"The Battle" Casual x Saafir -A Shomari Smith Short Film

bay area California Casual Hobo Junction Kevvy Kev Oakland Saafir Sway & King Tech The Wake Up Show

November 18, 1994 I was working at a company named ITS (Intermodal Transport Service located in Benicia, CA) where we inspected new cars being delivered by trains mostly. Job detail: check for damages caused during transport, folks living inside of the new whips etc etc. The whole day was filled with anticipation of the event jumping off that evening (as I rushed through inspecting Ford Mustangs, Explorers and some Lincoln Navi's.)

 The Hiero/Hobo Junction Battle (which really wasn't a crew battle initially, find out why in the film) had garnered so much hype that it was comparable to a 87' Mike Tyson fight. Hiero had established themselves as major label act at the time so Hobo Junction would've been considered the underdog by industry standards. That being said if Mike Tyson could've been reimagined into "Microphone" Tyson, Saafir The Saucey Nomad would've been your closest embodiment. Vocally (and physically, Boy was brolic) Saafir's style was Jazzy, off kilter and hard core all at the same dam time.

Casual always stood out as the obligatory Hiero Hitman when it came to flat out bar work. His debut album (Fear Itself, 1994) established him as being the fusion of traditional Hip Hop and street that balanced out the Third Eye Vision Hieroglyphics crew. This battle has to be regarded as one of Hip Hop's greatest duels based off of the publicity it received from main stream radio station KMEL (San Francisco). Hip Hop had the early 90's Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show (89.9 WKCR, from a basement station at Columbia University) in New York hosting MC confrontations, but up to that point commercial radio stations hadn't  sanctioned official Rap battles with the build up of Sway & King Tech's "The Wake Up Show" Hiero/Hobo jump off. Shout out to director Shomari Smith for filling in a lot of gaps when it came to this legendary mc clash. I'm sure folks will be impressed just seeing it on screen, up to this point I'd only heard the audio for decades. Check it out and stay on this Drums & Ammo page. We're Here. #DNA

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