Last month marked (out) the three-year anniversary of my foray into the battle rap medium. My debut was against one sharply dressed English teacher named Mark Grist back in April 2011. I did it as a platform from which to interview Eurgh for my English Language university dissertation on battle rap (available here in its full glory) and to find out more about a culture by which I was utterly fascinated. Part of me wanted to prove myself as well – I’d only really presented myself/been seen as a joke in the Brighton hip-hop scene up to that point, and I suppose I just wanted to see if I actually was one, on my own terms. I ended up learning way more than I expected.
Here are my ten clearest memories, in no particular order:
Corey Charron became an elite MC in 2013. The 22-year-old Ottawa rapper has been battling since high school, but it was in 2013 that he began dominating veterans in KOTD and other leagues around the world. Now he’s touring Canada, playing sold-out shows opening up for Method Man and Redman. Ahead of Charron’s Blackout 4 battle with The Saurus, we had the homie Seanzo speak to him about his image, his chase for the KOTD chain and his goals for 2014.
The Great Experiment has finally arrived. King of the Dot’s much-anticipated Blackout 4 kicked off last night in Toronto. The card features arguably the deepest roster of talent ever assembled for a single event, plus it also boasts a novel concept: the majority of battles are being announced live at the event, rather than weeks/months in advance.
King of the Dot spent much of 2013 trying to find a balance.
In Toronto, Blackout 3 had the biggest audience a KOTD event had ever seen, but the massive crowd meant that it was difficult to see and hear the battles in the venue. For Vengeance 2, the venue was too big for the smaller crowd and for World Domination 4 the venue was fine but the audio in the footage was hit-or-miss and the crowd was often unruly.
The California division rebuilt the West Coast battle scene to its former glory, providing a platform for both returning legends and a slew of new talent. Each event (Resurgence, Alcatraz and Takeover) showed progression, eventually culminating in the year’s best: Battle of the Bay 6.
Calgary’s Quarantine and Vancouver’s GZGP semi-finals events featured those cities’ best matchups to date and hinted at even bigger things to come.
But as for the battles, KOTD put out more classics than any other league this year. The quality of content from WD4 and BOTB6 was unrivaled and most of the big-name matchups lived up to or exceeded their expectations.
Honestly, picking the 10 best battles from KOTD’s releases this year wasn’t easy, so if your Top 10 list varies from ours, we won’t necessarily say you’re wrong.
It’s been a week since Battle of the Bay 6 and the reviews have been strong across the board for both the live event and the PPV. Illmaculate vs Bigg K definitely made the biggest splash on social media, and deservedly so. We’ve also seen a lot of praise for Saurus/JJDD and debate over Verb/Diz.
Despite the matchups being almost entirely West Coast KOTD vs East Coast URL, this event lacked the same animosity that WD4 had between battlers from those leagues. At WD4, Charlie Clips, Real Deal and Charron devoted almost complete rounds to calling out the New York league and its stars. If anything, battlers had KOTD in their sights this time, with Bigg K and Pass calling out the league and Chilla Jones responding to Real Deal’s WD4 round. There were, however, multiple references to Daylyt’s SM3 beef with Smack.
Daylyt’s influence was also clear on both Day 1 and Day 2, with several rappers using props and antics to make a point. Also attributable to Daylyt were the “one-phrase-flipped-so-many-different-ways” lines that he popularized with “bus stop” against Rich Dolarz and “Captain Jack” against Dialect.
Well, KOTD did it again. Even with the bar raised so high from WD4, the West Coast stepped up and put on an event worthy of the BOTB name. We have a lot to say about the event itself, but stay tuned for all of it in another article and/or podcast.