King of the Dot’s Vendetta 2 Redemption card mostly lived up to its name in Los Angeles last night. The event was to make up for Blackout 4′s six unexpected cancellations but of the three rescheduled battles, only Bender vs Big T went down. Ill Will backed out against Real Deal, citing contractual obligations to BET, and Shotty Horroh was replaced by Caustic as Aye Verb’s opponent with two weeks’ notice.
Despite those early setbacks, it was a great event with lots of impressive performances from some of the best battle MCs in the world, cheered on by a generous and well-behaved crowd. The venue was much smaller than the massive rooms we’ve seen in Toronto recently, holding around 500 people comfortably. The stage was only a couple of feet high and the battlers were surrounded by people which should result in footage similar to that of Battle of the Bay 6 — which is a good thing.
To a certain extent, this was the URL vs KOTD card that fans have been demanding for years. That no one really noticed shows how much overlap there now is between the leagues and their rosters.
Overall, the tone of the battles gave clear indication that a combination of complex wordplay, rapid-fire punches and dense lyricism is the dominant style in battling today. Our only request for the next card is that we get a bit more comedy to break up the encyclopedia’s worth of bars we’re getting shouted at us in a night.
**You can watch all these battles on PPV now, atKOTD.TV**
Bigg K used to be one of the top up-and-coming MCs in the scene. After his 2013 clash with Illmaculate, which many called battle of the year, he exchanged “up-and-coming” for “established.”
The Norfolk, Virginia MC first caught people’s attention in URL’s Proving Grounds, then solidified his name on the main stage against Rosenberg Raw. Since then, he’s squared off against Real Deal and Shotgun Suge in upstart leagues. In the ring, he cuts an imposing figure and attacks his opponents with an onslaught of street slang and heavy haymakers.
This weekend in Los Angeles, KOTD hopes to catch lightning in a bottle again by matching Bigg K up with Illmac’s former WRC partner, The Saurus.
Redemption. It’s what you seek when you know you can do better.
The idea works on two levels for King of the Dot’s upcoming event in Los Angeles.
First, KOTD is seeking redemption for the “Vendetta” legacy. The first Vendetta event, in 2012, will always be remembered as “that time Canibus died in front of a live audience.” In some ways, that battle launched KOTD — and battle culture as a whole — to a wider audience, although it probably wasn’t the ideal foot to put forward…
Second, KOTD needs to redeem itself from the disappointments at Blackout 4. After a series of uncontrollable circumstances at Toronto’s January event, six battles were cancelled, including many of the weekend’s most-anticipated matchups. Scores were left unsettled and there was a feeling of incompleteness for fans, battlers and KOTD staff.
This card is serious business. There are no novelty battles. There are no throwaway battles. Every matchup is dripping with potential and every battler has proved he can deliver on the main stage.
We reached out to the KOTD staff to get their impressions on the card. Here’s what they said:
Kingfly – KOTD Toronto
“When we announced the card, the matchup was Aye Verb vs Shotty Horroh. I was really excited to see Shotty’s return to battling after his hiatus. Shotty is easily the Number 1 battler from the U.K. and he was taking on “Mr. Showtime,” who many consider to be one of the top battlers today.
When Shotty told me he couldn’t make it I was disappointed but moreso concerned with what was going on with him personally. Personal life always trumps battle rap. But Caustic is a good replacement. This is a big opportunity for him so he won’t come light. And knowing him, he’ll have dirt on Verb so it should be entertaining.”
Battle rap has come a long way since the freestyle era. Battlers used to rhyme in short bursts over a beat, spontaneously crafting insults about their opponent. Now, the scene has shifted to a pre-written format, where MCs spend weeks crafting intricate lyrics and spit them for an online audience that will analyze their every word. But with every step of the scene’s evolution, one name has remained constant: The Saurus. Ahead of Blackout 4, we had the homie KBomb speak with the Monterey, California-based rapper about the changes he’s witnessed in his 10 years of battling and his thoughts on where the scene is headed next.
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.
[UPDATE: We have a new list that reflects what’s been going on throughout the first six months of 2014. Check it here.]
Here it is, our last list of 2013.
It’s an attempt to boil down every aspect of battle rap culture, by looking at every battler in every league, to find the definitive best battlers of 2013. It is an ambitious task, and it wasn’t an easy one. Our final picks come after much debate among the writers at T.O. Battle Blog, as well as a few expert sounding boards.
The criteria we used to make our choices include: quality, consistency, impact, achievement, frequency of battle, and difficulty of opponent.
We broke it down into a ranked Top 5, a “Next 5″ for numbers 6 though 10 (in no particular order), and a few honorable mentions. The last group could’ve included a lot more people (namely J-Pro and Lotta Zay) but we had to draw the line somewhere.
But enough explanations. You’re here to read about 2013′s top battlers.