You might know Mos Prob as a former Don’t Flop rapper (who made our Best of 2013 list) or maybe as half of “that battle rap engagement couple” with his American MC fiancé Rapunsell. What you might not realize about Adam “Mos Prob” Felman is that he’s also a massively entertaining writer. One that you’ll be reading a lot more from now that he’s the newest staff writer for T.O. Battle Blog.
He’ll also be managing our Facebook page, so make sure to add us for more updates and articles.
Here are his thoughts on his first trip to Canada and first KOTD event:
Being in a transatlantic relationship has its downsides. There are long stretches of isolation, communication breakdowns, conversation pockets that are governed solely by being in the vicinity of a fully operational Wi-Fi router and of course all the doubts and fears that tag along behind your lady being that far away. One of the great things about it, however, is knowing that once every few months you get to do insanely cool stuff because you were “in America anyway.” This little pilgrimage happened for exactly that reason.
Another part of having to travel a lot is not having your life flash before your eyes every time a plane goes through turbulence, but thanks to what Canadians call “weather patterns” and what I call “the hammer of Thor on amphetamines” I was sat bolt-upright for the entire descent into Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport. A descent that, I might add, happened a precarious distance from the icy expanses of whatever used to be Lake Ontario before Toronto decided above-freezing just wasn’t for it.
After the first of what would end up being five extortionate cab rides, Rapunsell and I were at the venue. From outside, the Opera House looks unassuming enough - just an average club – but inside the venue is an opulent, sweeping stage surrounded by ornate carvings and balconies and all sorts. It’s literally an opera house. The simple act of being there creates a sense of anticipation – it was a similar situation with the Don’t Flop 5th Birthday.
At the cloak room (the North American contingent reading this will call it a “coat check,” but Knamelis informs me that “cloak room” is way cooler) we were elbow-deep in conversation with the lovely human behind the desk when Pat Stay came over and swept us up in an almost comically large hug. Having never met him before, my only assumption is that he is like this with everyone. It was akin to being attacked by the Internet.
We entered on one of 100 Bulletz’ more underwhelming recent performances against an on-point J-Pro, and popped to the bar to get punched in the face by drink prices. Over five dollars for a can of Strongbow seems a little villainous to me, but there you go. On a completely unrelated matter, it was at this point it occurred to me that Organik looks like a giant claymation version of Blizzard in real life. That wasn’t, however, a strong enough revelation to disguise the fact that the drink prices needed to CALM. DOWN.
On the first day, two things stood out to me. Firstly, Charron has started doing gun bars. Non-ironically, as far as I can tell. Secondly, on an individual level the KOTD fans are lovely. As a crowd, they’re dicks. Don’t Flop has the best battle rap audience in the world so far as respect and reactions go, and there was a constant low rumble of talking throughout even the title match over here.
Which is a shame, because, bar the awkwardness of the now-kind-of-infamous Bonnie Godiva/Uno rape accusation thing, almost every rapper on a stalwart-studded card brought their A-game. Not every battle was a classic, but each battle was a solid, entertaining matchup and even Arcane vs DNA never became dull. Plus, Arsonal vs Swave Sevah was fantastic to witness live as well.
Given a lot of the audio from World Domination 4, as good as many of the battles were, I was expecting to have a hard time hearing the battlers in a venue this size, but the clarity was amazing. The stage was set up with a full back projector and two smaller monitors at the front, that played the event’s central conceit: a scrolling list of every performer which would spool in front of an unwitting audience and reveal each matchup as they were happening. So when “Charron vs The Saurus” or “Conceited vs Charlie Clips” pops up on a screen, you lose your shit a whole lot more vividly than if you knew before the event.
There were six no shows to this event, all for different reasons. When you’ve travelled to a different country to see the names on the flyer, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth when twelve of them are missing. We still had an amazing time, but throw us a bone here, guys. We haven’t really slept. We just want to see the good rappers rap.
After waiting for him to finish kissing all of KOTD on the cheek, we bundled into a taxi with lovable man-giant Knamelis, who gets massive kudos for putting us up and generally being wonderful and hospitable all weekend for no discernible reason.
Day 2 started with us waddling like penguins with no fashion sense down the road to Coffee Time, which I’m told is one of the most Canadian things you can do bar apologising for it. We climbed into yet another catastrophically priced taxi to the Opera House and, on disembarking, had “CONGRATULATIONS” yelled at us by an overzealous attendee. Canadian pleasantness and the volume encouraged by battle rap can lead to brilliant results.
Before heading into the event, we laid waste to burgers twice the size of my face and a table-sized plate of chips at Dangerous Dan’s, which seems to be a stoner-themed diner hell-bent on making up for the taxi prices by way of ladling as much meat as they possibly can onto your plate for not very much money at all. Crammed to the rafters with dead animal, we moved on to the shouty men.
We had another Pat Stay experience as well. A solid four hours before his title clash, we caught him swaggering around, making ridiculous high-pitched “wibble wibble” noises like a distracted child. On questioning, he said nothing and simply hugged us again and swaggered off, swaggeringly. Dizaster, likewise, came up to us, shifted foot-to-foot like a boxer whilst firing off two hundred words a second about his upcoming clash, and then disappeared as fast as he’d appeared.
Every battle on the Saturday had a standout round, or performance, at the absolute least. I honestly believe Soul vs Sketch Menace had Battle of the Day quality, and not just for Soul. Sketch stepped his game up immeasurably as well, and seems to have lost a chin or two in the process. Charlie Clips cemented his status as one of the best to watch on the planet, Rum Nitty gave what was probably the performance of the event and Fresco vs Yung Ill was a sublime mismatch.
The title match was an epic face-off that rendered Pat Stay pretty much unbeatable, and despite a fantastic performance (ignoring a few stumbles) pushed Diz into quitting battle rap, it seems. It was genuinely amazing to watch live. When you’re seeing all of this skill and presence unfold, YouTube is only a tiny piece of the puzzle. A venue like the Opera House really brings the colours out of a clash of this magnitude.
Standing at the opposite end of the vast transatlantic puddle, I obviously see only one side of the beef and drama. I only see Eurgh requesting fellatio from other battle leagues, then have to scrabble about on Twitter assessing the fallout. I never thought I’d be there in person to see every battler from the other league then turning around and saying “fuck Don’t Flop.” It happened in over half the battles.
I think a lot of the DF hate was understandable, in all honesty. It was the first event since Eurgh made his ill-fated callout in his two-on-two clash against Loe Pesci and Bender. Did it affect me? Short of cueing an eye-roll and a grimace from Rapunsell, not really. Outside of the battles, everyone was cordial and chatty, and although it’s weird to have people taking shots at the league I represented for nigh on three years, I do understand it’s mostly just theatrics. It was largely Eurgh who kept getting mentions, and I’m not him, so I don’t really care.
Smack/URL came under fire during WD4, and at this event Smack and Organik were onstage hosting together and hanging like chums. It’s all surface tension. When dealing with me personally, fans and battlers alike simply understood I was an avid battle rap fan making something of a pilgrimage and respected that.
Weirdness and drama aside, it was wonderful getting to see the mainstays in action. Burnt out and exhilarated, we drove back via Niagara Falls, almost got frostbite, got lost in New Jersey (while Hollow vs Lux was on, I believe) and, thirteen hours later, ended up back in Brooklyn with very little energy or patience left. Yet again, my travels showed me another dizzying branch of battle rap, face to face.