The legendary Battle of the Bay series returned to Oakland last night, with a card that gave us a glimpse of some new West Coast talent.
Day 1 had a solid crop of battles, with a few breakout performances from guys making their KOTD debuts. None of the battles were judged, because, as Lush put it: “Who ever liked a judge before?”
References ranged from all over the world of North American battle rap, from KOTD Toronto, to URL, to the long legacy of the West Coast.
These battles are available to watch for free at KOTDTV.com.
DANNY MYERS VS RUM NITTY
This battle was the best from Day 1 and everyone knew it. After one round we were tweeting that it had potential to be battle of the night and after the second it was clear we had a classic on our hands. We don’t disagree with the people we heard calling it “the West Coast version of Chilla Jones/JC.” It’s not as densely layered as that battle, but it does have the same small-room excitement once everyone caught on to how good it was turning out.
CADALACK RON VS ZM
This main event had a tough time following the energy from Myers/Nitty, but it held up with strong performances from both battlers.
Caddy rebuttaled ZM’s usual prayer intro with “Baruch Hashem Adonai” before eventually just going with “Hail Satan, motherfucker.”
ZM was consistent and had a few lines that got reaction (“Caddies are known for carrying a 9-iron… but never using it”) but rarely swayed the West Coast crowd.
Ron brought his usual brand of offensiveness but mostly stayed away from race angles this time, going in instead on ZM’s weight, girlfriend and dead grandmother. The same angles could’ve been stale from other rappers, but Ron always manages to bring original content to the ring, and incorporated references to Pavlov and GG Allin.
TIGER TY VS JOE CUTTER
Definitely one of the weirdest battles we’ve seen live. Or on camera. Tiger Ty made his return to the ring after a three-year hiatus, brought on, he told us, by a stroke and brain surgery.
Ty had line after line that had the crowd rolling: “I’ll lure you into a notorious small biggie trap” and “I take like one little nap a year.” With his presence and delivery, it felt like he could’ve said anything. We heard a few people yelling “say it again” after his lines, but we’re assuming it’s because they had no idea what he was talking about the first time.
We talked to Okwerdz after the battle to get his thoughts. He said “You don’t book a Tiger Ty battle. You summon him using rituals.” Seems about right.
Joe Cutter stayed relevant and mean, saying Tiger Ty “is to battle rap what AIDS-infested butt is to dick” and that he was “an Africanized Nils M Skils.”
Then Cutter said he was a better Tiger Ty than Tiger Ty and “put it in real life.”
AVENU VS REVERSE LIVE
Reverse Live brought his typical energy, but the crowd wasn’t with really with it and it seemed to throw him off in the first round. It seemed that throughout the whole night, the biggest reactions were for easy jokes, so Reverse had to work twice as hard with gun bars and aggression to get half the head nods. It was when he brought comedy that he got the momentum back in his later rounds: “Make the trigger bust til it’s empty off muscle memory… I’ll be in your house with the tre like your butler Geoffrey” and “Your idea of riding dirty is sneaking onto rollercoasters with height restrictions.”
Avenu’s performance was on point throughout. He had a real-talk round where he broke down his opponent’s career, comparing him to other West Coast veterans like Dizaster and The Saurus, and saying his career was going in “reverse.”
Beyond the ones mentioned above, there were a few performances on the undercard that especially impressed us. Don’t sleep on these battles.
Rahney- This rookie out of Albuquerque had a first round so good it took about a minute for the crowd to settle down. His nameflips for Urban were among the best of the night.
Young B the Future- One of the best angles of the night was Young B’s “you’re Asian, you’re not a gangster” round against AB Hogish. It went on and on and every line got a bigger reaction than the last. Highlights included a reference to a Gangnam Style Crip Walk and “I get suited up like a G. You get suited up in a gi.” Young B definitely stepped his bars up, especially against a wordplay-heavy opponent like AB.
Psycoses- This north LA rapper brought bars so complex they should’ve come with a rewind button. He also added a last-minute line referencing the Cocky/Aktive cancellation.
ALSO OF NOTE:
-In attendance: Organik, Plex Rock, Dizaster, Daylyt, Okwerdz, Dirtbag Dan, Caustic, Tantrum, The Deadman, Chilla Jones, Cortez, Lotta Zay, KG the Poet, MegaDef, Laura Tarsi and probably a bunch of other West Coast legends we don’t remember/didn’t recognize.
-Aktive vs Cocky was cancelled at the last minute because Cocky couldn’t make it.
-Pariah vs Mic Phenom was cancelled a while ago because Mic Phenom couldn’t get the time off work.
-At one point we thought Bonnie Godiva was in the building but it was just Plex Rock’s hair from behind.
-Almost every battle had a Daylyt reference. It may have even been every battle.
-One of Fal’s boys and G-Money kept arguing ahead of Psycoses/Mad Flex. Threw the vibe off for a bit at the beginning of that battle.
-At least three battles had pocketchecks in them.
-Fauther Fal and Young B buried the hatchet after months of Twitter warring, and now it seems Fal has a new vendetta against Okwerdz.