For whatever reason, February was a relatively weak month for battles, even with the release of KOTD’s much-hyped title match. Regardless, between the obvious choices and a couple hidden gems, we cobbled together a respectable list of four great battles, plus a bonus pick that’s worth your time.
But first, a couple performances worth noting. We’ve been hyping Rum Nitty for a while now, and he didn’t disappoint in his Toronto debut versus Tycoon Tax. As a whole, the battle didn’t make the cut, but Nitty’s performance might have been the best of the month. Give it a watch.
Also, props to Yung Casper for penning the best Rob Ford line to date: “Yo KP, you can chill cuz I’ma kill ‘em with a long sword/and that shit’ll cut Tax and hit Crakk like Rob Ford.” Not only did Casper pull off a double name-flip, but both topical references to Ford were on point. Good luck topping that.
PAT STAY VS DIZASTER
This entry marks the 142nd time we’ve written or spoken about this battle. Okay, maybe not, but it certainly feels that way. If anything, the YouTube release of KOTD’s latest title match only reinforces our biggest takeaway from this battle: Pat Stay took the win comfortably, despite a resurgent performance from Dizaster.
KOTD title matches are generally close affairs, but the separating factor can usually be pinned on a slight stumble or choke. Arcane took a pregnant pause in his third round against Pat Stay, giving the judges a far easier decision to make. Bender was hardly on-point against Sketch Menace, despite having arguably better written content. PH absolutely shit the bed against poRICH, who himself had a minor stumble in the next title match, which tilted fortune in Dizaster’s favour. As always, the difference lies in execution.
Which brings us back to Pat Stay vs Dizaster. In the opening round, the audience erupted before Dizaster’s punchline, forcing him to restart his bars from way back in his verse. Granted, MCs will run back content when necessary, but Dizaster went waaaaaay back. It wasn’t awful by any means, but it was indicative of Dizaster’s edginess on stage. From time to time, he was thrown off his game plan, and rather than react and adapt, he blamed the crowd. On the other hand, Pat Stay was cool as hell. The Toronto stage is his comfort zone, and above all, he executed his strategy almost flawlessly in the toughest battle of his career. Easy decision.
SHUFFLE-T & MARLO VS MARVWON & QUEST MCODY
We already knew Shuffle-T and Marlo were the finest two-on-two team in battling. Still, them beating a couple respected U.S. vets only helps to solidify that title. Honestly, there’s no debating the winners here. Watching Shuffle and Marlo perform is like watching two sketch comics own a room. Watching Marvwon and Quest Mcody is like watching two MCs from a bygone era. But what keeps a Shuffle/Marlo performance from devolving into corny theatre-shtick is that both dudes can rap and write bars. (Marlo’s fat joke for Marvwon: “You’re a disgrace to Real Deal’s line of work.” For those who don’t know, RD is a gym teacher.)
At this point, the Shuffle/Marlo duo is such a well-oiled machine that Marv and Quest failed to maintain their tough-guy personas when faced with such hilarious content. Right now, there’s no doubles team on Shuffle and Marlo’s level. We sincerely hope that other battle teams can step their game up before the Don’t Flop 2-on-2 champs retire.
JOE CUTTER VS REVERSE LIVE
Here’s our winner for February’s best small-room battle. The problem? This is a Ground Zero battle. That’s no disrespect to Ground Zero, but Joe Cutter and Reverse Live are respected veterans who belong on the main channel. Hopefully this battle will elevate both MCs to their deserving spots in the KOTD pecking order.
KG THE POET VS PHILLY SWAIN
This battle is highly entertaining, largely for unintentional comedy and sideshow elements. First off, if there was a list of unintentionally funny battle MCs, Philly Swain would be the prohibitive favourite. As Dirtbag Dan mentioned in a recent podcast, it’s difficult to tell if Swain is freestyling or just wrote some fantastically basic bars. (An example from this battle: “I’ll leave your head steaming like you’re running in the cold.” He also makes reference to a “lyrical liaison,” whatever that is.) During KG’s rounds, Swain often had a look of utter disgust on his face, and when rapping, the dude was dead serious at every moment, even when making jokes.
There was also this exchange in Swain’s first round:
Swain: “How many grams in a brick? How many grams in a brick?”
KG (quietly): “One thousand.”
Swain (loudly): “No, you know that he fake / If he was real, he’d have known it was a thousand and eight.”
The round ends a short time later, upon which Swain calmly says: “It is a thousand and eight, though.” A few minutes later, Swain opens his second round by talking about KG’s supposed folly in drug measurement knowledge.
It’s been a while since we at T.O. Battle Blog bought or sold a brick, so we did some research (ie. Googled) into Swain’s angle. First off, a brick is equal to a kilogram. We searched “grams in a kilo” and here is what Google’s unit converter gave us: 1 kilogram equals 1000 grams. Philly Swain has some explaining to do. Also, you’re welcome to Swain’s next opponent.
The battle ends with a two-minute argument between Swain and KG that, of course, starts with a healthy discussion about fashion. (“WHAT IS DEM JEANS? WHAT IS DEM JEANS?” Swain yells at KG.) Basically, this is the weirdest battle of 2014 thus far that doesn’t involve Daylyt.
DAYLYT VS SCHEME
Here’s a message for the lesser-known MCs trying to catch a buzz off facing Daylyt: most viewers are skipping your rounds. Even if you’re bringing 10 minutes of top-notch content to the battle, most viewers don’t care. They want to see Daylyt do some wacky shit. Case in point: Day shows up in whiteface and a wig in his AHAT battle against Scheme. I’m sure Scheme had some bars, but fuck it, let’s watch Day get weird. He certainly held up his part of the bargain, closing the battle by spraying a tornado of silly string into the crowd and dousing everyone in the process. Shouts to Day for being Day.
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