KOTD’s Ground Zero league was a lot of fun in 2013.
The Ground Zero Grand Prix (a 32-man tournament with battles in all four of KOTD’s divisions) meant there were events going down almost monthly for a while. And with a $1,500 prize on the line, the MCs were hungry since winning and losing actually meant something.
No clear superstars emerged from the league in 2013, but a lot of guys surprised us by surpassing expectations and a few will fit in on main cards in 2014.
The battles in our Top 5 are all great for different reasons, so we present them in no particular order.
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.
Day 3 has been long hyped as the “best day of World Domination,” and has produced some veritable classics in the past, but after this year’s success of Day 1 and 2, it would have been near impossible to hit that height.
The event was packed with VIPs (too many to list here, so check our Instagram feed for pictures) and was held at Aria, the same club where Thursday’s press conference went down. It was a (mostly) covered rooftop patio, but no one would’ve realized it wasn’t completely covered if it hadn’t started raining on one side of the ring. The format was typical GZ, with battlers in the centre of a crowd. With all the camera, speaker and electrical wires snaking through puddles, it’s a small miracle no one was electrocuted.
The five battles on the card featured some of the most promising Ground Zero up-and-comers (check our extensive coverage of the 2013 GZGP if you’ve been sleeping on Toronto) going up against some low profile international opponents.
Unfortunately the main theme of the night was choking, but there were still glimmers of potential from most of the guys and a couple of breakout performances as well.
This week we highlight one of battle rap’s most divisive figures, a debatable win that spurred accusations of national bias, and a hilarious match-up between book smarts and street smarts.
MS FIT VS MS HUSTLE
This isn’t only the best “female battle” of the week, it’s one of the best from any league. It starts a bit slow, but had us convinced by the end. The use of props often gets scoffed at in battle rap, but Fit’s use of the iPad (similar to O-Red using portraits against Rosenberg Raw) works on some “Exhibit A” shit.
First time we’ve seen a battle rapper tag in a partner during a 1-on-1 match too. [UPDATE: … except here and here.]
This past Saturday night, King of the Dot launched its Ground Zero tournament with simultaneous events in Los Angeles and Toronto. Both events went smoothly and were packed with high-quality performances.
TOBattleBlog saw the Toronto event first-hand (and even judged three of the GP battles), but we also have exclusive notes from KOTD West Coast’s J-Pro, who was in L.A.
(If you’re not familiar with the battlers competing in the $1500, winner-take-all Ground Zero tournament, check out our introductions for Toronto and Los Angeles.)