With KOTD's premier winter event going down in Toronto this weekend (Feb. 19-20), we figured we'd put together a primer for new fans to get acquainted with the talent on the card — or for older fans to be reminded of what these battlers are capable of when they reach their full potential.
Here are BattleRap.com's picks for the battles you should check out before the pay-per-view this weekend.
Pat Stay vs. Head I.C.E
Pat Stay is no longer the KOTD champion, which means he's able to pick battles that interest him again, rather than having to face the latest title contender. The Head I.C.E battle was one of Pat’s last before winning the KOTD chain, and it's clear that he's engaged and interested. This was Pat wanting a battle and fully taking advantage of the opportunity. This was also I.C.E's debut for KOTD, and he used the platform to immediately springboard himself into being a new fan favorite.
The Saurus vs. Illmaculate
This battle is a true classic, and was seen by many as the best West Coast battle ever when it happened at Grind Time's "Battle Of The Bay 5" in 2009. Along with Pat Stay vs. Hollohan, and Aye Verb vs. Hitman Holla, this battle showed the potential magic that can happen when close friends face off.
This year at Blackout, Illmaculate is defending his title against Rone in the main event, and The Saurus posted online that he has one of his biggest opponents yet. Watch this battle back to see both emcees exceeding expectations when the pressure is on.
Rone vs. Big T
One of the standout battles at last year’s "Blackout 5," with a performance by Rone that is a major reason why he's now challenging for the KOTD chain. The battle was a classic back and forth, with the winner most likely determined by personal preference. Rone's third round going viral helped propel him in front of a mainstream audience, and though T's performance was overshadowed in the eyes of the non-battle fan audience, many within the culture still call the battle 2-1 in his favor.
Cortez vs. Hollohan
This "Blackout 2" battle introduced Cortez to the KOTD audience, and is still considered by many as one of the best the event series has produced. Hollohan unleashes an aggressive performance filled with quotables, while Cortez keeps it competitive with his flawless delivery, repeatedly telling the crowd to wait until the third round.
Once in that round, Cortez unleashes a personal angle that could easily go down as one of the most ruthless and best executed in battle history. This definitely straddled the line of what was acceptable to say, and to Hollohan’s credit, he kept his composure, and allowed Cortez to get his material off uninterrupted.
Arsonal vs. Caustic
Two of the most contentious rappers in the scene competed in a battle at KOTD’s "MASSacre" that tested the limits of what was acceptable to say in battle rap.
These two are, on some level, very similar to each other. Both see a line, step over it, and then run 10 steps further. For fans who like the no-punches-pulled style of battling, this match-up is a reminder to be excited for the inclusion of Caustic and Arsonal on the Blackout card.
Pass vs. RemyD
It's hard to point to a standout Pass battle. The Oakland veteran is so remarkably consistent that very few of his top-end performances stand out as more impressive than the next. This 2013 clash features one of Pass’ best performances, but what makes it worth recommending is that Remy came with his A-game as well.
An incredible back and forth that has largely been forgotten as time has gone on — this battle was great at the time and has aged very well. Pass’ delivery is second-to-none, and his bars are clever as well. His consistency is close to unmatched on top of that, so Toronto can look forward to another classic Pass effort.
Daylyt vs. Serius Jones
Just a reminder: Serius Jones is really, really good at freestyling. In the aftermath of the "Ether" event, Daylyt and Serius took to the streets for an impromptu freestyle battle, where Jones displayed a seamless ability to come with dope shit in any environment.
Day, for his part, showed an abundance of ability in this format as well, hitting four consecutive “just like his shirt” lines so perfectly that you wonder if he planted the crowd members. A very fun battle, a quick watch, and one you probably haven't seen.
T-Rex vs. Un Kasa
This one is all about T-Rex, and a reminder to newer fans of his place in the game. This battle went down around 2005 and was originally released on a SMACK DVD — one of the only sources for battles before the YouTube era. Rex has stayed active through pretty much every era of battle rap, unlike many of his contemporaries from the early days. This classic street performance shows Rex's impact and showcases some of his most iconic lines.
Gjonaj vs. Born
This battle, from Detroit's Bar Wars league in 2015, showcases two talents who are making their Toronto debuts at BO6. The razor-close result sees both emcees showing out with their writing and performances, using the battle as a platform to address their issues on a larger scale. They each have something to prove at this event too, which should add extra fuel to the fire.
Quill vs. Charlie Clips
This one-round battle that took place outside after the close of Don’t Flop’s "7th Birthday Weekend" was Quill’s biggest yet, and he knocked it out of the park. Though the battle was a short-notice replacement for his match-up with K-Shine, Quill showed an incredible command for his material, and delivered it flawlessly. He's proven that he can deliver when the heat is on, as it will be again at BO6 with Quill being the sole U.K. representative at the event.
Clips shines in this one too, clearly relishing the positive energy and old-school vibe of the battle.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.