When Dizaster announced last August that he would be battling industry rapper Cassidy, there was a quick bump of excitement, some definite sneers, and then the overpowering question: Why Diz? Fans had always wanted to see Cassidy return to the ring, but the frontrunners for his potential opponent were Conceited and Arsonal.
The conversation then shifted, becoming more about the platform, the players, and the payouts around “Ether,” and not about the headline battle itself. What exactly is FilmOn? Is Fresh Coast leaving KOTD? Is Dizaster still banned for punching Math Hoffa?
Now, on the day of the event, the match-up is all anyone is talking about. It’s almost eclipsed the rest of one of the most interesting cards of the year (more of which you can read about here).
There are too many unknown factors to make an easy prediction. Cassidy has been out of the battle game for more than a decade and Dizaster is one of the most erratic people to ever take the stage.
Since the announcement, Cassidy has been playing his cards close to his chest. He refused to spit bars at the press conference and turned down a spontaneous stage battle against Goodz at URL’s “Summer Madness 4.” All we really have to go on is a fabled battle career from the undocumented days of the scene, a couple long-faded radio hits and some quickly released diss tracks. For many, that's enough to certify Cass as a beast. They say he was a pioneer of the punchline style that many battlers still use today.
In the lead-up to the battle, Cassidy has proved himself to be very good at talking shit. Surprisingly, he eclipsed Diz’s stage presence at the press conference without even being physically on the stage (he was beamed in as a “hologram” in a display of FilmOn owner Alki David’s technological wizardry). He spoke of his own legacy in battle rap with such confidence that most fans were calling the first public meeting between Diz and Cass a “3-0” for the latter.
Cass’ long hiatus from battling could mean he’s rusty. It could also mean he’s been holding pocket aces for 10 years waiting for the pot to get big enough before he antes up. He’s said repeatedly he’s only battling Diz “for the chicken” (which is a funny way of pronouncing “culture” but I digress…).
Will Cass be able to adapt to the modern era? He’s made it clear that he’s been studying the current trends in battle rap, which might not actually help since the current style of wordplay and back-to-back punches is very easy to do poorly.
That might not matter to new fans tuning in for the first time because they heard about the hype, but the battle rap hive mind will pick apart every syllable that he spits, looking for played-out similes and debating the reachiness of his wordplay.
If, however, he takes more of a storytelling approach, he could do very well. There are plenty of angles to take on Dizaster’s behavior over the last few years, and even more since the Math Hoffa saga last summer.
For every actual Cassidy supporter, there’s probably about a dozen Dizaster detractors. Diz is one of the most polarizing figures in the scene and draws passionate reactions from both sides of the spectrum. Those who love him admire his intensity and devotion to the sport. Those who hate him revile his drawn-out, multi-syllabic ramblings, his inconsistency and his “street” persona, which they see as fake.
But everyone knows what Dizaster is capable of at his full potential. He is one of the biggest battle rap stars on the planet. His performance against Canibus remains one of the biggest bodybags of all time. And anyone who has seen him perform in person knows: There’s nothing quite like a Dizaster battle.
But there are two sides to every coin. He is unstable and can be easily distracted. He lost his KOTD title match against Pat Stay earlier this year by getting repeatedly thrown off by audience members. He kept having to rely on freestyles that were weak compared to his written material. He also veered from his intended target against both Swave Sevah and DNA, verbally attacking a heckler in the crowd each time.
Diz says he’s prepared and that this content is the best he’s ever written. But who knows? We could get half a round of scripted brilliance from him, then a bug might fly past and he’ll spend the rest of the battle freestyling about that and the ceiling patterns at Belasco Theater and what he had for lunch. There’s really no telling what we’ll get until he’s up there rapping.
Which is the same with Cassidy. He could be incredible or he could flop. But there’s a very good chance that we’ll know exactly which way it’s going 30 seconds into his round.
There have also been rumors that Cassidy might bring Math Hoffa to the venue to stand in his corner. Math has been hinting lately that he'll be there and that he intends to settle things with Diz. If that happens, make sure to get out of the way.
Want more? Check out all of our "Ether" coverage here.
Who do you have winning? Let us know in the comments below.