KOTD's fourth event at The Bunker got off to a rocky start this past Saturday in Los Angeles, with PPV sync issues, delays, and a battler tapping out before even uttering a word. Soon though, the mood of the room changed, and BATB eventually became a very solid event. Even with the high standard set by the previous Bunker event, many in attendance called this their favorite at the venue yet.
Battle Of The Night: Cortez vs. B Dot
There are certainly some aspects that would have made it even better, but this battle is intense, personal, and one that will allow Cortez to continue to claim undefeated status on KOTD while allowing B Dot to claim the same for his entire four-battle career thus far. It comes down to Round 2, with Cor clearly taking the first and B Dot running away with the third.
B Dot is known for packing a whole lot of substance into his rounds, and the result is usually simultaneously brutal and poetic. It was a bit concerning, then, that his voice was noticeably hoarse after waking up sick that day, but he didn't let it hold him back too much. His first round is a little off-brand in that it's more bar-heavy than it is substantive, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Cor capitalized on it though, clearly taking Round 1 with a very heady approach and a deadly "working for the white man" angle, which hit particularly hard given how vocal B Dot has been about black empowerment.
Round 2 is something of a tossup, where B Dot seems to cut his mostly consistent round slightly short and Cor suffers from a pretty severe lapse in energy and crowd reaction toward the end of the round. If a flawless performance is decisive for you, then you'll have the battle 2-0 Cortez after the second, but it's certainly up for debate. Another factor in Cor's favor is the fact that he was evidently under B Dot's skin, who interrupted him a few times. Regardless, many in the building were saying 1-1 going into the third, which is where B Dot really pulled away with his signature approach.
Although he had the benefit of closing the show, there wasn't much Cor would have been able to say to overshadow B Dot's third. While the round might not have surpassed (or even matched) some of his best material for Stricc, Daylyt or Danny Myers, it was a massive takedown of Cor's entire identity, focusing mainly on his false assumptions about his heritage. Don't miss this battle for what seemed to blossom into a full-on grudge match out of nowhere.
Performance Of The Night: Geechi Gotti
After newcomer Saynt delivered one of the rounds of the night with his first, the pressure was instantly on Geechi Gotti, who has been around for a while but is also still building his name. This was Geechi's KOTD debut, and he crushed it; Saynt probably outdid him in the first with a few too many haymakers to counter, but he only heated up from there.
Geechi had heavy punches in every round, but his Round 3 was the real standout. It was on some straight "I'll kill you in real life" type shit, and the crowd ate it up. It's an incredibly cold approach and so cleverly put together that it might surprise you just how hard it hits (e.g. "If I ever killed a nigga, I ain't never had a nightmare about it or any kind of dream ... The only way I'ma have a nightmare is if I left a witness on the scene"). Sheesh. All in all, although at times he seems slightly thrown off in his delivery (and he definitely needs to cut down on the "code word" bars), Geechi shows huge potential as a strong writer who can talk that street shit too.
Sleeper Hit Of The Night: Madflex vs. Ness Lee
If you continue to sleep on these cats after seeing this, there's probably no hope for you. Madflex has had better performances despite a strong showing here, but this clash sees Ness Lee in prime form, rhyming words all over the damn place and effortlessly dipping in and out of extremely dense patterns.
It often feels sort of arbitrary to say battlers are meant to rap in certain environments, but the small room setting certainly seems to lend itself to these emcees' skill sets. Madflex has a wildly complex style and an ease of delivery that makes it sound even more impressive, which did wonders for him against the more direct E. Farrell in his last Bunker showing. Here, his grip on his material seems ever so slightly weaker and causes him to slip on a couple of lines, but he brought three quality rounds as always. What really overshadowed him was the versatility and precision of Ness' rounds.
Ness called out Fredo, B Magic, and Bender during this battle, and it's safe to say he deserves every one of those match-ups. His syllable game makes him a no-brainer for Fredo and Bender, but he's also done well in style clashes in the past. If Magic performs anything like he did vs. E Ness, him vs. Ness Lee is an easy Bunker classic.
Debatable Of The Night: The Saurus vs. Aye Verb
It's pretty cool that fans were so hyped to see two legends who have been in the scene for the better part of a decade go at it near the end of 2016, but again, expectations don't always yield great battles. Even with a high degree of mutual respect, this turned out to be pretty much the opposite of what we've learned to expect from these battlers: the usually consistent The Saurus slipped up terribly in Round 2, and the electrifying-if-less-reliable Aye Verb was consistent but did little to really stand out.
That said, this is a total tossup, and you have plenty to cling to if you have a strong preference on either side. Saurus' first and third are solid, particularly his bit riffing on Verb "riding up in a Mazda 6" in Round 3 ("Really? A Mazda 6? Were you getting your Honda fixed?"). His Round 2, however, starts with one hell of a choke where Saurus "just can't remember his first word," and he eventually pulls out his phone. That's an automatic round loss in many books, and even if you give him the other two rounds, you might not feel right giving him the W over Verb's more polished (if less exciting) performance.
Verb has a couple of Showtimes here, but they don't really set the building on fire like usual, and his energy remains fairly low throughout the battle. His second is probably his strongest round, which is unfortunate since he could have beaten Saurus with anything that round, but if you're a fan you'll still find plenty to like here.
Dre Vishiss Vanishes
As Megadef barreled through Round 1, moving around the pit and screaming in Dre Vishiss' face as he often does, Dre began to look more and more woozy. He hadn't rapped yet, and it was unclear if he wasn't feeling well or if he was just bored and exasperated with Mega's performance. When Mega finally finished his round, Dre indicated that he needed to step outside. There was definite confusion in the venue, and it turned out that he was just about to pass out and needed to sit down and get some fresh air. The exact details of what was wrong with him are unclear, but it can definitely get stuffy in The Bunker, and unfortunately, the other 5/6's of the battle did not go down. He'd recovered by the end of the event, but the battle never got finished.
Photos provided by Michael Marshall. Follow him on Instagram here.
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