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.
Friday night didn’t quite meet expectations. For starters, only six battles went down, leaving KOTD with a tight schedule for Saturday. Some nice battles were hosted last night, but most of the marquee names will be battling Saturday – if at all. The lopsided days are due to last-minute cancellations/issues from some battlers on the card. The only announced delay was with Big T. Late Friday night, Bishop Brigante broke the bad news to the audience. (Bender and Big T were supposed to be Friday’s headliner.) Brigante says they’re trying to get T to Toronto by Saturday night; if KOTD is unable to, they’re looking to re-book the match “in the near future.”
Also, it’s worth mentioning that the crowd was generally terrible, as is the case for most big KOTD events. For some reason, there are dozens of people out there willing to spend $40 for entry to a rap battle they’d prefer to talk through.
In any event, here’s what happened on Friday. And as always, there are spoilers. You can also check the battles yourself with the KOTD pay-per-view.
100 BULLETZ VS J-PRO
Bulletz started and ended the battle by asking for a bigger name. However, it was J-Pro who dominated the battle and proved he’s deserving of a top-tier opponent. In particular, J-Pro’s second round was arguably the best of the night, in which he laid waste to the whole Innuendo crew. (Sample line: “Remy couldn’t make it because he’s got back pain from taking more Ds than Smack’s name.” Also, some context: RemyD will not perform at Blackout 4 after being in a car accident.) Pro attacked Bulletz from several smart angles and with his trademark heavy punches. He was hungry on Friday and probably delivered the top performance of the night.
The battle did end on a strange note, though. Once Bulletz had finished his third round, he said: “This was light. Give me real opponents and I’ll start writing.” We’d argue that J-Pro is very much a real opponent and should never be taken lightly.
UNO LAVOZ VS BONNIE GODIVA
This battle will be remembered for one round: Bonnie’s third. First off, we’re going to tread lightly when writing on it, because Bonnie made some very serious accusations about Lavoz. We take notes at events, but don’t record the rounds. Thus, in a delicate situation like this, we’d prefer to only relay info that is undeniably true.
Partway through Bonnie’s third, she brought out a judge’s robe and donned it. Then she brought out Mystique. (If you don’t know Mystique, she’s been at KOTD events since the beginning. Her and Lavoz were also a couple – or something like that – at one point.) Mystique then swore on a Bible to tell the truth about Lavoz. She didn’t really say much (or anything) during the round, but mostly nodded her head when needed. Bonnie aired out a disturbing story from Lavoz and Mystique’s relationship, in which Uno is alleged to have choked her. (Mystique nodded to indicate this actually happened.) Later in the round, Bonnie referred to Uno as a “rapist.”
Needless to say, Bonnie’s third round killed the vibe in the room. We could write 2,000 words on her approach, so we’ll save any analysis/commentary for another time. Prior to Bonnie’s third, however, Lavoz had done a formidable job, as he generally does at big events. It’s a shame the battle took an ugly turn.
[Update: Uno Lavoz has denied the allegations in a Facebook post. Go have a read here.]
ARCANE VS DNA
As you might expect, this was a solid battle, though nothing spectacular. Arcane was typical Arcane: good writing, flawless execution and clearly lots of preparation. He took dead aim at DNA’s shaky performances over the past year (e.g. “Going on a worldwide losing tour doesn’t get you a title shot”). However, he also spent a good chunk of his opening round on DNA’s on-stage puking issues, which seemed excessive. On the other hand, DNA was typical DNA: some great freestyles, lots of conviction, a handful of wack bars and way too many slogans. To his credit, this was DNA’s best performance since the Charron battle. He still lost the battle though, as Arcane was simply better prepared and polished.
THE SAURUS VS CHARRON
This was easily the battle of the night. Both had great performances, and both took mean, direct angles to attack one another. Much of The Saurus’s plan was to portray Charron as: 1) being in the midst of an identity crisis; 2) being an awkward, white racist; and 3) being desperate for attention, and willing to do anything to get it.
Charron attacked The Saurus from many of the same angles as past opponents – ie. age, skin and daughter jokes – though his material still resonated. Charron repeatedly referred to Saurus as “mid-tier,” which is a bit of a stretch against someone who is a living legend. He also went first, meaning he only had two chances to rebuttal. Honestly, this battle was tough to call live, though Saurus might have edged it. (We could change our minds upon seeing the YouTube footage.)
ARSONAL VS SWAVE SEVAH
Was this a great battle? Probably not. Is it worth watching? For sure. There was a loose, friendly vibe to the Arsonal/Swave matchup, a refreshing change from some overly serious and tense battles in the past year. It was also the first time we can remember that Arsonal was somewhat light-hearted and casual in his performance – and that’s not a euphemism for “he sucked.” Clearly both guys have respect for one another, and it showed onstage. Swave’s debut was solid, though his rounds felt a bit light. Did it feel like he spent months preparing for this battle? Certainly not. But his presence was a welcome one on the first day of Blackout 4. Hopefully we’ll see him again in the future. The result is tough to call. Just know that each battler’s fan base will argue 2-1.
STEP EASY VS DDSS
Finally, the 32-man Ground Zero Grand Prix tournament reached its championship match. Ahead of the battle, the odds seemed to be in Step Easy’s favour. He had beaten tougher opponents to reach the final, and he certainly has more experience than DDSS. Step’s material was pretty solid, consisting of quality nameflips and intricate multis. That being said, his extended content about the Vancouver scene was likely lost on a crowd of mostly casual battle fans. Ultimately, DDSS did a better job of playing to the crowd and getting reaction, but without diluting his content. He deservedly won the GZGP championship and the $1,500 cheque (and apparently, there’s a chain coming).
ALSO OF NOTE:
-A fistfight broke out between two guys in the middle of Arcane’s third round. We were seated in the balcony and got a good aerial view of the melee. It took about a minute before the situation was cleared up. Organik described their actions as “pussy shit.”
-As we’d predicted, several battlers took aim at Eurgh, with most content about the Diz/spit angle. Here’s a The Saurus line to Charron: “You’ve been a bitch since the jump-off like a teenaged Eurgh.”
-Bonnie Godiva wore a very tight-fitting, bright green dress. Of course, this became another running theme throughout the night. In J-Pro’s second round, he said Bonnie “What you gonna do you hoe bitch? Came on stage lookin’ like a fuckin’ glow stick.”
More photos from Lemme Kno: