KOTD's "World Domination 7: LA" went down this past Sunday, Oct 15th, 2017 and was possibly the most transcendent battle rap event since URL's "Summer Madness 2."
Que the hound hordes.
Summer Madness 2 will always be remembered as a historic event that showcased the best of the best battle rap talents in America. SM2 pitted the greatest emcees from varying generations of battle rap against one another in an event that personified skill and competition. WD7 did not have nearly the same amount of talent in terms of battle rap artistry as SM2, however, King of The Dot put on an absolute clinic on how to run a league and throw an event in the new era of battle rap monetization.
For KOTD, "WD7" started days before the actual event, when they introduced "KOTD Rewards" to their consumers, a system that rewarded loyal KOTD fans who choose to pay a monthly subscription fee with exclusive content and much more. It is a tried and true concept and a form of monetization that no other league in North America is utilizing. On top of that, the very event itself was thrown in Los Angeles, a major change from the normal two-day event that typically takes place in Toronto. With this change, the league can not only appease their two biggest markets, but take advantage of both of their largest markets with ticket sales and publicity. On top of all of this, KOTD decided to cash in on the brand equity of "World Domination" by bringing in one of the most viewed battle rappers in the world, someone who speaks English as his second language: Oxxxymiron.
Bringing in Oxxymiron was a calculated risk. Most KOTD fans had no idea who Oxxxymiron was, or how he would fare in his first ever English speaking battle. Despite these concerns, KOTD booked him because of his incredible fan base and the financial benefit he offered the company. Oxxxymiron brought in new ad partners, new consumers, and a new sense of intrigue to the battle culture, while also cementing KOTD's flagship event "World Domination" as a showcase of the most talented battlers across the world, not just America.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you should know that Oxxxymiron vs. Dizaster currently has about 6.3 billion views, and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Can most of that be attributed to Oxxxymiron's immense fan base? Absolutely, but without KOTD, most Americans would still have no idea of who he is.
KOTD took all the risks this week, and now they enjoy all the fruits of their labor. In a new era of battle rap, where money and monetization have become hot button issues, KOTD has put their right foot forward and set a business example that other leagues can follow.
Battle Of The Night: Ayeverb vs B Dot
There were plenty of BOTN contenders, and I'm sure most will wonder why I didn't choose a particularly popular battle for this category. To that I say: read on.
From the very onset of Aye Verb's first round you could just feel that something was different. Verb seemed hungry, motivated, and even more impressively, he seemed innovative. Verb executed a flow in his first round that he has never quite utilized before and it was pure fire. Often times, we expect vets to rap like how they used to, forgetting that we liked "how they used to rap" because it was innovative at the time. It was refreshing to see Verb in a new bag.
B Dot went second and delivered the type of round that immediately elicited the phrase "we have a battle!”. Dot took some questionable angles throughout the battle, the most prevalent being his angle attacking Verb for his lack of involvement with his community following Mike Brown's death. The angle was delivered well, yet just seemed to fall flat because of the way Verb chose to approach the battle. While Verb certainly had content and had moments where he poked at B Dot's style and persona, he mostly just rapped his ass off in an exhibition of penmanship that was clearly designed to remind fans of his highly regarded pen game.
With all of that said, the battle was amazingly close and probably comes down to how you score the second round, with Verb taking the first and B Dot taking the third with his powerful angles and impressive delivery. Personally, I might edge the battle to B Dot, mostly because I am a buff for content, however any verdicts saying Verb 2-1 are totally within reason and respectable.
SURPRISE OF THE NIGHT: Illmaculate
But Illmaculate is a legend, one of the best to ever do it, how could him winning come as a surprise ???!!!!
I'm not surprised Illmac won, I'm surprised that he looked better than he ever has and seems to genuinely be excited about battle rap once again. Remember, after he lost the chain to Rone,1 Illmac stepped away from battle rap and there was genuine concern that he might never return and be the same as he once was.
Well no need to wonder, Illmac put on a show all 3 rounds and picked up a win on Iron Solomon, who is still one of the hottest names in KOTD. Solomon was not bad by any measure, but he wasn't as great as he could have been and Illmac took advantage with a virtuoso performance.
STYLES MAKES FIGHTS:
Yes, boys and girls, the old adage remains true and was once again proven by Pass' VERY impressive performance against one of the hottest commodities in battle rap: Bigg K.
Bigg K was not quite as explosive as he typically is, but he certainly wasn't bad. Back to back punches plus his patented flow was enough to make the battle debatable, but the narrative was all about Pass. While widely regarded as a true legend in the game, Pass has been on a bit of a losing streak in recent performances and many wondered, including myself, if he still has it.
Pass still has it - and his solid angles, flow, and de-emphasis on multis allowed for a great performance that debatably got him the W.
Battle Of The Year: Dizaster vs Oxxxymiron
There are undoubtedly plenty of battles to drop this year that have more word play, more punchlines, more performance, and more lyricism, however, you will find NO battle in 2017 that has a greater impact on battle rap as a whole.
The impact of this battle isn't just about the numbers, which are staggering. This about this battle being a reminder of a simpler, less word-play heavy style of battle rap that is universal and can be understood by anyone.
If you love battle rap, and you want to see your favorite battlers and leagues prosper, then it’s battles like this one that will go a long way toward that. Dizaster vs. Oxxxymiron is the type of battle you can show someone who has never seen a battle, that can make them think "I get it."
Dizaster vs Oxxxmiron is battle rap because battle rap is unity.
In terms of a winner, I actually think that over time Dizaster's shorter and more succint rounds will age flawlessly, while Oxxxy's rounds lose a little every time I watch them. With that said, I'm okay with the popular opinion of Oxxxy 2-1, but Dizaster did great and I look forward to his incoming show down with Tay Roc.
Thoughts and opinions? Go ahead and rip me a new one below!
*All photos via Michael Marshall.*