A lot happened in battle rap this week: Math Hoffa KO’d Serius Jones and the remaining battles on the SM3 card. Daylyt made his URL debut by battling Smack outside the venue. KOTD dropped one of the most epic battles in recent memory. And at the Annex Wreckroom in Toronto, Ground Zero put on a hidden gem of an event for the GZGP semi-finals.
If you want “bars over names,” forget URL. GZ is where it’s at. No gimmicks, no drama, no BS, just four entertaining battles. Even with three battles cancelled, the night managed to be laid-back, relaxed and fun.
The crowd was a good size, especially for an event so soon after WD4, and there were a lot of new faces. The obscure references to the GZ scene were mostly lost on them, so if you’re bringing someone new, tell them to read this post and our recaps of Rounds 1, 2 and 3 before coming to the finals on Nov. 23.
Oh, and the “ladies-free-before-10:00 p.m.” plan worked like a dream.
STEP EASY VS WIZE GUY (Battle of the night)
Step took this on a 3-2 decision and moves on to the GZGP finals in November. We heard a few people loudly calling it a robbery outside the venue, though they were mostly Wize Guy’s boys and the judges who voted for him. There was so much going on in this battle it’s easy to see why opinions were so divided.
Let us break it down two ways:
1) Wize Guy had some great nameflips in the first, notably: “Damn you’re wack, if ever there was a man that had trouble with a step they were handicapped/Y’all see a wheelchair or a set of crutches? I got legs that function, takin a step is nothin.” He was funny, direct and got good crowd reaction. Step seemed nervous and got okay reaction to some bars, but was quoting other battle rappers’ good lines to get it. If you look at it that way, Wize Guy won.
2) Step stayed consistent and had a ton of killer lines and deep references that got slept on: “Pesci-grade pen game when I stab this wise guy in the neck” and “I aim and shoot at more rappers than Avocado/Let that AR GO in his T, Oh no it’s not the Toronto Argos.” Wize Guy used too many piss angles and started a round with: “That was pretty good … NOT,” which was one of a few of his jokes that fell flat. Looking at it that way, Step Easy won.
For what it’s worth, the two judges who were battle rappers gave it to Wize Guy, and the three non-battle rappers gave it to Step. In our opinion, Step juuuuust edged it, and the term “robbery” is overused for debatable battles.
KP (performance of the night) VS KODE
We talked briefly to KP at World Domination 4 and he asked: “Man, how do I get in your good books?” We told him: “Have more good battles.” KP hasn’t been as active since we started following the GZ scene carefully, and we hadn’t seen the two wins from his last three battles until this morning. In any case, he’s in our good books now.
His performance against Winnipeg newcomer Kode was the definite standout of the night. He was comfortable in the ring, had lots of deep references to the GZ scene and effectively combined comedy with heavy wordplay (his outer space/sex-with-your-girl scheme ended with “take down my fly an’ sauce her” and got one of the biggest reactions of the night). Kode impressed too, but got time called on him after a long choke to end his third. Overall a solid battle.
YUNG CASPER VS DECIPHER
This battle, between Elements League original Decipher, who’s now based in Calgary, and Oshawa’s Yung Casper, kind of left us confused. Decipher went in on Casper for being racist, but we know that Casper has black friends. Casper accused Decipher of having bars written by Skelly, but then later told us that probably isn’t true. Maybe it was more impressive if you don’t know the guys but to us if felt a bit like this.
At one point, Decipher threatened to take Gully hostage if any of the judges voted against him. He then went up to Gully and kind of put his arms around him. Gully introduced the next round by saying: “Awkward as shit.”
Casper got good reaction from a Pacman line about how Decipher “can’t eat the ghost just cuz he made it to the big dot.” After the battle he told us he’s slowly transitioning away from gun lines and sees them more as a crutch. It seems to be working, because he convinced all five judges.
MRSLY4LIFE VS ROB WHISKEY
This battle kicked the night off. Whiskey was making his KOTD/GZ return after a few years of battling in BeastMODE. Back in the day, he battled Arcane twice. The crowd wasn’t really warmed up, but it didn’t seem to shake Sly. He brought up the time Whiskey fumbled against Amzilla, who took over before realizing Rob wasn’t done his round yet and then freestyled it back over to him. He set the scene and then ended with “You can’t even choke right.”
Whiskey had multi after multi and connected with a few lines that got the crowd going (“I’ll fuck your mom in the ass and your dads hookay with it.”) Apparently, hookay is Rob Whiskey’s slogan, but we think the crowd was mostly just reacting to the anal sex reference.
It went to Whiskey 3-2 and was strong enough for Organik to comment “Great battle” from the stage when it was over.
Also of note:
-In the building: Scratch from The Roots, Bishop Brigante, Knamelis, Tycoon Tax, Lexx Luthor, Scott Jackson, Kinaze, Realiztic, Bulle, Aspire, Mista Conspiracy, TRA, BeastMODE’s Kriss Cain, Tek Green and Doumz.
-Battles were hosted by Gully, Organik, Reverence and D-Brown.
-DJ Straight Goods was on decks all night and KemiKal did a short set between battles.
-Cancer the Crab and E-Flip had an impressive DJ battle.
-Made Wade cancelled against Teddy KGB about two weeks before the event.
-WirdOfPley cancelled his battle against Aspire two days before the event. He told us it had to do with a funeral.
-Fauthor Fal missed his flight and couldn’t get another one in time to battle Bulle.
-Scott Jackson’s arm was in a sling after a hockey injury and Organik said “he was on his Canibus shit.”
-Daylyt and Proaktive were among Yung Casper’s pre-battle shoutouts.
-Casper was apparently trying to battle Conceited at WD4 Day 3 and has someone who’ll put up the money for the battle.
-Casper and his dad are starting a clothing line of fashionable body armour for civilians.
-Wize Guy wore a “Step Easy sucks” t-shirt.
-Loe Pesci/Daylyt got two references. Kinaze got three. He also played Mario Kart on the 3DS behind Casper during Decipher’s round.
-MrSly4Life’s phone started ringing near the end of his first round. Everybody was trying to figure out who to give cut-eye, but then Sly ended his round, took his phone out of his pocket and ignored the call.
-We turned down judging the KP/Kode battle. We figure we’re busy enough trying to take notes and pictures for the blog to have to also think about judging too.
TOBB’s WD4 content:
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 1)
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 2)
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 3)
-Final thoughts on WD4
-Overheard at WD4
-Top quotes from the WD4 press conference
-TOBB’s (mildly hilarious) WD4 predictions
-Q&A: Pat Stay speaks on his Arcane battle
-Who should come to WD4?