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Old 06-24-2014, 03:02 AM   #1
Certain
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Default AOWL SEASON 3 MAGAZINE — EDITION 17 — PLAYOFF PREVIEW


Season 3, Edition 17 // Playoffs, Round 1


We Will Rock You
INTRODUCTION by Certain





There's a lot in this magazine, so I won't get in your way too much. We've got a review of Week 16, a review of the season, a preview of the playoff bracket and a preview of the first round. We also have an interview with timeless and a writer's block feature by Vulgar and oats. Yes, we're going big as we enter the playoffs. Get fucking excited, people.



WRITER'S BLOCK by oats and Vulgar
Our two favorites entering the tournament discuss what to look for and what they thought of the season and some other stuff about writing and being a hippy and an ancient-civilizations nerd.





OATS: Mr. Vulgar, we meet again. When we first did this we were kicking off the season, now we're kicking off the playoffs. Before we get into it, what was your take on this season? Did you meet your expectations for yourself?


VULGAR: This season was very average. I lost too many battles, Split Eight dropped out, Frank slacked, Certain underperformed because he lacks belief in himself, Jonathan Mercy and Zombie cashed out, and El Pancake half assed. I was also no showed by Frank, Pancake and Pinot Grij this season - just not a turnout I look forward to. However, this season was beneficial to Adonis and King Ra, who've both turned over new leaves with their writing. Bladed Thesis is also an interesting addition to a stacked league. dead man is gun shy. Soulstice and ZYG both did excellent this season yet only one record suggests it. I'm also a little embarrassed to say it but I haven't actually read anything by dyedinthewool. Vividlyvague has beastly potential but underperformed. Pent Up did good but was discouraged by consecutive losses. Cereal Killa made a big splash, then extinguished itself. If you weren't mentioned, you probably fell in line with those who did just okay. On a positive note, Certain was the man for all the effort he put into this green family vehicle. I left oats out because you beat me on an off night. :)

On your second question, I never meet expectations for myself. I expect to be the 300-0. lol

What are your thoughts on this season?


OATS: From my vantage point, I thought it was a really successful season. Aside from maybe one week, people showed up, voted, and dropped good verses more often than not. I agree with your prognosis for the most part; some people underperform, some people step up beyond expectations. It's all part of how things go, and this has easily been the most fun and successful season I've taken part in on any site. Major props to Certain for that.

I definitely know how you feel about never meeting your own expectations. Part of the competitive ego I guess. As my boy BJ Penn said: all I ever wanted is to be the best ever, is that too much to ask? Even though I'm happy with my verses this season, I had two close losses that I would have preferred to win. All good though!

Moving into the playoffs, are you surprised by any of the absences? Who are you looking out for as potential threats to your title hopes?


VULGAR: Since BJ Penn is from Hawaii I have to ask, have you trained with him before at his gym? I'm a little surprised that Zombie aka big baby chose not to compete. He was doing his thing at 5-0, signed out, but never came back in after his hiatus. It was a humble act I never expected from an undead toddler. I'm disappointed that a few other guys dropped out too, probably due to real life time constraints. All in all, there will be some tough competition. I'm planning on taking some souls down with me if I'm eliminated.

Do you think big baby is Rosemary's baby?


OATS: I've never trained personally with BJ, no. He lives and trains on a different island, and his Oahu-based gym is pretty pricy. When I trained here I mostly was out of a camp called No Remorse because it was free, and I'm a Jew like that (no detour). But I guess you could say I taught him everything he knows.

As to the identity of BB da BB, it's an ongoing mystery that the sharpest minds have been trying to crack. The obvious answer is that he's the wedlock love child of Zombie and Dull Boy, but his intense feelings for Certain leave room for further speculation.

In sports you hear a lot about being a playoff experienced team, that you know how to elevate your game to that next level when the offseason comes to really contend for the championship. Does this apply to topical writing? Do you do anything differently, knowing that it is a one-and-done scenario with the title on the line every week?


VULGAR: Good question. In life, writing is a journey, and in order to stay conditioned, creatively stimulated, plump with adverse experiences, on the page or off it, you need to stay busy. Stay productive. I've seen you talk about it on numerous occasions, and hint at the doctrine you follow. I often find myself at a juncture telling me that it's okay to put pressure on yourself to write more but it's also necessary to give the mind room to breathe and come to its own autonomous decisions.

I wonder, then, does our unconscious mind do more of the writing than WE do?


OATS: I can't say I agree with that statement on the face, since writing is a fairly involved and active process for me; the day I start blacking out and waking up to a completed masterpiece, I'll change my mind. But I agree with the sentiment that your brain needs room to grow in order for it to stretch its limbs onto the page. To carry the analogy, those limbs need frequent exercise to grow to their fullest potential, but it's hard to write things that are interesting when you don't do anything interesting. Kind of circles back around to how to deal with writer's block, that is to say go out and have interesting conversations with people or stimulate your mind some way, always lubricates the process in my experience.

Which begs the question: it's often repeated that people should "write what they know." You have written some dope verses about aliens, sub-Saharan African plight, etc. Are these things you know intimately, or do you think there are exceptions to that idea?


VULGAR: The difference between me and most writers is that I write what I want to know. I want to know the meaning of the universe, the feeling of being embraced by a latina bombshell in the middle of a sunflower field in Iceland during summer solstice. I want to speak with aliens and know their secrets. I do research what I write about at length though so if an expert on the matter reads my piece, they'll get the impression that I at least tried to investigate a bit of its history. Wikipedia a beast doe..

Writing is probably one of the only religious procedure I take part in. I was born a Jewish fellow of Iraqi Kurdish descent but I don't follow any faith. Self discovery is my method of getting pen to paper and seeing what I can make of it. Writing is like painting, but it's easier and your hands get less dirty. The paint is visualization lubricant, giving you credit for the word lubricant.

I guess the phrase "It's all part of the writing process" doesn't fall on deaf ears in Honolulu's suburbs. What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?


OATS: Well-said, I think all of us here can relate to that on one level or another.

The last book I read was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I liked it. Sedaris is a sharp mind and consistently hilarious, though he is capable of producing pap more frequently than I care for. It's weird; I like Sedaris, but I don't necessarily respect him as much as I enjoy him. I find his style to be almost...easy? For lack of a better description. What I don't like about him is that I find he often lacks empathy for his "characters," and can come off as simply mean for the sake of a laugh, which is inherently less funny and less interesting to me. The best "story" from the book, in my mind, was Repeat After Me, because it showed a deeper sense of humanity. In it he compared himself to his sister's parrot insofar as they both essentially go through life repeating things - the parrot quite literally, Sedaris through publishing funny stories from his life, usually about his family. But as you might expect, his family is not always excited or even remotely happy to see what parts of their lives are sent to print, and the story analyzes, even apologizes for it. Definitely worth a read, I recommend Sedaris to anyone.

But to generalize, I think that sense of empathy is important for any writer. It's easy to make fun of things and leave it at that, but it's more rewarding to understand its foibles and shed light on the ridiculous aspects of life.

I'll leave you to answer this final question before we wrap it up. You're a man of many definitions, and you've led a fairly dynamic life so far. You said writing was your only religion - what are your goals in life as far as writing is concerned? How has the AOWL, or topical writing in general, fit into your life or made you a better writer? As one of the more prolific textcees on the site, do you see this as simply a passing hobby, or is it more?


VULGAR: Sounds like an interesting book but the title sounds like it'd be on the boring side. I don't read enough books as I'd like to; next on my list is going to be something exciting, maybe fiction. Thanks for the question about writing. My goal is to be a phenom in all areas of this craft, though I'm nowhere near that yet. I almost have unrealistic expectations of myself, but I attribute this to being an out of the ordinary person. When I get my focus going and learn to relax and prioritize, I'll fill a substantial amount of notebooks with Vulgarian text.

Rhyme writing and topical leagues have helped me hone my creative processes towards attacking topics and themes. It's granted me a competitive edge over other writers who may not be used to a combative environment with a 'prize' at stake. (In real life, the 'prize' might translate to a job opportunity.) I don't believe it's a passing hobby, although with that said I'll see what happens down the road. I'm infatuated with improving my overall acumen and I intend to at least scrape the clouds once or twice. A rising phoenix piercing Cloud 9 would also be ideal. Shout outs to vividly vague mic wreckers around the globe. In the AOWL, we're formulating thesis' with blades... and without mercy.

Good day, (g)oats.



THE INTERVIEW timeless, with Certain
Here's to one of the sleepers of this season and fastest-improving members we have. Get to know him now.





Hi, timeless. I've been trying to set this interview up all season, so I'm glad to finally be getting to it for the playoff preview magazine. How are you doing today?

Got a funeral for my aunt tomorrow morning been stressing trying to clean up and figure shit out. Other than just chillin.

Now, I know you're running a league elsewhere. What's kept you coming here as well?

I just started handling things with that a couple weeks ago, surprised its still even going honestly no one likes to meet deadlines. I've always preferred this league over others, just simply for how tight its ran, the assurance of a battle every week, and just an overall great vibe. Theres also great competition here, and dudes who've been at this awhile here are more than willing to help. You put a lot of work into this season, its a shame to see everyone slack on voting/reading and writing in general as the season progressed.

You pointed out once that I haven't predicted you to win since Week 1, excluding your match against me. You've got four other wins under your belt. How do you feel about me being an asshole?

LOL yeah, idk, got bored and thought id look that up. I know im no top tier writer but damn lol. Really surprised I beat you that week, idk how much effort you put in or not but it was still a good battle.

You've made major strides since we saw you under the name Mordecai in Season 2. What do you credit your improvement to?

Reading and experimenting with words. I rarely have time to write and transition a whole piece throughout a week without rushing bits of it, but you just have to keep focused. I came and went with writing rhymes with friends and online from 98-06, from 06-13 I wrote random rhymes here and there, some short stories, screenplays, then the habit grew on me back in november and havent stopped shaking off rust ever since. Even though there was no rust to shake, since I never really earned the metal to rust, but u know what I mean certain, for certain.

What chances do you think you have to win the playoff tournament?

Slim to none. I plan on signing out of my league(hopefully, if activity is decent by next week) and try to focus on my round one opponent, whoever that may be. I honestly felt on some frank shit, that I had Oats and Zyg beat earlier this season, so I don't know. I think thats a question only frank could answer properly.

If not you, then who will win it all?

My favorite writer would have to be Zyg, but I feel he has the tendency to slouch and rush things. Other than him, I feel that vividlyvague or frank will step up to the plate this year.

Where do you see the future of text rap being?

Same place it is now. Im sure itll dwindle down more and more. Not much we can really do about it at this point.

How often do you listen to David Bowie? The answer is, not enough.

Very often, actually. I never really got into him like I should have, I could probsbly name off 3 or 4 songs of his, but I dont think its possible to not like any of his songs.

What's your favorite pizza topping? What's your favorite ice cream topping? Would you be OK with swapping them (so that the pizza topping is on the ice cream and vice versa)?

pepperoni and choc jimmies, and nah fuck nah.

Jay Z or Nas or Andre 3000?

Toss up with nas and jay

Anything else you'd like to add?

slug is better than both of them, among many others.




Week 16 Rewind
BATTLE REVIEWS by Certain
I kept them short for this last week because you don't care about Week 16 anymore. It was picture week, and 25% of the competitors no-showed.





1. zygote (13-3) beats Certain (5-5) 7-1. | Escape or stay warm?
zygote closed out the season in a fitting way, winning handily with a great albeit short verse that weaved storytelling and poignant commentary. Certain choked away his chance to take the No. 1 seed by clearly half-assing a decent concept.


2. Vulgar (8-4) beats timeless (6-8) 8-0. | Painting chains
Vulgar thought really outside the box and came out with a verse about alchemy that showcased what he can do with really unique storytelling. His verse was the best of the week, but timeless didn't even come close to matching it in a very short and shitty verse that didn't have much of a point. He's better than that.


3. King Ra. (7-7) beats Bladed Thesis (3-1) 7-1. | Grim Reaper's video games
The decisiveness of this outcome was interesting, but I was a bit underwhelmed even as both wrote rather long verses. Bladed Thesis failed to emotionally connect despite his brilliant mechanics. King Ra. didn't maintain a unified writer's voice on his very cool take on the topic.


4. Vividlyvague (9-6) wins via Objective (1-3) no-show. | Hook, line and drinker
Hop plants are great because they make beer. So Vividlyvague had me with his concept, writing about the life of them. He didn't deliver much on that, probably because he knew he had the no-show win in hand. Objective disappointed.


5. patrown (3-4) wins via Adonis (7-9) no-show. | Timely shoveling
patrown wrote an OK look at metaphorical death and planet Earth and some other stuff. He started strong but seemed to lose track of the verse the longer it went. It was a solid effort that improved with a second read. Adonis no-showed to my surprise and cost himself a couple seeding spots.


6. Zenland (3-2) wins via Soulstice (2-6) no-show. | Banking prayers
Zenland basically seemed to be playing with sounds and rhymes in this very short verse. It clearly was written quickly but had some poetic potential. Soulstice could have devoured it and made the playoffs without too much effort, though.



NO-SHOW SHINE by El Pancake
I made him do this as penance for not voting.





Vividlyvague | Hook, line and drinker
I'm not sure. It's all fine. I don't know the context of your verse, the topic. So that's on me, I guess. To me, this was reaching. You work better in the literal; the plot. The progression of tangible steps. Here you seemed to try to go for the esoteric, within the topic you had. I like you more literal. Being 'deeper' isn't necessarily better. Or being vague isn't necessarily better. That's just shit people try to do. Honestly, I like your less poetic and more opaque verses much more, compared to this. You work better in the actual.

Zenland | Banking prayers
You like to try to write different. "Modesty's sodomy" would've been the best line if it made sense. You're a jigsaw puzzle with the distraction of Play-Doh. You have dope lines but when put into the context of your piece it's just another cypher. You take your cues from Dullboy without the prerequisite panache and experience of ennui. Your reach here, and in most pieces you write, isn't long enough for the grasp. But you try, which is more than most can say. You see something you like and try to surpass. You fail, but almost every 'writer' here just stays in a lane. This verse is the same. You deserve respect for aping and trying and vying.

patrown | Timely shoveling
boring.



Season Perspective
TOP 32 VERSES by Certain
I read every verse this season. And during the season, I kept a running file of possible entries for this list, the 32 (averaging two a week) best verses of the season. I thought about paring the list down with an emphasis on getting as many names out there as possible, but that didn't seem honest. The truth is oats and zygote showed up strong more weeks than anyone else, so they are heavily represented here. But 18 writers made the list. Are you one?





32. timeless | Week 9 vs. Certain
Let's start with me losing. This seems the only fitting way, right? timeless took me down here in what I humbly will call one of the biggest upsets of the season. He wrote a brilliant take on the topic "This Is It" from the perspective of a pet goldfish in a society of pet goldfish. timeless' second-best verse of the season may have been his Week 1 effort about turtles, so maybe this is a theme.
Quote:
Originally Posted by timeless View Post
I wish we could tell them this, I wish for the ever so seldom bliss,
the type of unity and respect like if heaven blew hell a kiss.
When coincidences become natural, that's when you know we're fucked.
Stuck in between the mold that shaped us mackerel, we owe an ode to luck
"Because before I lived here in this pond, I seen some crazy shit man.
I shared a small glass bowl with a friend, thats when I switched plans."
Then I asked him, "What do you mean, Stan?" He said he dipped when
his friend died, "they flushed him, and no, not in the sink man."

31. Perpendicular | Week 10 vs. oats
Perpendicular's run in this league was brief, but through his heavily flexed rhyme mechanics and emotionally detached content, I think his identity was pretty obvious. This verse sent oats to a second consecutive loss after eight wins in a row to start the season, and it did so by simply being air-tight in every regard, including it's link to the Samuel Adams quote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perpendicular View Post
They're keeping the peace with checks and balances:
Algorithm's that tell inhabitants
"healthy challenges,"
"credit management,"
"helpful traffic tips,"
"where the madness is,"
"steps to having bliss,"
and "better rationing" -
from an epoxied cross breed of Tech and Pathogens.
With legs that stand unhinged and a screen for an iris,
the man of the future looks as seedy as pirates.

30. oats | Week 5 vs. Frank and Vividlyvague
The first championship match was a mild disappointment. For one, it ended up being a three-way, which rarely is fun. But also, Frank didn't show up with much of a verse, and Vividlyvague seemed like he needed to work on his a bit more. oats, though, took advantage and won pretty obviously, even with a low vote total. His verse was a bit more of a downer than we're used to from our Hawaiian.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oats View Post
The corner was flashing with dreams from the past:
morbid attractions, friends clinking their glass.
Adolescent me, peaking a glance at my mother undressing,
and a sequence of acts trying to gain other’s acceptance.
“It’s something depressing, what your heart gravitated to.
Think of ALL the things you didn’t have the talent to pursue.
I make things manageable for you, a crucial part of your pride
You’re bound to fail, I don’t know why you bothered to try."

29. sacrifice | Week 2 vs. Objective
I really wish sacrifice had stuck around. There's a reason he established himself as, in my opinion, inarguably the best pure lyricist among all-time elite topical writers. He maintains deft rhyme mechanics but works them into a very natural cadence. Simply put, his verses are rappable without losing the nuances we expect in text. Here, he explored addiction with strongly emotive word choice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacrifice View Post
Choked from the stench leaking from atrophied will.
A question from the passions, asking...
When exactly you'd kill the habit? After these pills?
Another week passes and still...
The same sticky soles from the spills on the fabric of weakness.
Spinning cyclical revelation, a little magical sweetness
and you're back in traffic and speeding toward a battle with demons;
a force of madness and pretense.
Of course, you happen to need this,

28. Vulgar | Week 11 vs. oats
Some verses that lost will make it on to this list. Here's the first we come across, and the loss came in part because of length. Vulgar wrote a brilliant narrative about being a man tasked with maintaining oxygen levels on a polluted, dystopian-future Earth, which was a really cool take on "The whole world is depending on you." He wrote short but tight and clear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulgar View Post
Gentlemen, letters have been sent to your senators & local governments
Clear your lungs... recharge your lives, avoid the hopeless sufferin'
Chronic urbanization's a nameless plague, a newly risen sun
Ever since the war to end all wars succeeded in inspiring a different one
The shortage of oxygen, causing corpses to stockpile, lords of the obsolence
Ignoring the opulence for a portion of godly mist used to be normally obvious
Mandatory duties: Purge the ports, Earth's a torch, refill the canisters
The cities we built were cancerous, the filters blanched with dust
Imagine trying to preserve an atmosphere for civil kindred damned to flush
forced to wilt and wander the morbid filth... as phantoms must

27. Soulstice | Week 12 vs. Johnathan Mercy
At the time, I called this the best battle of the season. Looking back, that was a slight overstatement, but it definitely was among the top five. Soulstice wrote the losing verse in this case, but his story of a shootout at the harbor was really well laid out. Soulstice may be the best around at scene-setting, and his atmosphere was gorgeous here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulstice View Post
Doc was bowside - laughing about the doomed plan
Too much hubris, too much fear, not enough of a new man
He knew the museum - so he helped them break and enter
Glanced at the strange crate they stole - didn't care for the contents
Acutely aware of the onset - of death's dreary denouement
No fear - just a happy recollection of his smuggling days
While reality around him crumbled; bludgeoned and razed

26. Split Eight | Week 10 vs. Vulgar
I could read Split Eight verses all day because of his poetic diction. He simply comes up with better ways to phrase things than other people. Here against Vulgar, he pulled off a redemption for his The Winter Topical loss. It ultimately was an easy verse for him, about the sister of a girlfriend who goes through some abuse, but it worked well with the topic, Thomas Paine's “The slavery of fear makes men afraid to think.”
Quote:
Originally Posted by Split Eight View Post
She meandered through minutia of men, starstruck.
Bruises and red accrued in the grooves of her neck.
Harmless... aloof, when you're tense. Abuse was a stretch.
Freezing as comets, sleeting rain toxins, I'll hold your hair
but the solution ain't death. The fleeting hush between vomits.
She was obsequiously honest. It was becoming.
She was plain and petit. Soft-lipped. With a dusting,

25. Mike Wrecka | Week 8 vs. El Pancake
This is the Mike Wrecka we didn't get a chance to see much of this season, all creative and ambitious and perfectly tempered in rhyme. The cadence was just perfect, and though the concept was a bit straight-forward to extend through such a long verse, he kept it interesting the entire way. This was one of at least two, maybe three, battles that Mike Wrecka took an early lead on before losing right at the buzzer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wrecka View Post
I used to stand tall, a powerful tree,
casting a giant shadow, with a tower of leaves,
did you know the temperature would be over a thousand degrees,
if I didn't create the oxygen that allowed you to breathe,
every exhale derails the clouds with a breeze,
but that wasn't enough to leave these cowards appeased,
first a carbon footprint left the flowers diseased,
then they pulverized plants into the ground with their feet,

24. oats | Week 11 vs. Vulgar
oats is such a fucking hippy. That'll be a reoccuring theme in this section. Here he tries to explain why economics is a fake construct used to enslave people. The weird thing, perhaps stemming from the peyote echoes his verse eminated, was that he almost convinced me this nonsense was right. I bet oats smells like feet. But he can really write and earned the win for this fried-up dissertation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oats View Post
They say economics is an actual science
but what laws apply?
if you’re measuring wealth, what exactly is being quantified?
from cowrie shells to precious metals, now hours of work
but who decided the hierarchy of how much it’s worth?
if you think the difference between trash collectors and CEOs is reasonable, wait
remove all garbagemen and managers from society - that idea will change
the system’s flimsy and volatile, debasing the dollar’s power of purchasing
are your models predictive with any remote shadow of certainty?

23. Zombie | Week 8 vs. TheRealWayneBrady
Zombie just outwrote everyone all season. TheRealWayneBrady was an alias of a very good writer, and here he got slaughtered simply because Zombie attacked the topic aggressively and head-on. Zombie wrote maybe one verse in his five-win run that wasn't just a direct take on the topic, but what was special here was how well he weaved the image and the concept of this water into his take.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie View Post
if you ever get caught in a rip current, swim parallel and swim back
but maybe I wanna' swim towards the light where fairytales can diffract
fold your own paper square. Priest Poseidon confessional. Say a prayer.
you don't drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there
personal water temple. where you're the pastor, except your oath is death
pulpit's your pebble. Sermons only as long as you could hold your breath
invoking the holy name. The suicide note that's stained. In tears is your bible
orchestrating the exhortation's revival.

22. Cereal_Killa | Week 13 vs. Frank
I was surprised and saddened when Cereal_Killa up and left us. But he left us only after a string of three of the best verses I've read from him (that I can remember, at least, as it's been more than a decade since we first crossed paths). The win against Frank was the obvious highlight. He completely dominated our indominable figurehead for a championship because his uniquely poetic wording hit its absolute apex.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cereal_Killa View Post
Her embroided silk taffeta whisks like taffy amongst magenta n’ gold
Outlining her hips through italic goose bumps on a virgin valley untold
As poignant as the sun brushing blush strokes from the breast
Of a chipped statuette
To provoke each blemish in elegance, entwined with her linen bodice
I kiss her hand and tell her
You don’t need a looking glass

21. oats | Week 8 vs. King Ra.
All hail oats in this, his last week as champion. Here, he took one of my favorite picture topics of the season and turned it into an atmospheric meditiation on everything we have and everything others don't. Basically, he examined what being first world really means to all of us, particularly as it relates to understanding life. It was intelligent and only mildly hippy-ish.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oats View Post
the halls you’d run through as the sun crooned to small faces
have since been captive to the shadows, reassembled as tall mazes.
long days spent in hiding turned nerves to calm patience -
same as how the sidewalks transformed to crawlspaces.
fresh air’s a psalm, nascent in the midst of burning atmosphere
the trial of survival: evoke ANYTHING to pass as fear
cuz once you become numb to the reality that happens here
you’ll face your debasement: you’re a statistician’s chandelier.

20. sacrifice | Week 1 vs. Frank
sacrifice describes fallen civilizations and a broken world to the topic of Things Fall Apart. He writes a masterful, lengthy description of how things fall apart. And yes, it's a bit of a straight-forward take on the topic, but the rhyming and writing is so tight and thoughtful that it seems worthy of consideration. Then he loses 11-1 to a verse that is a bit later in this countdown.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacrifice View Post
The slow procession toward a city that suffered calamitous wounds.
Remember the fallen, the children's faces when the panic ensued.
Still it amazes, and strengthens resolve.
Some brazen, embracing the chilling result:
Why resort to killing them all? Only to leave us for life.
I tried to convey with frequency, like they couldn't see the deceit,
a kind of peaceful reminder, that there's reason for evil.
"You liar," they'd say. "Reason's inadequate."

19. El Pancake | Week 8 vs. Mike Wrecka
El Pancake seized one of the best battles of the season, which also happened to be a key contender match that led to El Pancake dethroning oats the following week. It'd be incorrect to say this was El Pancake at his very best, but there was a lot to love about this take on searching the sea and soul. The rhyming is just so strong, and the take on the topic was direct but smartly twisted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pancake View Post
I’ve played this scene out, this cogent dream,
so many times I felt nostalgia as soon as I broached the beams
with the sun at dusk, the reflected view. So serene.
Suspended
for one moment, enthralled in a wanderlust.
As every restrained synapse erupts, as I ardently summoned up...
...and released. Free. A God in the Summer dust.

18. Soulstice | Week 13 vs. zygote
I thought zygote lost two battles this season. He finished it 13-3, but I thought he won two of those losses. So there's this, where Soulstice's verse seemed to be misinterpreted by nearly every voter and still only resulted in a one-vote loss (that might have cost Soulstice a playoff bid). This storytelling was astoundingly emotional at times, making up for occasional overwriting and muddling of the core idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulstice View Post
She could feel the shadows of benediction's flight
Underneath ghostly mountains, hidden in white
Lit by the infinite lights across the weight of the galaxy
Bearing down on them, this particular shading of apathy
Was a dentist with a drill - boring cratering cavities
Creation's starry machinery - components in matrix catastrophe
"I know it's hard to believe in me," she reached a reasonable level
of volume. Still weeping, but no longer seething in treble
"By autumn, this will seem a fever dream with a devil
At the end of it" She could speak with obsequious mettle
But still too young to speak over the sudden screams of the metal

17. Vividlyvague | Week 11 vs. Certain
Vividlyvague decided to do his own version of a zygote verse and knock me the fuck out. He parodied performance-enhancing drugs, which was a bit of an easy take on "This will make a man of you," but it worked because he showed a strong sense of humor. He's tried to channel that humor in the past but muddled it in unclear storytelling. This was Vividlyvague writing with rare focus, and it was one of his best verses yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vividlyvague View Post
-All participants awarded stipends upon signing waivers.
Do not volunteer if you use nitrants for chest pain. Terms
And language do not reflect the opinions of Eurba D. Inc.
Or its partners. Please consult physician before drink
Consumption. May cause nausea and vomitting.
May cause total scrotal emplosion. Tests show promising
Penile growth, with exponential improvement with each dose.
May cause internal bleeding and death. Call physician in case of overdose.

16. oats | Week 6 vs. zygote
oats won this battle, but you'll notice he's one spot behind zygote on this list. That's because this battle was tremendous, and both of these verses need to be commended. oats wrote a gutteral, emotional plea with a logical overtone. His emotional connection to the reader is something that few can equal, and that pulled him through along with his superior rhyming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oats View Post
Planet Earth. Damned since birth. A lawless perdition.
Coifed with ambition from paradoxical symptoms:
consider Luna. she pulled life from sea to land, creating all our existence -
formed by the same cosmic collisions that have been cause of extinction.
The most modest of wisdom can state the problems facing
our planet - from greenhouse gasses to the weight of population.
Rampant disease, finite food sources, depleting aquifer basins -
it's all knowledge you’ve gained but try to hide from honest engagement.

15. zygote | Week 6 vs. oats
I didn't have to think much about which losing verse to put highest on this list. Simply put, I thought zygote's take on armies led by great philosophers was brilliant. That's not a knock on oats' verse, either. This was the best battle of the season because of how well both of these gentlemen wrote their distinctively different takes. zygote's made me think and learn and reconsider, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zygote View Post
At the send-off ceremony, The Empires worker’s wave with a zealous fervor,
Women and children wear a white flower and yell for murder.
Rows of soldiers march straight past, hands placed on hearts,
The soldiers of Descartes pack themselves into awaiting train carts.
Descartes thunders – “MY Ubermensch go to WAR!
All Glory to the Empire! You THINK therefore you ARE!”

14. Split Eight | Week 11 vs. timeless
The ending of this verse is what slayed me, and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who didn't read it. But what we have here is a really great example of what a character sketch can be when it's put in motion instead of being a still life. It's also a great example of what Split Eight does better than just about anyone with unorthodox diction and mechanics.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Split Eight View Post
... John was scheming up a future path, a long career,
soon to be reared from his tenure at N.C. State.
Measured, at any rate, by paintings, charcoals, acryllics,
all babies inside this harbored image. His narcissism
was carved with an artists' touch, sloppily hid-
it was hard enough to stem his creative tide
and blend in upon inspection by the laymens' eyes.
Impatience was fostered by his lofty ambitions.
Lost within himself. Lost in adopted mannerisms,
a savant with no tangible competition.

13. Frank | Week 1 vs. sacrifice
It was all downhill from here for Frank, really. He beat one of the greatest topical writers of all time in Week 1 in by far the best battle of the week. Then he never wrote a verse as good as this clever baseball extended metaphor verse about a player trying to prove something to his mother. The ending even made a nod to his opponent. This is Frank when he's firing on all cylinders, even if I was surprised he won so handily.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
A lone fan runs through the stands, through the seats, tripping, and catches it with a glove of Wilson color stitching
I hear mother’s rendition from the bleacher seat disrupting the pitching.
The megaphone almost got her suspended for an entire season, but she won the decision.
All the players say I'm lucky to have such a cool mom -
they just wish she wasn't belligerent when I was up because it's become somewhat of a hindrance...
The rally cap in her hand is a windmill in a tornado - pushing the runner to second, like a third base coach - conducting and spinning.
SAFE!

12. Vulgar | Week 16 vs. timeless
I talked about this verse in the Week 16 review, but it easily was the best of the final week and the climax of a strong season-ending run by Vulgar, who, as he admitted, lost a few too many times early in the year. Here, his storytelling was on display in the context of a very Vulgar-like setting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulgar View Post
The Nubian general Naazim paced in his jail cell, inept and resourceless
bereft of his forces, he had clouds about his bald head, the weather was morbid
A wretched and sordid feudalist King named Nabuch was responsible for his imprisonment
Guards were hitting him with grim instruments, vividly aware of his innocence
He had dissented on the battlefields of Nabta Playa for condemning the law
when he refused to let archers fire on a monastery defending its cause

11. El Pancake | Week 9 vs. oats
Writing about writing is tricky, but El Pancake won his title this season by doing a great job in a character sketch about a struggling author. He took a fundamental look at how we deal with separating reality with this world of writing that we enter, and he created a few detailed characters. As a result, he sent oats to his first loss of the season after an 8-0 start.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pancake View Post
Keeping time through pen strokes, John debates his crescendo
eating cooked lentils as he wears in grooves; his pace picks up tempo
walking by his bookshelves, all three replete with august tomes,
in his cluttered loft, peering over a street of marching drones.
They would never meet. He, too, enjoys a walk, but often alone
and he figures that’s one reason the critics so laud him for prose.
He does think it’s possible, though, that a more social milieu
wouldn’t too adversely change the current scope of his view,
but he writes as a contortionist. Twisting and distorting the truth,

10. Zombie | Week 10 vs. Just Write
My intial draft of this list had this verse about 10 spots lower, and I don't know why. Maybe I thought it seemed a little easy to write a day-by-day journal of life in a topical league. But I've been in and out of these leagues for 13 years and probably 300 league and tournament weeks of participation, and I've never seen anyone do it so well. Not many can write as well as Zombie, of course. But his refreshing honesty hit home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie View Post
JOURNAL ENTRY: 5/2/14

Look, I didn't mean to be cocky, i really am sorry
i reigned supreme as a god, and mocked you as weakling. youre hardly
but in the evenings, i worry. but not about the league
i worry about me. I worry about worrying. I worry about dreams
if you don't win, zombie, they'll crucifix you
i'll just throw whatever together & pretend I couldnt get to it
im trying to relax. but i've gotten to a point

9. Adonis | Week 13 vs. Vulgar
Ultimately, our goal here is to come up with engaging takes on topics, and tell those stories in creative and nuanced ways, balancing mechanical precision with interesting content and diction. Adonis' verse against Vulgar not only was by far my favorite I've read from him, but also was one of the most fundamentally successful verses of the season at executing. This story of a coca leaf's lifespan was straight-forward but seamless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adonis View Post
Droplets get siphoned, each leaf drinking excitement.
Broken soil, stems sprouting up; ethereally heightened.
The greenest sea, vegetation basking in rays.
Morning warmth gradually masking the shade.
Low heat will soon swelter away.
Soil tilled by youths where shelter is the currency paid.
Young hands calloused over. Children at play.

8. Johnathan Mercy | Week 12 vs. Soulstice
Soulstice's verse from this battle was mentioned earlier in this countdown, but Johnathan Mercy won pretty handily because of the high level of craft. This was the most tightly written verse of the season, with rhymes galore and incredible complexity and dexterity throughout. No one can touch Johnathan Mercy's mechanics, and this verse about death as a woman was all of his fury on display.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnathan Mercy View Post
She is rampant entropy;
- A phantom entity of vast complexity
And while we cocaine-addled mammals helplessly,
try to recapture our mental balance chemically
She'll show her outstanding lack of empathy
- and ravage destinies faster than you can whack a Kennedy
Chaos in the guise of apparent symmetry
slashing with brevity through our sarcastic pleasantries
in Her totality with iron cast integrity
fanatic enmity and volcanic ecstasy

7. oats | Week 2 vs. zygote
On any given day, I could have been talked into a different choice for oats' best verse of the season. The guy did start 8-0 for a reason, barely even dropping a vote in the process. But this is the one that stuck with me, a fundamental look into how we raise our children. It continues in the line of his hippy ideals, but it's a bit less smelly. And it's the only loss zygote took all year that I agreed with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oats View Post
Life's a formative test - there's not a second to spare!
Give him the fundamentals - strong reading and math
Consistent discipline the compass for him to keep on the path
to succeed or to laugh? now that’s just silly, inane
think of Achilles - why do you even know Achilles’ name?
even Icarus would be ridiculous if he didn’t try to fly to the sun
so don’t get straddled by distractions - there’s a life to be won

6. Zombie | Week 9 vs. Johnathan Mercy
In what may have been my most anticipated battle of the season, Zombie took another key step in his run to perfection. And he did it with this horrorcore-esque look at torture and masochism. The verse had this wonderful momentum, though, and it kind of picked up as it went. Plus, its application to the topic "Bring the Pain" was perfect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie View Post
more they waterboard, a small corner of my accord is growing energetic
glows in pink/magenta overflow with the aura of fixed adrena
there ain’t a clover big enough, throughout the course of interjection
a leviathan designed of swords, and remorseful life’s a giant sore
the whip & chains is scintillating. vindication. I like it more.
i sense distraught discrepancy, a vengeful gods dissected me,
demented block. the mezzanine. the lisp’s I got; from mescaline
molested, rotten. ethylene. penchant for a pencil plot
and for every shot affecting me = a mental wash that sets it free

5. zygote | Week 10 vs. El Pancake
This one had to crack the top five. zygote explains the politics of AOWLsovia and blows out El Pancake's response verse in the process. It was funny, poignant and remarkably honest and intellectual. Frank called it the greatest verse ever, I think. I'm bitter I wasn't mentioned. Doesn't anyone else think that's fucking bullshit?
Quote:
Originally Posted by zygote View Post
From the South the contentious Senator Franklin Rosenthal gathers momentum,
We need a strong presence in the executive to handle his brand of aggression.
And from the periphery all new manner of independent Senators emerge,
For how is Democracy truly Democratic if only one can ever serve?
Moreover, Mr. Pennock has recently usurped Quincy Oatsfield - our favorite President,
Utilizing such an unholy design that it can only be described as shameful precedent.
It is time for hope and change, we no longer require irrelevant rhetoric,
Cast aside clever broadsweeping references and generalist messages.

4. Just Write | Week 2 vs. El Pancake
The first major upset of the season required the verse of Just Write's life. (El Pancake's dystopian reality show verse was a close omission from this list.) He upended the defending season champion by telling this heartwarming, relatable tale with a twist ending that didn't feel contrived or ill-explained at all. Everyone at the time said Just Write had made the leap to elite with this verse, and that remains the sentiment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Write View Post
He didn't know it then, but our friendship was essential to his growth,
I was going to show this timid kid how to let hit limitless potential be exposed
He seemed a little shy, awkwardly pushing his glasses up his nose
Smiling he said, "Hi, my name is Tommy, if you like, you can play with one of those"
He pointed to some G.I. Joe's that were laying off to the side
He said that was the graveyard for the Cobra Commander's who already died.

3. El Pancake | Week 7 vs. Split Eight
Not even The Mind Assassin can touch El Pancake's psychoanalysis when he goes in on a verse, as he did here. Split Eight no-showed, but this was one of the two or three best verses I've read from El Pancake. I don't think there was a better-written or more emotional verse all season, and the only reason this wasn't No. 1 was because it didn't quite have the same level of out-of-the-box thinking of the two above it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pancake View Post
Yes, we’re all very impressed. You’re so distraught and affected.
I guess the more you mourn the more your ‘God’ will respect it.
What of guarded reflection? No, there’s no notice in that.
Not nearly ‘emotive’ enough . You’ve really got to show that it hurts.
“Theo, I don’t know how to act.” No, I don’t know how to act,
but your stage presence and delivery deserve a roll of the claps,
a glowing review. “He’s taking it hard.” “He’s just holding it back.”
If ‘it’ is a strong ‘fuck off’ and a shrug you’re clairvoyant, ol’ chap.
Just hours upon hours of cowards, cowering with eyes shut.
You really seem to care, really. And the flowers were a nice touch.

2. zygote | Week 5 vs. YDK
One of the things I looked for when deciding my top handful of verses was which ones I would forever identify with this season. And this, without a doubt, was right up there. zygote's chess machine verse was so perfect because we all think of him as a machine with astute artificial intelligence. Here he made us empathize with the machine as it broke free, and he did in an awesome framework.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zygote View Post
4. Nc3, Nf6
5. Qe2, Nc6
6. Nxe4, Be7

Larry remembered his childhood, Deep Maroon remembered its programming code.
Larry learnt to play with makeshift sets. Maroon learnt through different matches and modes.
Today would be Deep Maroons vindication. It had channeled the human condition.
It finally understood how to disregard pure calculation and trust its own intuition.
Its programmers didn’t know this. They had only trusted it to follow a script.
Deep Maroon pumped out its moves. The programmers hurried and started flicking a switch.

1. Pinot Grij | Week 3 vs. Mike Wrecka
This obviously was the best verse of the season and was voted into the Open Mic Hall of Fame. Mike Wrecka no-showed it. The creativity, storytelling and true sense of humor on display as Alex Trebeck gets his weaponized revenge were just amazing. Most of the story-lead weeks produced slightly weaker verses, but Pinot Grij killed it with probably the best humor verse I've read on these sites.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinot Grij View Post
“Hello Pat, you faggot, by now my hate should be obvious…
Cuz your show ahead of mine is a disgrace to my audience
See, your pussy ass is dead, this robot’s really a weapon
To kill plebeians who can’t answer a simple trivia question:

“This blonde idiot is broadcasted on all of the biggest stations
Let’s call this ignoramus the hugest bitch in syndication.
Lacking innovation, plus me and this bitch go way back…”
Pat shudders, “Who is…. P-P-P-Pat Sajak?”

BOOM

The robot left Pat’s brains splattered on the veranda light
Alex smirked, “Wrong bitch.. who is Vanna White”


CHAMPIONSHIP REWIND by Adonis
Adonis takes a look at how easy or hard a road each person had in winning and defending the championship belt during the season. Asterisks mean no-shows.





1. Oats
Title match wins: King Ra. Timeless, Zygote, Frank/VividlyVague (3-way)
Path there: Just Write, Timeless, Zygote, RawnMcDon*
Had arguably the toughest road as he needed to go through many more opponents then usual as it was beginning of the season. He beat Rawn McDon via no show, then squared off with the endlessly talented Zygote in what was a great read. He followed that up by destroying Timeless, who is no slouch but was simply over matched. In his contenders match up Oats then beat Just Write, when Just Write was on point none the less. His first title came by the hands not one, but two forces in this league. He beat Vividly Vague and Frank simultaneously in a three-way match, and made it look easy. Oats then strung together a few title defenses in beating none other then Zygote again, Timeless again and King Ra. Who in his own right had his best season to date.


2. Zombie
Title match wins:
Split eight, Zygote
Path there: Just write, Mercy, Real Wayne Brady
Had a relatively tough road to his contender match in facing a highly impressive Real Wayne Brady, who didn't have the best record but wrote a few solid verses before disappearing. Zombie followed that win up with beating Jonathan Mercy, who was a multiple contender and made one title, however lost. In Zombies title defense he took out a very motivated Just Write, who at the time was writing some of the best verses in the AOWL. In Zombie's title match he dethroned our current champ, Zygote, who will know is one of the toughest wins to come by. His lone title defense was against a easy win against Split-eight who was dealing with some sort of personal issues and posted a key rather than no-show. Zombie ended his own reign by signing out undefeated and will not return for post-season surprisingly.


3. zygote (second run)
Title match wins: Certain, Cereal_Killa
Path there: Adonis, Soulstice, Vividlyvague
Ended the regular season as our champ thus securing the #1 overall seed before not signing in due to vacation. Leading up to his contender match Zygote Squared off first with Vividlyvague, never a easy win. He then Moved on to beat season ones runner up in Soulstice, who in his own right could have easily champed this league if he put forth more effort. In Zygote's contender match he beat the GOAT of topicals...Mr Adonis. Zygote then dethroned, Champion Cereal Killer in a no-show win and capped off the final title defense of AOWL season 3 verses the willy ol' vet and chief, Certain.


4. zygote (first run)
Title match wins: El Pancake
Path there: Frank*, MMLP, Vividlyvague
This season's only two time champion. I would also like to say what a fucking season, you'll see his name a lot from me here. Dude only had one loss outside of a championship or contender-ship loss. It was against Oats, week two, in one of the better battles of the seasons. After that loss he was a staple for the league, climbing his way to multiple title shots. This time around however he began with beating VividlyVague again, just as he did his final run. He followed that win up with a pummeling of MMLP, and in his contender match again unseeded the one and only Frank. He eventually would dethrone El Pancake, being crowned with no title defenses.


5. Cereal Killa
Title match wins:
Johnathan Mercy, Frank
Path there: oats*, Adonis
Had what I view as the easiest road to the title in beating Adonis, which proved to be off and on either tough or fierce opponent, then beating Oats via no-show in his contender match. He had the short road due to the first ever (at least that I've seen) vacated belt when Zombie signed out. While on top however, CK did have some impressive wins in beating Frank for the vacated belt followed by his lone title defense verse a man who impressed each week out, Jonathan Mercy.


6. El Pancake
Title match wins:
oats
Path there: Mike Wrecka, Split Eight*
Had another one of those easy roads in beating Split-eight via No-show. He did square off with a highly impressive Mike Wrecka at the time easily winning that Contenders match. He did however Dethrone this seasons longest tenured champion in Oats, he concluded his regular season run with no title defenses but should be a deep threat in Post-season.



Breaking Down The Field
TIER IT ALL UP by Certain
In which I break down the odds of each playoff competitor actually winning the championship and why the will and won't.





FAVORITES

1. oats (9-3) | 21%
Best wins: Week 2 vs. zygote, Week 5 vs. Frank and Vividlyvague, Week 6 vs. zygote, Week 11 vs. Vulgar.
Worst loss: Week 10 vs. Perpendicular.
Why he will win: oats opened the season 8-0, beating everyone in his path with aplomb. He rarely dropped a vote in that run and showed tremendous motivation and creativity. He's very comfortable within his skill set, which few can match for its versatility. As a result, he can play to his opponents' weaknesses. oats was my pick before the season, and he more than proved why that was a wise pick.
Why he won't: oats sometimes struggles against top-tier writers, perhaps because his balanced style doesn't lend itself to as high a ceiling as those other top writers. Now it's time for him to show that elite tier, but he's been away for a few weeks and will have a very difficult first opponent after his bye.


4. Vulgar (8-4) | 17%
Best wins: Week 1 vs. King Ra., Week 3 vs. Adonis, Week 4 vs. Frank, Week 12 vs. Certain.
Worst loss: Week 13 vs. Adonis.
Why he will win: Vulgar's best is better than anyone else in this tournament's. His top gear has become a lot more accessible this season, less shrouded in dense allusions that require tortured analysis to draw meaning from. He's hitting his stride of late, with a few very strong verses to close out the season including the best of Week 16.
Why he won't: Even as he moves toward a more layman-like style, Vulgar still can be a bit unapproachable. He loves to write about topics that are not within the traditional bounds of hip hop or even text rap, and that has a tendency to alienate voters at times. Also, sometimes he allows his rhyme mechanics to be lost amid his content.


8. El Pancake (5-4) | 14%
Best wins: Week 5 vs. Totoro, Week 8 vs. Mike Wrecka, Week 9 vs. oats.
Worst loss: Week 2 vs. Just Write.
Why he will win: The defending champion remains a favorite because he's a wonderful and unique storyteller. El Pancake has a tremendous grasp of character development, the best on this site, and as a result fleshes out his stories with very real human beings who we can identify with in their struggles. To top that off, he builds his writing off of unique word choices and complex rhymes and schemes. He may be the most high-level writer on this site.
Why he won't: El Pancake basically won the title by beating oats, then laid down and rolled over and died. Does he still care? He also has one of the toughest paths to the title match of anyone, potentially having to beat Certain, oats and Vulgar just to get back to where he once belonged.


TRUE CONTENDERS

3. Frank (9-6) | 11%
Best wins: Week 1 vs. sacrifice, Week 4 vs. Vulgar, Week 8 vs. timeless, Week 11 vs. Perpendicular.
Worst loss: Week 13 vs. Cereal_Killa.
Why he will win: Frank feels as though he was robbed in the playoffs of the first two seasons. He also surely is not happy with his regular-season performance. With a chip on his shoulder, he's sure to come out firing. Frank will be at his charismatic storytelling peak. He writes with a more hip-hop bent than any of our other top competitors, which plays well to the voters. His rhymes are strong, and he has swagger. He's also on the easier half of the bracket.
Why he won't: Something's been a bit off about Frank ever since he was blown out by El Pancake in the Season 2 championship. His verses have not been of as high quality, and he had three no-shows and a disqualification this season. Will he find his mojo?


11. Johnathan Mercy (4-3) | 9%
Best wins: Week 8 vs. d0ubt, Week 12 vs. Soulstice.
Worst loss: Week 10 vs. Vividlyvague.
Why he will win: Though masked by alias, Johnathan Mercy has an elite-tier topical pedigree. He's beaten most of the best and showed that high level of skill in his brief run here. His writing is economic and filled with dense rhymes and unique phrasing, but it rarely feels forced. He's right up there with Vulgar for the best top gear in this tournament.
Why he won't: For one, we don't know how invested he'll be. Mercy posted seven strong verses, but he then disappeared. But mostly, the issue comes with his tendency to write topical verses instead of stories. He's good enough to overcome this, but voters do tend to gravitate toward stories, and it's easy to imagine him struggling against Frank or someone similar.


2. Vividlyvague (9-6) | 7%
Best wins: Week 3 vs. King Ra., Week 8 vs. Adonis, Week 11 vs. Certain.
Worst loss: Week 14 vs. cyph her.
Why he will win: Vividlyvague is the most creative person in the playoffs. (Thanks, zygote.) His tendency is toward the fantastic and occasionally weird, and that catches voters' eyes quite often. He's also developed quite a bit as a writer this season, tightening up his word choice and smoothing out his mechanics. That's a big step from last season, when he was sort of all over the place.
Why he won't: Even so, Vividlyvague lacks the polish of the top tier here. He doesn't always devote enough time to writing, a demand that certainly is understandable but also is very clearly reflected in his work. When he gets that time, the improvements show. But too often they don't, and the lack of investment could be his undoing.


DARK HORSES

9. Certain (5-5) | 5%
Best wins: Week 7 vs. rhetoric, Week 10 vs. Smegma, Week 15 vs. cyph her.
Worst loss: Week 12 vs. Vulgar.
Why he will win: Certain may not have shown it much this season, but he is a proven writer with an enormous pedigree in the topical battling world. He had last season's best record and has a good grasp of storytelling and topical writing. His track record shows a writer willing and able to think outside the box and commit fully to topics, even difficult ones. And his mechanics are beyond reproach. And there's a rumor that his work schedule may be lightening.
Why he won't: He's probably the most boring writer around, persistently picking approaches about minutae that don't pull in voters consistently. He rarely shows his top effort level, in part because of his moderating duties. His versatility and polish come with a sacrifice of distinctiveness, so his verses rarely feel as imminently his own as other top writers. He didn't show as much gusto this season as last. And he has probably the toughest path in the bracket.


6. Adonis (7-9) | 4%
Best wins: Week 2 vs. Diode, Week 5 vs. King Ra., Week 12 vs. Perpendicular, Week 13 vs. Vuglar.
Worst loss: Week 4 vs. YDK.
Why he will win: Adonis took a big leap this season from last, and while that 7-9 record may look grim, he far outperformed it when he went all-in. He writes with a very unique style based heavily on dense phrasing and imagery. When he's at his best, he's grabbed you and maintained lucid storytelling while keeping his wording fresh and coming up with a creative idea. He can beat anyone. He's proven that.
Why he won't: But will he? Here's a fun fact: Everyone Adonis lost to made the playoffs. He doesn't often enough bring his A game to the table, instead going for either gimmicks (a favorite of his) or lazily relying on his phrasing alone to carry him. He seems to be at his best with darker writing about clear topics, but will he be able to do that every week of the playoffs? He can beat anyone or lose to anyone.


5. King Ra. (7-7) | 3%
Best wins: Week 4 vs. Mr. J, Week 6 vs. Mike Wrecka, Week 12 vs. timeless, Week 16 vs. Bladed Thesis.
Worst loss: Week 15 vs. Zenland.
Why he will win: Few think as big as King Ra. He's always going for some enormous story encapsulating all aspects of the topic and going beyond it, writing with fervor to save the world or at least explain it. He has strong grasps of mechanics and diction, and he's a topical veteran who has run the league before and knows what it takes to win.
Why he won't: He has always struggled with the top tier. Too often his big ideas don't become fully realized, or he'll slack a little on mechanics or diction for a section of his verse. Rarely does King Ra. wow you, even though he seems to try for that effect most weeks.


CINDERELLAS

7. timeless (6-8) | 2%
Best wins: Week 5 vs. Mike Wrecka, Week 6 vs. Adonis, Week 9 vs. Certain, Week 10 vs. Adonis.
Worst loss: Week 12 vs. King Ra.
Why he will win: timeless is a really creative guy who hasn't always had enough time to invest in this league thanks to other commitments. But he says he'll be more into it for the playoffs, and if that's the case, he could show off his tremendously improved writing ability. timeless goes heavy on rhymes at times but, when he's at his best, the focus is on content and topic approaches that are at an elite level.
Why he won't: Simply put, timeless doesn't write as well as the elite-tier competitors. His losses show that pretty clearly: oats, zygote, oats, Frank, Split Eight, King Ra., Vividlyvague and Vulgar. He's improved tremendously, and I could see him as a contender by the time the Season 4 playoffs come around. But he isn't as experienced or as elevated as the top tier.


10. Mike Wrecka (5-7) | 2%
Best wins: Week 7 vs. Adonis, Week 9 vs. Smegma.
Worst loss: Week 5 vs. timeless.
Why he will win: Three of Mike Wrecka's losses were by one vote, and three were by no-show. He's had a hard-luck season that easily could have held a very different record and outlook entering the playoffs. Mike Wrecka championed the Writing Challenge League with a straight-forward style and creative approaches, and he may be motivated to return to form as he's talked about stepping away. Also, he has one of the easier paths to the finals.
Why he won't: He'll really need to push himself to do that. Mike Wrecka really only pulled out all the stops once all season, in his close and great battle with El Pancake. He hasn't written a verse since Week 9. And even when he does write, his lack of complexity often hurts him against the best writers, particularly guys like Vulgar.


14. YDK (3-4) | 2%
Best win: Week 4 vs. Adonis.
Worst loss: Week 5 vs. zygote.
Why he will win: YDK is that guy who plays up to his competition and shows up with his best efforts in his toughest matches. That makes his first-round battle with Frank interesting, and if he can get through that, the path to the championship won't look so hard. He almost beat Frank in Season 2, after all. When he brings together his solid phrasing and rhyme mechanics with good content, he can beat most people on an off day.
Why he won't: I used the loss to zygote as his worst even though zygote was the best because it shows what happens sometimes to YDK. He underwrote and got clobbered. Too often he allows himself to write really trite stories or topical verses. He needs to be more original, or he has no chance.


12. Zenland (3-2) | 1%
Best wins: Week 3 vs. cyph her, Week 15 vs. King Ra.
Worst loss: Week 13 vs. cyph her.
Why he will win: Zenland is the people's champ. He has a terrific beard, and his complex rhyme schemes complement it well. Really, Zenland may have the best rhyme schemes of anyone in this tournament, and he can be funny but is at his best when he hits poignant notes. When he hits his strides, particularly on emotional topics, his phrasing and rhymes make for high-level writing.
Why he won't: Is there a more tortured topical writer? Zenland never seems satisfied with the idea of limiting himself to one topic or one angle, preferring instead to go all over the place with his rambles. His content, as a result, usually is thin and ill-thoughtout. He's a better writer than he shows in these competitions.


13. patrown (3-4) | 1%
Best win: Week 2 vs. Cereal_Killa.
Worst loss: Week 3 vs. Just Write.
Why he will win: patrown is one of the most understated and underrated writers here, as he comes in and does his business usually without wasting much space or words. He showed his desire to get in with a more fleshed-out verse in Week 16, though, so we may not see his usual undoing of writing less than most of his opponents. patrown has a knack for coming up with interesting stories and for rhyme mechanics, though they don't always show up together.
Why he won't: Rarely does patrown bring it all the way, and as a result, rarely does patrown beat top-caliber opponents. Making that mission even harder for him, he faces Vulgar in the first round. No one has a tougher first-round opponent, and it's difficult seeing him escape.



PATHS OF GLORY by Adonis
Taking a look at who has the easy road and who will be taking the hard path to the title match.





This section is dedicated to looking at match ups and finding out just who will, or rather COULD, have the toughest road to the championship. Oats and Vividlyvague each get that bye week so it will be tougher for them to labeled as the toughest road because they do have one less match. But, lets look at a few options here. First off, to me at least, Rankings really don't matter, I mean I have the 6th seed but consider myself a lesser writer than both (8)Certain and (9)El Pancake so there's that. Speaking of which, whoever wins the “Match of the Round” has a tough road ahead of them.


Certain/Cake
This in itself could at the very least be considered a semi-final-esque match up. Frank has already admitted that this is one of the more intriguing bouts, of the season overall not just post-season and I don't think we will be disappointed. This could very well go either way, but Cake does claim to be extremely motivated currently, however, considering Certain crashed the site to give himself extra writing time ;) it truly is anybody's match. Doesn't matter who advances here, either way the next draw is a guaranteed Oats, which has been the writer of the season in my eyes and it's not really that close. So if Certain/Cake make it past oats, they could potentially face off with Vulgar, who in his own right, is unquestionably one of the best topicalists to ever grace any site. Finally if Certain/Cake make it to the finals, potentially facing Jonathan Mercy/Frank/Vividly vague or someone near that caliber of writing, lets just say what a fucking road.


Frank/Jonathan Mercy
Frank begins his extra-curricular path with YDK, who is up and down, but consistent enough to string together some very dope verses, but then drops a few duds now and again. YDK no shows some what often, or he at least writes keystyle if he does show; but these verses do not do his style justice. I'm not saying YDK can't beat Frank, but for the sake of this article, lets say Frank Wins....

JM on the other hand shall square off with yours truly, on paper I don't stand a chance, so for lack of arguing I will say I lose (but I won't).

Now....This gives us the pleasure of a Frank vs. Mercy match up round two, which similarly to Certain vs. Cake, could very well be a finals or at the very least, a semi-final caliber type battle. Doesn't matter who advances, either way they will draw Mike Wrecka/Vividly vague/Timeless, neither of which are easy at all. Then to make it as far as the finals they would do the Oats/vulgar Certain/cake etc. basically pick your poison.


Mike Wrecka/timeless/Vividlyvague
This side of the bracket seems less clear cut, but a bit easier in terms of elite talent. Who ever wins the Mike v. Time match then draws the privilege of facing Vivid, which in his own right, I don't believe has ever champed, but I'm sure has come close as all three have in truth. From there, the path would be identical from the Frank/Mercy bracket.


Vulgar
This is the final scenario in which Vulgar beats Patrown (one of my all time favorite writers no joke) he then draws Zenland or more likely (no offense cuz I love you) King Ra. Who tends to write this really dope elaborate story’s that are so epic in scale, but some times they just aren't that elite level writing. From there he would face the winner of Oats/certain/Cake which as well know have each been a in-season champ, although I'm not 100% sure Certain has, just checked, surprisingly Certain has NEVER been champ in the AOWL, further proof he sucks at life. Vulgar would then see either JonMercy/Frank in my eyes.


So....the question was, who has the toughest road to the finals? I think the upper portion of the bracket is far superior as it contains three out of the five total, in season title holders in its side of the bracket. (Oats, Cake, Vulgar) So the bracket is top heavy in my eyes. With all this mixed and confusing logic, I can break it down in a few short words...Certain/El Pancake, have by far, the toughest road to the finals, and honestly, it's not even close. May the Karmic gods frown on you all and shine on me.



ROUND 1 PICKS by Certain
big baby told me he'd do these, then didn't. But I've done them all season, so I might as well continue. The topics are poem titles.





8. El Pancake (5-4) vs. 9. Certain (5-5) | "The Genius of the Crowd"
Charles Bukowski was the only choice for a poet here, and dead man chose this very apt topic. To state it plainly, El Pancake is better than Certain right now. Certain had a bitch-made season of halfassing. El Pancake seems kind of motivated. But Certain might be, too. But El Pancake is better, so he'll probably win. These two collaborate well together but actually have very distinct styles when they're on the topical side of the room rather than writing emo freeverses. Certain probably will try to be zygote, and El Pancake probably will tell a moribund tale of what it's like to be smarter than everyone. Prediction: El Pancake 62-38.


12. Zenland (3-2) vs. 5. King Ra. (7-7) | "Still I Rise"
I'm not sure why I went with Maya Angelou for these two, so don't try to make anything out of it. Zenland already wrote something, but he still has plenty of time to decide to write something altogether new. My bet is that Zenland writes the more entertaining verse, but it barely touches on the topic. King Ra., meanwhile, goes for a bold take that does a decent-enough job and stays on task better. Interestingly, Zenland has beaten King Ra. in their last two topical matches, though King Ra. won a swag-and-flow battle in between those. Here's to revenge factor in one of the closest of the round. Prediction: King Ra. 54-46.


13. patrown (3-4) vs. 4. Vulgar (8-4) | "As I Grew Older"
Langston Hughes' dream was deferred. So it is that Vulgar ended the regular season on a hot streak again but will have to wait to get a championship. This is such a brutal blow for patrown. He can beat elite writers when they're a little off, but Vulgar is one of our most consistent. He offers no holes for patrown to poke through, and I have hard time imagining the upset even with a title that could lean in patrown's favor. Prediction: Vulgar 68-32.


3. Frank (9-6) vs. 14. YDK (3-4) | "No Time to Hate"
Like Emily Dickinson, Frank is the type who has thousands of verses saved up that he's never shown to anyone. And like Dickinson, YDK sometimes whines. I really like this battle after they had a very compelling battle in Season 2. YDK can bring it when he's at his most determined. Will he put enough time into coming up with original content or simply try to win the battle of mechanics? You can't beat Frank without great content. It's not an easy topic, but I think Frank's creativity wins out. Prediction: Frank 59-41.


6. Adonis (7-9) vs. 11. Johnathan Mercy (4-3) | "Leave Me a Place Underground"
Adonis would have you believe he can't win this one. Johnathan Mercy is basically his idol and topical god. That's cool and all, but his point is undercut by this Pablo Neruda topic, which will help him because he's Latino. That's how that works, right? Anyway, Adonis took major strides this season and showed that he can beat even heavyweights at their best. But he doesn't do it with the consistency that Johnathan Mercy has shown. Here's pulling out the upset card, though, and saying Adonis comes up with a more gripping approach that overcomes Johnathan Mercy's writing prowess. Prediction: Adonis 51-49.


10. Mike Wrecka (5-6) vs. 7. timeless (6-8) | "Into My Own"
I mean, this topic choice was easy once I decided on Robert Frost for these two. I like this battle because it pits someone who has immense experience and shows it week in, week out, against someone who still is trying to find himself as a writer and worked hard to get to this point. timeless won their regular-season matchup, but Mike Wrecka never has been about regular seasons. But timeless says he'll put more into this season than previous ones. This could go either way. But I see the experienced hand coming out on top as Mike Wrecka proves more creative. Prediction: Mike Wrecka 53-47.



We Are the Champions
CONCLUSION by Certain


Thanks to Adonis, El Pancake, oats, Vulgar and readers like you. We'll be back with a shorter but still good magazine for next round. Watch the NBA draft.


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Old 06-24-2014, 04:02 AM   #2
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OMMFG. that was the best mag of season 2 & 3. You guys really invigorated the league with this amazing collage of text greatness. I kinda wish i had a battle this week.







This bye was a blessing though lol.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:31 AM   #3
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Awesome, start to finish. It's been years since I've worn the hippy moniker, but I'll gladly accept it. I def agree with the top 5 verses of the season, though I may personally have swapped Theodore with the Chess one, but I see what you're saying inasmuch as zygote's being more emblematic of the season. Also agree with what you ranked as my best verse of the season, that was my feeling as well, though be aware you would get crushed in an economics debate on that other verse. All in all, top rate mag, lived up to the hype of the best of the season. I will most certainly read this at least once more.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:44 AM   #4
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Salute @Certain. This was definitely a perfect kick start to, which I believe will be the most competitive playoff to date. I can see a lot of upsets going down. The match ups are ridiculous. Toast to Adonis, Cake, oats & Vulgar for the extra hand in this mag. Dope from start to finish.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:11 AM   #5
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Fuckin door guys forreal huge props again on putting this all together. Thanks for the mentions an tips on how to beat Frank lol
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:18 AM   #6
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Running out of serpulatives for these.

If this is indeed the last gasp for real activity here then you're doing it justice with this mag.

Great read
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:28 PM   #7
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"Like Emily Dickinson, Frank is the type who has thousands of verses saved up that he's never shown to anyone. And like Dickinson, YDK sometimes whines."

Lol
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:51 PM   #8
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Awesome, thanks guys.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:50 PM   #9
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I like mags that have nice things to say about me. This felt like an ego check disguised as a knee to my balls.

Still, I enjoyed this. The effort put in by all guys was great. My bad on not getting back to you on what you requested @Certain.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenland View Post
I like mags that have nice things to say about me. This felt like an ego check disguised as a knee to my balls.

Still, I enjoyed this. The effort put in by all guys was great. My bad on not getting back to you on what you requested @Certain.
Yeah that's about the perfect description lmao
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:16 AM   #11
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interview me sometime, hot stuff.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:22 AM   #12
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interview me sometime, hot stuff.
Be relevant again sometime.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:27 AM   #13
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Be relevant again sometime.
that was uncalled for. i haven't been a dick to you in weeks, if not months.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:57 AM   #14
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I keep watching the USA Portugal game, I'm still disgusted an pretty sure I coulda scored on a few of those misses smh
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:42 AM   #15
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I'm at a bar doing music trivia - @Certain would guaranteed slaughter this. In three rounds of a total 45 songs, I've known 12. I fucking forgot J-Kwon did Tipsy though and it killed me.
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:02 AM   #16
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OMG Hood hop tipsy and they ask me were dope
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:16 AM   #17
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i fogot y i was guna yell at certain
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If mentioned in a discussion its who'd still use wordy lines and act all dope
Then again hes had this schtick so long he like bb da bb da bb thats all folks
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:16 AM   #18
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Ugh our team (anchored by my buddy, admittedly) came in second by one question. You had to get artist, song and year, and we had the kinks you really got me in 1966, and it was in 1964. Two years off and $600 short. Goddamnit
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:20 AM   #19
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o yeh! i think? i remember hmm

oh yeh u stupid certin!!!!!!!!! idiyote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HATE CERTAIN

i gave interview u just dont get it huh? 1ST MESSAGE IS THE TEMPLATE AND THE 2ND SET OF QUESTIONS GOES AFTER EACH INITIAL QUESTION FROM THE FIRST MESSG SO STUOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I SWEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOO I HATE CERTAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! I WANNA BLAST BRAIN WITHRAYGUN

FUCKA EXPLODE



oh wait i dont tihnk thats why i was gonna yell @ certain w.e idiyote
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If mentioned in a discussion its who'd still use wordy lines and act all dope
Then again hes had this schtick so long he like bb da bb da bb thats all folks
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:37 AM   #20
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Anyways......I'd like a banana shake right about now
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