdriven guitar riffs that feel like ripples in the water.
And Matenro is illustrated by those powerful bass elements (bassline and drums) at center stage showcasing their status in this battle.
The first verse has Buster Bros!!! VS Matenro, the second verse has Fling Posse VS Matenro, and the third verse has Buster Bros!!! VS Fling Posse.
I actually appreciate that each crew gets a decent amount of time to rest their case, tell their story, and sway your attention to them.
The chorus explodes in emotion with the vocals powering their way through screaming guitars in post-rock fashion. The drums are slow, loud, and splashy adding some distance to this battle and, once again, accentuating the end of something.
I was not expecting post-rock to be used for the final rap battle in the 2nd division rap battle series but color me impressed. The sound worked with the vocals in all 3 crews and the way everything was mixed made all 9 members shine while making the song memorable.
As far as final battle songs go, “SHOWDOWN” is the best. I may be a bit biased to say this as I absolutely love post-rock (or anything rock or rap-rock-related) but I believe this song really put the focus on the “emotions” and all 3 crews’ intentions and reasons to want to climb that step.
2 – HOODSTAR+
Already well known by the franchise’s fans, “HOODSTAR+” brings in funky vibes to the spotlight, with each crew part having its unique feeling.
The song adds Bad Ass Temple and Dotsuitare Hompo into the mix, extending the song to a whopping 8 minutes.
Since joining the franchise, Bad Ass Temple and Dotsuitare Hompo have added a disruptive touch to all Division All Star songs, going for completely different sounds and vibes that clash with the “originals”.
This is a really quirky thing that I actually appreciate, with Bad Ass Temple nudging past Dotsuitare Hompo in terms of delivery – their flow is intense – and vibe (those 80s funky citypop vibes are absolutely awesome).
Still, both crews added a lot of style to this groovy tune, representing their colors with a lot of passion, with that showing in their intense flows, strong rhymes, and unique vibes.
3 – 2nd D.R.B NON-STOP DIVISION MIX
This is a massive remix that gives a completely new touch to your favorite songs in the 2nd D.R.B series.
MAD TRIGGER CREW’s “HUNTING CHARM” got a deep bass-focused mix with relaxing vibes much in the style of Enigma – an awesome German group you should check -, and some bits of funk on top. I already loved this track but this mix absolutely took the song for a completely different dimension. That chorus is everything I could ask and more of a new mix.
Dotsuitare Hompo’s “Wara Osaka!～What a OSAKA!” got the 80s rock vibes treatment, elevating the song, making it more tasteful and groovy.
Bad Ass Temple’s “Kaigen” goes emotional with melancholic guitars leading the way in the verses but what impresses the most is how the chorus opens. The beat has a tribal vibe to it, incorporating traditional Japanese percussion elements with electric guitars in the background that add a dramatic twist to the song. Midway through, rock and hard-hitting hip-hop take center stage. Those two parts, together with the tribal + traditional sound represent all members of Bad Ass Temple and it is absolutely beautiful to listen to. This is a mix I’d love to watch being performed live.
Matenro’s “TOMOSHIBI” is my favorite song out of all battle songs in this 2nd D.R.B so I was curious what this mix could add to a song that was already perfect. Well, for starters, the mix added drum and bass, glitchy synths, and intense drums.
This reflects the fast-pacing of the Shinjuku district, cruising in the late nights with no set destination. The feeling of urgency yet of nothingness. Still, I feel like the original was the take that best suited those deep, introspective lyrics.
Buster Bros!!!’s “Re:Start!!!” mix brings ethereal synths, a delicate piano melody, and an R&B-inspired beat to replace the dramatic rap-rock tone of the original.
This is a refreshing twist to the song, one that shines in the chorus with the addition of those melancholic piano and strings melodies. In a way, I feel like this song got even more emotional than the original version.
Fling Posse’s “Black Journey” was quite the quirky song with the funky danceable sound not matching the pitch-black lyrics.
This song got a massive revamp, kicking off with a dreamy vibe but slowing down to bring in a harp in the intro. The beat is dark, the bassline is violent and the synths bring a bit of melancholy to the mix.
The chorus slowed down a lot in comparison with the original, putting the focus on its emotional lyrics. Now the instrumental fits the lyrics almost like a glove. The drama, the intensity yet a certain hope is there and it is as ugly and beautiful to experience. This is a really awesome mix and a perfect way to wrap up this non-stop mix.
The final battle in the 2nd Division Rap Battle series is an emotional one.
“SHOWDOWN” put emphasis on that by bringing to the spotlight post-rock, a welcomed yet surprising addition to the music genres the Hypnosis Mic franchise has explored.
The tone is melancholic, something that is heightened by the guitars, while the drums and bass add an “end of the road” feeling to the song – really common with post-rock songs.
Slowing down the tempo and focusing on making the song emotional, yet more introspective really made all 3 crews shine.
There’s not much I can add to what I’ve said above about this track but it really is the best final battle song to date.
Regardless of which crew wins – whether for the 1st time or for a 2nd time -, fans have in front of them 3 awesome crews with a unique sound, a lot of passion, and quite possibly the best chemistry out of all crews in the franchise.
On my side, I’m rooting for Fling Posse (and would be rooting for MAD TRIGGER CREW if they had advanced to this round) but once again, whichever crew ends up being the winner, all fans of Hypnosis Mic win because that means more music and new stories to unveil.
“HOODSTAR+” added Bad Ass Temple’s funky 80s citypop sound to the mix and a taste of Osaka’s traditional and quirky vibe with Dotsuitare Hompo. It was an interesting addition with a bit of a disruptive touch – that has been a trend for both crews – but one that makes the track not sound stale or repetitive (after all it goes for over 8 minutes).
“2nd D.R.B NON-STOP DIVISION MIX” is a genuinely good mix. All songs were revamped – some with outstanding results, some really couldn’t improve more – giving way to new interpretations. Out of all new mixes, I’d love to watch being performed live MAD TRIGGER CREW’s “HUNTING CHARM”, Fling Posse’s “Black Journey” and Bad Ass Temple’s “Kaigen”.
These were the highlights in a mix that went by in a blink of an eye due to how engrossed I was in understanding all the new elements added as well as what had been replaced in the instrumental, and even little nods to previous songs (that subtle sample of “Shibuya Marble Texture -PCCS-“ in Fling Posse’s “Black Journey” being a good example of that).
All in all, this is a CD with a “final” vibe to it. It’s the final step to the top in this 2nd Division Rap Battle. It feels urgent, decisive and emotions are incredibly raw.
“Buster Bros!!! VS Matenro VS Fling Posse“ is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.