With the Ground Zero Grand Prix brackets narrowing headed into the quarter finals, last weekend’s events in Toronto and Vancouver only had one or two tournament battles going down. That meant there was room on the cards for some KOTD main-channel battles and a place to showcase some new talent.
We have the details from Toronto, and Vancouver up-and-comer Pigsty has details from his hometown event.
There was no clear Battle of the Night in Toronto, which just shows how hot the card was. People mostly went with Notez/Wize Guy, N-Pose/Yung Casper and Kinaze/Twizzie. Standout performances came from N-Pose, Notez and Bulle.
***Recaps have spoilers. Be warned. As always, this is our opinion and analysis. Not everyone saw the battles the same way.***
NOTEZ VS WIZE GUY
A matchup that only a tournament would ever produce, the style clash between Notez’s street bars and Wize Guy’s jokes had the stakes jacked even higher with both of them putting $500 on the line.
Notez wore an orange prison jumper (from his time inside) while Wize Guy had on a custom “NOTEZ IS WACK” t-shirt. Wize Guy brought more-mature content than he’s known for, with some funny angles on Notez being really good at doing drugs and loving his time in jail. Notez went with street and prison bars, but also had a ton of movie references from Casino/Goodfellas/Donnie Brasco/etc.
Late in the first round, Notez had Realiztic and KP rush Wize Guy, both of them getting mad aggressive right in his face. Most people in the venue agreed it crossed the line. Wize Guy had some antics of his own, closing his third by offering Notez a toothbrush and some toothpaste.
Seriously, somebody get this battle on World Star once it drops.
It was announced as a 4-1 win for Wize Guy, but in the interviews, the judges had it 3-2. Seemed like the crowd was shocked by the decision, and I heard more than a few people calling it a robbery. For what it’s worth, one of the judges who voted for Wize Guy was Frankie Payne, a Toronto rapper with ties to BeastMODE Battles. Notez and the Toronto league had a falling out and he had specifically asked for no BeastMODE guys as judges. He only found out about it the next day and wasn’t happy. That being said, KOTD’s official judge Knamelis also gave the battle to Wize Guy.
**Update: We hashed this out a bit over Twitter with Frankie and @TheRollModel, who does camera work for BeastMODE. Read our conversation here.**
Line of the battle: “You came here looking for my money? Well it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg like Made Wade’s hype man.” – Notez
STEP EASY VS LUCIANO CRAKK
Once again, we have another GZ tourney result that will be hotly debated. This time, the argument will centre on whether a big choke is enough for an automatic loss. Luciano Crakk’s performance was typical of his run in the tournament: solid writing, clean execution, but never dominant.
Step Easy’s performance was often stellar, but marred by a second-round choke that was so bad he needed to bring his phone out. Word was he was watching the Silva/Weidman fight instead of going over his bars before the battle. Still, it was Step that came out victorious; his writing was direct and the rhyme patterns were often complex, and ultimately, his best material elicited better crowd reaction.
Line of the battle: “You wouldn’t let pieces pop in a bad game of Perfection.” -Step Easy
HFK VS KALIENTE
In many ways, this was a battle for relevance. Both MCs are coming off a string of losses, and it seems that both are slipping from the main channel limelight. Fortunately, HFK and Kaliente were in good form on Saturday. At the outset, HFK said he was going back to exclusively telling jokes, which is a wise move. Kaliente brought great energy, though his rounds seemed about 30 seconds shorter than HFK’s.
The strangest part of the battle was when HFK addressed his pause-worthy material in recent battles … only to follow it up with his most pause-worthy bars ever. It was a questionable choice from HFK, and yet it didn’t stop him from taking the victory. Had Kaliente brought longer rounds, this battle would have been much closer.
Line of the battle: “I’m surprised he didn’t come with a sign that says ‘will take verbal abuse for money.’” -HFK
TYCOON TAX VS SCANDALIS
The final battle of the night marked the return of Scandalis, a veteran Toronto MC with pre-KOTD battle roots, and Tycoon Tax, one of the top up-and-comers in the league. Tax went personal with his approach, ripping Scandalis for getting dropped from Empire, a Toronto rap crew that featured occasional KOTD judge Adam Bomb. Tax also made claims that his opponent fucked up his career with drug use. It was another solid performance from Tax, only interrupted by a drunk guy who was chirping him from the stage.
As for Scandalis, he clearly got the battle’s biggest reactions, in large part due to a closing round that addressed his personal problems. He stumbled through his second round without using any of the freestyle ability he’s known for. It was a promo battle, but like many of the night’s matchups, you could argue that either MC was the winner.
Line of the battle: “How was he a legend when he was never on the map?’ – Tycoon Tax
N-POSE VS YUNG CASPER
Detroit’s N-Pose returned to Toronto and delivered on the potential he showed against Realiztic last event. He was less playful this time, tailoring his approach to match Casper’s aggression.
Casper had a lot of energy but lost the crowd by his third and the whole round felt rushed and got slept on because of it. This is the latest in a long string of losses for Casper, but we hear he’ll have the hometown advantage for his next battle as part of the KOTD Champions Tour. More on that later.
We also expect his style will go over well with the Detroit fans once the footage drops.
Oh, and next time you see N-Pose, get him to do his Notez impression.
Line of the battle: “You’re like the Super Mario Ghost, you won’t do shit unless I turn my back.” – N-Pose
TWIZZIE VS KINAZE
Twizzie, visiting from the Calgary division, and now a member of the 100,000-view club after a battle in Flip Top, faced off against local standout Kinaze.
Kinaze has had a run of bad luck in his last couple battles: some tension just before his battle with JR Slander cleared the room at the last event and this time he was sick and couldn’t project.
Twizzie slipped up a few times, but was animated enough to still make it a fun battle.
After Kinaze was announced the winner, we overheard someone in the crowd say: “Get this guy a KOTD battle already.” One against the Fresh Coast’s Lex D would make a lot of sense.
Line of the battle: Didn’t catch it all, but it was Kinaze’s rebuttal about Asian dick and 3 1/2 inch floppy disks. Good enough to be a contender for rebuttal of the year.
BULLE VS SPOOK ONE
This first battle of the night got the crowd going despite being pretty one-sided in Bulle’s favour.
Bulle had a line that literally slumped a guy. Sure he might’ve been drunk and probably got kicked out right after the battle, but the line made his knees go weak and he was too tipsy to catch his balance and ended up on the floor. He was standing right behind Spook so hopefully it’ll make the footage.
Spook had a strong third but it felt like only two people noticed. He spent two rounds questioning Bulle’s ethnicity and making fat jokes for a crowd that wasn’t drunk enough to really get into them.
Line of the battle: “I’ll leave him open like a ball hog.” – Bulle
ALSO OF NOTE
- Toronto MC Saukrates co-hosted most of the battles, and had one intro that must’ve been longer than what Harley from Epic Meal Time did at Blackout 2. He talked a few times mid-battle too. It was pretty funny, and he saved Step Easy from a choke that probably would’ve lost him the battle.
- Jes Blaze no-showed against Realiztic, who had some hot topical bars he was spitting outside the venue. Real is battling Yung Casper on the KOTD Champions Tour stop in Oshawa on July 25.
- Organik didn’t seem happy about Realiztic and KP getting physical with Wize Guy. He told me that only one fight has broken out in a battle in KOTD’s 185 events.
-The judge’s decisions were filmed as a discussion rather than one at a time.
-I was mistaken for Lokust only once, but BAD from HFK who seemed really happy to see me.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Vancouver was putting on its own GZ event. We talked to Pigsty, who has gone from forum troll to building a rep as one of Vancouver’s best battlers. Here’s his take on the event:
Let’s start with Manik vs DDSS.
It was a pretty good battle. DDSS went first and both of them were interspersing freestyle and written material in the first two rounds. I don’t know if it was on purpose or not. Manik’s known for his freestyle and he did a bunch of flips in the first and second rounds and DDSS was just sort of putting freestyles in the middle of his verses.
What kind of material did they have?
DDSS’s material was a lot of wordplay and he called Manik’s character into question. One of DDSS’s better lines was about Manik’s death stare. He did a punchline that was like “to give me that deathly stare you’d need your own set of stairs,” cause he’s pretty tall.
Manik had a really funny line where he said he was really courageous because he was dissing white people at a KOTD event and that was equivalent to dissing a Native on the reserve. It was super funny, cause the crowds are mostly white people, so it went over well with the crowd. He had another dope one that went “his sex game despicable/he could film a porno and upload it as a Vine video.”
But the first two rounds it seemed like neither of them were on their A-game. Some of their shit wasn’t working out, like DDSS had some little pauses and stuff, and they weren’t getting reaction to some of their freestyle material. I think the deciding factor was DDSS’s third, which was so mean and disrespectful. You could tell that was the round he had like completely down. It was really racist native jokes like “I’ll show up to your Native encampment/with AIDS in a blanket.” Like it was a really mean, sort of like disrespectful, and I don’t know I think that pulled ahead for him. Manik was still interspersing freestyle in the third, and DDSS’s performance just seemed much cleaner in comparison. Manik wasn’t too happy with the decision or the turnout at the event.
I heard that he threw his rhyme book and threatened the judges after the decision.
I don’t know what happened with that. I think he was just a little bit upset about not getting the decision he wanted. But yeah, I don’t know. It happens. I was certainly upset after Cody.
I’ve never met Manik but he strikes me as a larger-than-life personality in videos and on the forums. Do you know him? What’s he all about?
He’s a really nice guy outside of what he does in the battle arena. He’s just fiercely competitive like anybody else is when they get in there. But yeah, I don’t know, he’s always been a very pleasant guy to me.
How about Sun Tzu/Nov? How did that go down?
It was a promo battle so there was no decision. It was really dope. You could definitely tell the caliber of the battles had stepped up when they went up. Sun Tzu went with a lot of his usual wordplay and aggression. He had a line: “He thinks that he can blow up/but I don’t think that Nov-a star.” That was pretty dope.
And then Nov’s such a high energy performer and can project himself to the back of the room every time. So they had a really good battle, it was sort of like the DDSS and Manik battle in that it was dependent on one round. Sun Tzu has the stronger writing, Nov has the stronger performance, and it seemed like an even battle until the third round and SunZu had a pretty major choke. But the first two rounds went perfect. If Sun Tzu could have finished his material it would have been a classic battle for sure.
Were there any other notable battles?
Yeah, Wildcard and DST was very good. DST is a guy from Vancouver Island in Victoria, I believe. He’s made a name for himself out there with the Battle of Bridge league, and had a battle in Ground Zero, way back when. Most of his fan base is in Victoria and most of his battles are out there. Then Wildcard’s a guy from Abbotsford who’s into associated wordplay. He’s a really dope writer and performer coming into his comfort zone and he’s gonna be one of the top five guys out here pretty soon I think.
It was a really good battle. DST tried to mimic Wildcard’s style for the first round and it was hilarious, but then that was his only creative angle and the second and third round were like “oh your mom’s pussy” and stuff like that. He’s a really talented writer and a funny guy, but you could tell Wildcard’s material was more creative and well-thought out. It was a really good Ground Zero battle. Wildcard won on a 4-1 decision.
Did anything else go on behind the scenes, or between the battles that people should know about?
Not really man, it was a pretty quiet event. There were only about 20-30 people there. King Fly was there, ya that was about it. It’s hard to say much about it, it just sucked it was so dead. It really sucked the energy out sort of. But next one we’re hoping to do it a bit bigger.
We going to see you at WD4?
Yeah, I’ll be there.