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.
In this week’s battles: new talent gets some shine, a rapper is interrupted by a crackhead, and TOBattleBlog gets its first reference.
B-MAGIC VS TAY ROC
This is a master’s class in street battle rap. Both guys draw deep on references from all over the world of sports, movies, history, geography, hip hop and battling and somehow manage to bring all of it back to shooting each other.
We’ll break down just one of B-Magic’s bars so you get a sense:
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.
The Ground Zero Grand Prix is shaping up to be the hottest ticket in North American battle rap. Round 2 has a strong crop of hungry battlers with well-defined personas from all over the stylistic map. The best part though, is that there’s actually something at stake: wins and losses mean something.
We were at the Toronto event last night, but we’ve also got recaps from Vancouver, California and Calgary from league presidents La Sparka, Aspect One and Sketch Menace. Scroll down for those, but read Toronto first.
A good recap is going to have some spoilers. Be warned.