The end of T.O. Battle Blog

RIP TOBB Black

Before we get to the end, let’s start at the beginning.

T.O. Battle Blog was founded in January 2013, mostly out of necessity. Dizaster had just accused Arcane of buying bars in their KOTD title match and the entire scene was in disarray.

The scandal was taking a new twist each day with screenshots of Facebook conversations flying (some fake, some real) and everyone spinning their own version of the story.

As a fan who mostly followed the scene through live events and YouTube releases, it was tough to know what to believe or where to find accurate information. Most of the opinions I was reading were from people even less informed than myself.

It was a good time to start a battle rap blog.

My friend Matt (who I’d met at journalism school and who had also gotten into battle rap in the years that followed) came over for a few beers and we devised a game plan for our site.

I had a designer friend whip up a logo, then started a Twitter account and registered a domain name.

Our first piece, which was an attempt to tell the 360-degree story of the “Bargate” saga, was mostly a success. It got more than 1,000 hits in the first week, although our interactions with Dizaster went… poorly:

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 6.27.47 PM

Granted, this was the day after the blog launched. He was right, but we told him to give us six months to establish ourselves in the scene.

It took three.

Mostly because at the time there was no competition. At Toronto events, we were the only media in the building. Online there were a few established battle bloggers but they really only covered URL.

As KOTD started getting more attention stateside, so did TOBB.

We started blitzing every battle event in Toronto, and I eventually ventured to Oakland for Battle of the Bay 6 and Los Angeles for Vendetta 2. Mostly for the battles, but also to keep our coverage relevant.

As the battle scene grew, so did the media pack. I watched dozens of new Twitter feeds, YouTube channels and radio shows appear on the scene, all jockeying for the time of a small but engaged audience. The competition pushed us to take new approaches to coverage to set us apart.

Then about six months ago, two things occurred to me:

1. If we wanted our content to stand out from the pack, we needed to start working with a much larger, established platform.

2. Battle rap was getting big enough that a platform like that would come calling soon.

It was during my trip to L.A. in April that I first met the people at HipHopDX and their new venture, BattleRap.com. Within weeks I was writing news hits for them on weekends.

When Dizaster punched Math Hoffa, they called me to write the story. A few weeks after that, I was in New York covering Total Slaughter for them. It was there they offered me a job.

So–and this is what journalists call “burying the lede“– as of September 1, I will be shuttering TOBB to start work as the full-time editor-in-chief of BattleRap.com.

This may be the end of the site, but it’s not the end of its spirit. This is just the next step in TOBB’s evolution. I’ll be covering more events and writing more stories than ever before and I’m happy to say Matt and Mos Prob will be joining me at BR as writers as well.

Running TOBB has let me do some of the best journalism of my career and has led to some of the most fun I’ve had. A huge thank you to every battler who gave us their time, every person who ever interacted with one of our pieces, and to you, for reading the last words I wrote for this blog.

Chris Mitchell
Editor-in-Chief of TOBattleBlog.com -> BattleRap.com
@BattleRapChris

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One comment

  1. David Silver

    It’s sad to see this site go, great articles, great pieces, and really great insight in the battle rap community. I’ve been actively following battlerap.com and noticed pieces written by the staff and I came to the conclusion that after seeing limited writing on this blog and with the writers putting together pieces for BR i knew it was a forgone conclusion this day would come. Thanks for the great stories and I look forward to your articles on BR.

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