The Ground Zero Grand Prix is shaping up to be the hottest ticket in North American battle rap. Round 2 has a strong crop of hungry battlers with well-defined personas from all over the stylistic map. The best part though, is that there’s actually something at stake: wins and losses mean something.
If you’re not already familiar with the battlers competing in the $1500, winner-take-all Ground Zero tournament, check out our introductions for Toronto and the West Coast and our recap of the first round.
We were at the Toronto event last night, but we’ve also got recaps from Vancouver, California and Calgary from league presidents La Sparka, Aspect One and Sketch Menace. Scroll down for those, but read Toronto first.
A good recap is going to have some spoilers. Be warned.
BATTLE OF THE NIGHT
Before we get into GZGP recaps, let’s talk Realiztic vs N-Pose. This was the second undercard battle of the night, featuring one guy that no one in the crowd had heard of, and another that gets no shine.
It blew everyone away.
A lot of Realiztic’s content was going over heads because the crowd didn’t know enough about N-Pose to get the references to bowling or his Terminator slogan, but that’ll come through for the online audience once they check him out.
In the second round, Realiztic attempted a half-hearted Harlem Shake scheme [footage on our Vine] with Notez playing the track over a speaker attached to a cell phone while everybody in their corner danced. It was fun, if maybe a bit too late.
Then N-Pose pulled out a rebuttal so good, we swore it had to be coincidental:
“My Maggie long like da hair on Marge it cranks/ I bare arms that breaks thru alarms n banks/ these bars are so hard to take/ Dat 1 shot moves you, the rest will move ya crew, HARLEM SHAKE”
N-Pose told us later that he didn’t plan on using the line but his face lit up when Real started dancing. Every battle rapper should have an arsenal of back-ups to use in case of emergency. Sadly, no one had “he gon get this twerk” ready.
Aftershock and 100 Bulletz were impressed by both guys and the battle prompted the only tweet of the night from Organik: “This is a GREAT battle @BRealiztic vs n_pose #GroundZero #KOTD #KingOfTheDot instagram.com/p/ZMipCsOQfw/”
NOTEZ VS POSTAL
Huge style clash here, with the added oddness of the two of them knowing each other for the last ten years.
We’ve said in the past that Notez is KOTD’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard: a thoroughly entertaining wild card MC. We’ve reconsidered. Notez is KOTD’s Ghostface Killah. Both weave intricate stories of crime in the ghetto with the vividness of Martin Scorsese.
In his judgment for Notez’s first-round battle against Yung Casper, Diaz summed it up: “Notez has by far the best street imagery out of anyone in King of the Dot.” We’d argue that Notez has better street schemes than 85 per cent of the URL. He didn’t disappoint here either, bringing more theatrics (throwing a rose at Postal’s feet, jumping and accidentally spraying his beer) but backing them up with another freight-train performance. [Stay tuned for our full-length interview with Notez, coming soon.]
As always, Postal was on point with lyrics and consistency. He had the line of the night too, referencing Notez’s Muslim faith and keffiyeh: “Fuck Scarface, you’re scarf face/Who are you trying to be? Halal Pacino?”
STEP EASY VS EMCEE BILL
The rematch looked a lot like the first time these two battled. Bill had tweeted that he was still in bed hung over around 8:00 p.m. and from the looks of him, he wasn’t joking. Both had some powerful content, but Step’s punchlines (all originals from what we could tell) and structure were too good.
Step’s titty-twister t-shirt was somehow only the second-most ridiculous prop of the night, after Kinaze’s Viking-beard Daylyt homage. Germ Free’s painting of the Innuendo crew still keeps the throne as most ridiculous.
Two bars that referenced the wider world of battle rap fell completely flat. Bill was making fun of Step’s face and said the only person he could see eye-to-eye with is (Don’t Flop rapper) Mr. 13. Step referenced URL’s Bill Collector when he said “I came to knock Bill out like Hitman’s little brother.” Both had only 5 or 6 people nodding, but it should go over well online.
MADE WADE VS LUCIANO CRAKK
Clearly the battle the crowd was there to see, as both corners had about 20 people in them (and at 1:45 a.m., no less). Made Wade’s supporters were chanting his name before the cameras started rolling. Once they quieted down Tycoon Tax called out: “You guys are herbs. All of you.”
Both were direct, had strong, clean performances and got lots of (well-deserved) crowd reaction. Conceited, the patriarch of Crakk’s S.O.N.S. crew, came in from New York to co-host the battle and helped his protege out with a slow-it-down in his second round.
We actually judged this battle, and gave it to Crakk 21-16 on what ended up being the deciding vote. If you have questions about the judging system, or if you’re a Made Wade fan who can’t believe how fucking stupid we are, feel free to talk about it on Twitter.
Also of note:
-In attendance: Conceited, Arcane, 100 Bulletz, Aftershock, Tycoon Tax, Lexx Luthor, Doumz, and a bunch of Prove Yourself prospects.
-Snaptite didn’t make it past the border to battle Milez Tonez, but he did upload a video of him spitting some of his bars.
-Mischief/Nat Select was cancelled ahead of the event because Mischief said he couldn’t get off work.
-Loonie had a nice scheme about “I can beat you if I choke/I can beat you if I no-show” against Mr. Sly4life but then he choked and lost.
-Realiztic called out Math Hoffa, Sun Tzu, Lynx Montana and BeastMode champion Doumz. He also is lobbying for a WD4 battle against Lexx Luthor on Day 3.
-KOTD is launching a record label.
-Luciano Crakk referenced Laura Tarsi/Shotty Horroh but didn’t really expose anything people didn’t already know.
-All the Made Wade and Luciano Crakk supporters left after their battle, so it was pretty empty for JR Slander vs Kinaze. It was a good (if incredibly racist) battle, but it would’ve been a lot hotter with more crowd reaction.
-Lexx Luthor’s new girlfriend is smoking hot.
-Missed opportunities: We missed out on interviewing Conceited, and had an incredible exclusive beatbox cypher with Scott Jackson, KRNFX and Young, but then lost it when the phone couldn’t save it. Next time…
-Heard some rumblings about WD4 match-ups, but you’ll have to wait for those announcements.
La Sparka gave us his recap of the May 18th event, the first one he put on as head of KOTD Vancouver.
-Aspire/Pigsty was a great battle. For his comeback, Aspire specifically wanted to battle up-and-comer Pigsty, who he had helped get into KOTD Vancouver after seeing him in an El Cheapo video. Pigsty took it in a split decision, with a hot reference to the Vancouver vet’s battle with New’L: “You think these people are here to see Aspire? They’re not / In Calgary the crowd would rather go outside and get shot.”
-Before their GZGP battle, Manik/Kryple called each out in video blogs (both of which got over 1,000 views) and sniped at each other through Facebook comments. In the end, it was just to build the hype. Manik has improved a lot now that he’s putting in more effort and he won after Kryple cut at least one round short.
-DDSS choked in his third round, but was strong enough in the first two to beat Cody the Catch. It’ll probably light a fire under him for the next round.
-Undercard battle of the night went to Illipsis/Backwoods Bev. It was a unanimous decision for Bev, but the back-and-forth battle was a lot closer than the judgment made it seem. Danny Epic also did well in his first battle outside of Alberta, against Apos.
-Lush One came out for four days to co-host the event, do some shows and film a music video. He killed it hosting, offering a girl a lap dance for her birthday and just generally being a friendly dude.
-The crowd was mostly tame, and their understanding of the culture was on point. They were quiet at the right times and reacted appropriately. Probably around 150-200 throughout the night.
-Hip Hop Vancouver nailed all the filming.
-Sparka’s ultimate goal for the Vancouver division is to book Madchild vs Dizaster or Pat Stay in a PPV event at the Commodore Ballroom.
WEST COAST DIVISION
We spoke with West Coast president Aspect One about how their event went down.
-After a short-lived disqualification, Ayem/Megadef was postponed to a Prove Yourself event going down on May 25th. There was some miscommunication over the day of the event and Ayem only found out a couple of days before. He lives about 550 km from the venue and had already made Mother’s Day plans, not realizing when things were happening. There was some initial friction from Mega over Twitter when he heard, but things are all patched up now.
[UPDATE: Megadef beat perceived West Coast frontrunner Ayem on a 3-2 decision in a battle that got great reviews across the board.]
-Cobalt45 took the win over Lex Diamonds. Cobalt had the crowd and was able to capitalize on Lex’s predictable style but still Lex landed some haymakers, including “You look like the clock from Beauty and the Beast.”
-Lex tweeted: “Amazing battle. the decision was switched twice lol. That’s how you know it was a good one.”
-Most impressive PY battle came from Father Fal and Denter. Father Fal was undeniably hungry and the battle was so good they ended up doing a promo freestyle OT when the fans wanted more.
-Aspect One has a new album coming soon, click here for his latest music.
We also spoke to Calgary league president Sketch Menace for his take on last night’s battles:
-WizeGuy put on a great performance to beat Adamantium. The battle started with a weird vibe because of a scuffle that had just broken out when Uno Lavoz’s jokes got under Too Tall’s skin. Adamantium had the technical skill and brought original angles for WizeGuy (“It’s easy to take 50 battles a year when you’re writing one continuous scheme”) but couldn’t sway the momentum away from the crowd favourite.
-Uno Lavoz/Ape Yola has been getting good reviews. Good-natured and fun, despite the earlier tension. There was debate over whether Lavoz’s second-round choke was planned after he took an angle in the third that made it look like it was on purpose. Yola has had opponents cancel or no-show on him before, so the crowd was happy to see him get the shine he deserves.
-Even though neither of them made the last event, Adamantium got the bye into the second round over McNight. Adamantium didn’t make the event because he was at the hospital after injuring his hand on some “Alberta Prairie construction shit.” McNight didn’t make the event because he couldn’t get a ride or a flight. Sketch tried to get both of them to reschedule, but only Adamantium seemed interested.
As it stands now, the next battles will be on July 6th, stay tuned for the match-ups.