Last Friday in Los Angeles, KOTD put on what was, by all accounts, a solid night. We talked to LA rapper The Deadman about his battle with The Saurus and how things went down at the sold-out event.
TOBB: Tell me first about your battle. How did it actually come about?
That shit’s funny actually. I did a battle last November in AHAT and saw a YouTube comment on the video from The Saurus that gave me a compliment. This was in a smaller league so I was surprised he watched it. I hit him up on Twitter and asked if that was him that commented and he said yeah, and I thought damn that’s crazy that The Saurus is actually a fan of my work because I’m a fan of his. [Note: The Saurus's comment said "Deadman is that dude."]
He’s on a battling tour this year, where he just wants to battle consistently. So when they were setting up battles for Takeover, they reached out to The Saurus and he was down, and when they told me he was already down to battle of course I was. You don’t have to ask me twice.
How do you write for a guy like The Saurus who’s had more than 100 battles and who’s had a million face jokes or a million old jokes already used against him?
With most battles you do almost every type of angle that’s been said before. You just have to say it differently or more creatively to impress the fans. Almost everything I said to him has been said in some way. But there’s still a few things that hadn’t been said because every battler’s brain works differently. If you watch a person’s battles you might notice something that no one else has noticed.
So for face jokes, I might use different punchlines or references relating to video games – I’ll do face jokes Deadman style. You know what’s coming but it’s still going to be impressive.
How did you think your performance against him went?
I think it was good. Every time before I battle, I want to memorize my lines as much as I can so I can spit a flawless performance. But then once you get out there, depending on the conditions of the stage or how close you are to your opponent, it affects what you do.
For example, against Cocky, we were standing so far from each other that I felt like I was standing in place too long. I should’ve walked around more. I was expecting to do that against The Saurus but we were right next to each other and it was so hot. We were basically dying up there. It just didn’t make sense to do all the extra animation.
Yeah, I heard it was super hot.
Yeah. It’s hot out here period, especially this week and last week. It’s been a heat wave. There were a lot of people packed in. The stage is usually by the door but this time it was moved to the other end of the room. There were lights right on the stage too. At first, I thought it would be bad, but while you’re battling it almost makes it feel like a war because it’s that uncomfortable.
Like, when Ali fought Frazier it was so hot that every round they thought they were going to die until finally Ali came out the victor.
But that’s what it felt like: after every round he spit, I felt like ‘Ok, here we go again’ and I had to do my thing. The uncomfortableness, if that’s even a word, made the battle feel more epic.
Of the battles you watched, who do you think had the battle of the night?
To me, KG the Poet and Daylyt was battle of the night. It was a war. KG definitely stepped his shit up, and he’s always been nice. He knew what he was getting into when he was battling Daylyt. Everybody has their eye on Daylyt right now so he knew this would probably be the most people he would have watching him. People might’ve counted him out because Daylyt is a big name and he’s proven himself already but KG went out there like this was his last battle ever. I was really impressed.
But at the same time, Daylyt was up there with no gimmicks. He was just all bars. I’m sure fans have been talking to him about his last two battles and it felt like he wanted to show people that he could still do bars when he wants to.
It was back and forth. I was reacting every few bars from both of the cats.
Were people relieved that Daylyt didn’t have any of the wildness he’s been bringing lately or were they disappointed?
They seemed happy about it. I don’t think the crowd would’ve minded either way. There were a lot of Daylyt fans who had painted on face tats. They found a way to take in whatever Daylyt brought. I think it’s more fans that weren’t there, or fans of battle rap period, who might not always like props or gimmicks. But the Daylyt fans and the LA fans, they were happy with what he did against KG.
What about Dizaster vs Cortez?
Yeah, Dizaster vs Cortez was crazy. I think it definitely lived up to the hype. People were saying Diz wasn’t prepared, but Dizaster is always kind of prepared. He just has random scenarios and bars in his head. Whenever he’s battling, he’ll trigger something and just go off talking about it or he’ll freestyle. It was very much a Dizaster battle, the kind he’s known for on KOTD.
Cortez was very structured and ready. He took it seriously. If it went down years ago like it was supposed to, there probably would’ve been a lot of tension. There was tension as far as they both wanted to win but they were still reacting to each other’s bars. It was a very respectful battle.
I seen them afterwards outside and they were both chopping it up. They were cool. Whatever negativity they might’ve had in the past was clearly gone now. That’s usually how it goes in battle rap. Like, you hate someone but then after you battle, you respect them. You guys both handled it and kept it peaceful.
Where there any big names in the audience?
Yeah, Epic Meal Time was there. He’s always a big supporter. Dumbfoundead showed up. A lot of old Grind Time rappers. Alchemist was there too.
You battled back in the Grind Time days, as well as in URL’s West Coast Jungle league and now with KOTD. Do you find that it’s just one big Cali scene, or is it noticeably different with the fans and the vibes at the events?
A little bit of both actually. For the longest time, there was only one scene down here. It was mostly the Grind Time style scene with the guys from the freestyle era who were adapting to the written format: The Saurus, Dizaster, Illmac, Passwurdz, all those dudes.
The Jungle was mostly Northern Cali so if KOTD eventually does an event up there they’ll find a lot of fans and battlers.
But King of the Dot right now, they have their own vibe and their own fans. Certain battlers, like for example Lex D, in my eyes are throwbacks to classic Grind Time. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He just goes out there and entertains the crowd with jokes. Cadalack Ron is a Grind Time legend. So he definitely knows how to do that style too. So you watch a battle like that and it’s fun. They’re not going to beat each other up or do all this extra shit, you know?
KOTD can go from that to KG the Poet and Daylyt, where it’s two street dudes talking about gun shit, then go into Dizaster/Cortez where it’s East Coast vs West Coast, all at the same event. And the crowd reacts to everything.
Was there anything going on behind the scenes worth mentioning?
Dirtbag Dan was there, he’s the homie. There was a point when him and Aspect One challenged each other to a foot race. I don’t know why, but they did. They start running and Aspect passes him and Dirtbag trips and falls down and he’s laughing. Then Aspect turns around to run backwards to laugh at Dirtbag and he falls down too. Hopefully someone filmed it.
A lot of shit was going down between battles. It was so hot that a lot of people were outside to cool off and there was a point where they weren’t letting people back in. Everyone wanted to watch certain battles so they almost ran through the doors. There was a lot of shit going down, but the foot race was hilarious.
Are we going to see you at World Dom 4?
I’m not sure. I definitely want to go to Toronto, that’s my next goal. I think World Dom is probably already fully booked. So if not then, I might just wait until the next big event. If they do a Flatline 3, it would be good to battle there because I say ‘flatline’ in my battles and it’s kind of my trademark. Regardless, I’d like to battle outside of Cali.
Anything else you want to say?
Shoutouts to the KOTD staff and to Aspect One specifically. He goes above and beyond to get me the battles I need. Me and him actually battled in Grind Time back in the day. I had battled Sun Tzu in GT before but the footage never dropped, so Aspect was my debut GT battle. Since then, we’ve been like brothers. My next few battles will be with KOTD. It’s where it’s at right now.
Shoutout to Deadman for the interview. Follow him on Twitter.