Dear MC Emmie-D,

Let me first admit that last weekend’s debacle was partially my fault. My decision to sign you up for a rap battle with MC Killah Klawz was a bit premature, as we may have overestimated your familiarity with the genre. Nevertheless, I thought we had enough lyrical ammo for you to at least hold your own up there, but obviously I was wrong. With that said, I do think much of the blame falls on your shoulders. Just what prompted that sartorial train wreck of yours? I thought we agreed that you’d rock the peanut-butter Tims and the Fubu sweatsuit I had custom-fitted for you at Jimmy Jazz on West 125th. But no: you show up with your hair in a bun, rocking a Victorian brocade dress with a full front bodice, cartridge pleats, and a bunch of frills. This kind of thing may be de rigueur up in Amherst, but we don’t roll like that in Brooklyn.

Then there’s the issue of the battle itself. Now, MC Killah Klawz can off top flow, but he’s not unbeatable. I mean, when he came at you with the whole agoraphobia angle, “This bitch ain’t left the house / since 1845 …,” I thought you might reply with something about his “jacked-up grill” or all his illegitimate babies, but instead you inexplicably spit back:

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me [this actually sounded kind of promising at first]—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
And Immortality.

Carriages? What does that mean? You didn’t even try to step to him. Just you and Death riding around in some carriage. You could have at least had the carriage rolling on 20s.

Even with Round One going to MC Killah Klawz, I thought you’d eventually step up like a champion. Instead, you just droned on about flies buzzing when you died, as if you were off in your own private world. Were you trippin’, Emily? Didn’t you remember what I said? I said to win a rap battle you needed three things: metaphors, disses, and humor. It’s a pretty easy formula. All we had to do was flip the script on Killah Klawz and we could have salvaged some dignity and walked out of there with our heads held high. Instead, you dropped:

The Dews drew quivering and chill—
For only Gossamer, my Gown—
My Tippet—only Tulle.

What the hell was that? “Tippets” and “Tulles”? Are those, like, rival gangs in Amherst, or did you just panic up there? You also may be the only person ever to reference “dew” in a rap battle. Your extempore anecdotes recalling your time at Mount Holyoke weren’t quite the hit you thought they were, either. Let’s face it: the whole thing was a total disaster.

Emily, I like you. I really do. I think you have a fertile mind and may one day make a name for yourself on the spoken-word circuit, but the rap game clearly is not for you. I apologize for trying to rush you out there with all the hype and the lights and the pressure. (I also think we could have come up with a much better rap handle than “MC Emmie-D.”) Simply put, you weren’t ready, and for that I apologize. I will, of course, waive my fee and wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

It was great getting to know you, and I really do hope our paths cross again sometime soon. Please take this week’s break in correspondence as nothing more than a simple attempt on my part to “regroup.” Some things just weren’t meant to be, d’accord?

No hard feelings,
MC T-Smitty (ret.)

P.S. This past week, I’ve been working with a young rapper named Sylvia Plath. She’s a little rough around the edges and definitely volatile, but I think she’s got some real potential. Sylvia (MC Sylvie-P?) has got a battle coming up in a week, and I think you might really enjoy it. If you can talk yourself out of the house, take the bus down to NYC, ring my cell, and I’ll holla back.