KOTD Vancouver’s recent Gastown event was supposed to launch the division. Daylyt, who’s always one performance away from another million views on WorldStarHipHop, was taking on Fingaz, himself coming off a strong performance against Ness Lee at Quarantine. The other main event pitted Uno Lavoz against Sketch Menace, fresh after both of them dominated at Blackout 4. Unfortunately neither of those battles happened, along with Cadalack Ron vs Cody the Catch.
The battles that did go down, however, mostly satisfied the large crowd. Some veterans made successful returns to the ring and some up-and-comers gained momentum.
We got the homie Ayem, who made the 17-hour drive up from San Jose with Madflex, to give us a rundown of how things went from his perspective. Ayem’s a Grindtime alum who faced off with DNA in 2009 and who has more recently been putting on some completely slept-on performances against the likes of The Deadman and Megadef in KOTD’s Fresh Coast division.
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.
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.
Notez is one of the most divisive figures in battle rap. The Toronto MC’s hood lyrics, in-battle theatrics and raspy patois energize live crowds while often offending online audiences. Take a look through the YouTube comments on any of his battles and you’ll find both derision and praise.
Notez too street for any URL cats -snwoodstock13
Trash!!! Notez fake ass is going to get bodied -EpicFreestyleKing
notez’ bars were so gutter, my speakers got stolen in the middle of his verse. -emceekinaze
First time I’ve heard Notez, hopefully it’ll be the last. -Jeremy Liu
But you can’t argue with his record: 13-2, with no losses since early 2011. True, most of his wins have been over unknowns, but he’s also beat some established up-and-comers like Yung Casper and Tycoon Tax.
We met up with Notez at his Teesdale housing project to get a sense of who he is outside of a rap battle.
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.