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.
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.
10. SOUL VS WIZE GUY
This was the first – and best – battle at BO3, which is no small feat considering how stacked that card was. Soul’s KOTD debut was reportedly Organik’s favourite performance from that event and was enough to earn him invites to WD4 (which he had to decline) and BO4. Wize Guy was at his best here too, with his humour hitting all the right notes with the crowd.
9. THE SAURUS VS THE DEADMAN
The Saurus continued his streak of amazing performances in this battle from Takeover. The Deadman went from rising star to established name on the West Coast, enough to get him his BOTB6 battle against Chilla Jones. This battle has tons of replay value, with both MCs hitting with heavy punch after heavy punch. No drama, no backstory, no beef, just two competitive rappers putting on a fantastic battle.
As a side note, Deadman’s slugfest with Ayem was one of KOTD’s most slept-on battles of the year and was a definite contender for this list.
8. J-PRO VS ANYGMA
Great WD4 battle between two vets who brought A-material. Obviously, Anygma went through an ordeal to reach Toronto for the event, what with massive flooding back in the Philippines. He came straight from the airport after about 24 straight hours of travel. Regardless, it was his best World Domination showing yet, and he clearly earned the right to come back for WD5. His best material dissected J-Pro’s writing style and ridiculed his worst bars, and may actually be the best angle anyone has taken against Pro. But still, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges, and J-Pro took a unanimous decision. His haymakers were heavy as always, and his references were on point. Here’s a sample line: “After all these punches, he’ll die from a choke like Arturo Gatti.” He also listed the countries that have occupied the Philippines, and said: “Filipinos have always been the victim of world domination.” Very cold stuff.
J-Pro’s battle with KG the Poet at Resurgence was also very, very good and set the tone for two MCs who impressed us repeatedly in 2013.
7. BONNIE GODIVA VS YOUNG GATTAS
Another incredible battle from WD4 and easily one of the year’s best to see live. Both MCs were ruthless in their attack and one-upped each other with each passing round. Also, it was full of quotable lines. Here’s one from Gattas: “You let every nigga mash — that’s why your pussy look like poutine.” And one from Godiva: “I’d give you the finger, but it would probably get your dumb ass wet.” The crowd was eating up the content, so kudos to both MCs for putting down what is arguably the best female-on-female battle ever.
6. DANNY MYERS VS RUM NITTY
We were lucky to be in the building for this sleeper hit from BOTB6 Day 1. After one round we were tweeting that it had potential to be battle of the night and after the second it was clear we had a classic on our hands.
Myers had at least 10 lines that whipped the crowd into a frenzy, our favourite being about how his boys have cases like child support: “They bust once and paid for it for 18 years.” Rum Nitty kept pace throughout with an energetic performance and some nice imagery (“I had to show up to the battle on a dolly wearing a Hannibal mask”).
Ultimately, we think what makes this battle so entertaining is its atmosphere. Lush’s enthusiasm was contagious and before long Dizaster and Daylyt were going crazy too and the crowd caught fire from there. Though this isn’t the Number 1 battle on our list, it was definitely the one that was the most fun to see live.
5. REAL DEAL VS RONE
For those who thought that Rone and Real Deal would go light on each other, don’t worry. This was high-level white-on-white crime. (Lush called it “Tantrum vs Dumbfoundead for white people.”) Rone went at Real Deal for being “tech support” for Dot Mob, and for also being the lowest paid top-tier rapper (e.g. “How you got Deal in your name, but can’t negotiate for shit?”). Real Deal questioned Rone’s Philadelphia roots and made fun of Rone for not landing a job in journalism, despite getting a degree in it. (Sample Real Deal line: “You are not fly as hell, Rone, you just have male flight attendant swagger.”) Real Deal’s third round, where he goes after URL battlers for ducking him, deserved the massive reaction it got.
The audio isn’t great, but it is representative of how the battle went down in the venue. It happened around the time the crowd was at its worst, and it speaks to the quality of the performances and content that both battlers were able to reignite the energy in the venue.
4. QP VS REMY D
In this matchup from Resurgence, QP shows he’s the master of the “associative scheming” style he pioneered. His wordplay is never forced or stretched and he’s definitely the only cat who can get away with TWO “defeat/da feet” lines in one battle and still make it a classic.
Remy’s rapid-fire flow is perfect here and he drops gems repeatedly while going for the throat with a vicious second-round character breakdown.
3. PASS VS REMY D
Not much to say about this one really – it speaks for itself. One round in and you’ll know why this Alcatraz battle is near the top of this list. Remy definitely deserves a nomination for Rebuttal of the Year when, after being told he looks like Kid Cudi, he responds that Pass looks like “a low budget Joe Budden.”
2. DNA VS CHARRON
Shotgun Suge backing out his WD4 battle may have been the best thing to happen to Charron in 2013. His last-minute replacement was DNA, and frankly, the end result was probably better for it.
As for the battle, Charron was outstanding and cemented his place in the top tier. He called out just about everyone on some Kendrick shit, including Smack, Arcane, Don Demarco, Pat Stay, Organik, Bishop and every URL rapper for not doing judged battles. DNA was also excellent, enough so that his fan base could easily argue a 2-1 victory in his favour. He did a commendable job of controlling the crowd, given how much momentum was in Charron’s corner.
Add the fact that the matchup was a surprise to the crowd and that all of it was done on about eight days prep and you’ve got the stuff that makes a battle legendary.
1. BIGG K VS ILLMACULATE
Sorry, no surprise here.
It’s a tired, overused line to describe a close battle as having as having “no losers.” But the Illmaculate/Bigg K battle is one time when that’s undeniably the case. Sure, there are some people firmly entrenched in the pro-Illmac or pro-Bigg K camps, but so many others shift their allegiances with each viewing.
Leading up to this event, K’s skyrocketing stock had stalled after some bad chokes and Illmac needed to redeem his last KOTD performance against Arsonal. Whatever the case, both were motivated, focused and dope as hell.
Bigg K was disrespectful from the jump. First he argued the results of the coinflip, then went on to disrespect Illmac, the hosts, the league and the crowd. It was awesome. The best part was that he brought the content and the confidence to back it up. Lines like “This ill mac will ring twice – that’s WRCs” and “I’m bi-polar: nice jab, mean hook” show the brilliance of K’s simple and direct style.
Illmac’s performance bordered on what he brought against Bender (which won him KOTD’s Performance of the Year in 2011) and his verses were intricate and his concepts original.
When we watched this battle live, there was an energy in the room unlike any other we experienced this year. People in the crowd were calling it battle of the year immediately after it finished and in our opinion, they were dead on.
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