Illmaculate vs. Rone: What To Expect

We dig deep into the upcoming title match at KOTD's "Blackout 6."

Illmaculate vs. Rone for the KOTD title: it’s going down, just like we knew it would. Both Rone and Illmac have been killing it for years, but there are reasons it was so clear that Rone was next in line for the title shot.

For one thing, he’s an emcee who has put on good to great showings every time he hits the KOTD platform, with a couple of his performances catching big views on viral sites. After a long string of being the "unluckiest battle rapper in the world" he's shown what he can do when his momentum doesn't get stunted by no-showing opponents. In the last year or so, we've seen Rone come close to fulfilling his true potential, arguably beating (among others) Kid Twist, Goodz, Marv Won, The Saurus and Big T, all on KOTD, with a notable performance every time.

Photo by Chris Mitchell for

Aside from all that, it’s fairly obvious that Rone’s personality (of which he has an ample supply) and marketability are a good look for KOTD. Whether he’s roasting people at a press conference, representing KOTD in match-ups at Canadian hip-hop festivals, interviewing battlers, or actually battling, he has an infectious, irreverent energy that makes him damn fun to watch. He is, in reality, in stark contrast with Illmac, who is a more subdued, calculated character. So when these seemingly contradictory approaches clash, who wins?

The short answer is that Rone and Illmac will push each other in ways they’ve never been pushed before. Simply put, Rone has a wealth of material at his disposal that could make him look a lot cooler than Illmac. He’ll undoubtedly break down why he is and will always be entertaining in a way that Illmac cannot mimic, roasting him for his size and excessive seriousness in a performance that probably includes more explosive moments than his opponent’s. He’ll need to do this absolutely flawlessly though, because Illmac is known for the precision and transcendence of his angles.

Photo by @NBDYNWHR.

Although the ground Illmac aims to cover might not be cloaked in mystery pre-battle (we essentially forecasted his Round 2 versus Pat Stay, for example), he still delivers it more forcefully than most others could. Against Pat, it was as if he’d laid out every character flaw on a giant bulletin board and pieced them together with the skill of a savant. It felt lethal and all-encompassing, and he may very well trap Rone in the same way. Rone’s going-viral approach could appear shallow and inconsequential if attacked correctly, and it’s not hard to imagine Illmac forging an “I’m the king; you’re the jester” narrative.

Here’s a battle that seems like it could have happened years ago, but this is truly the time for it. So many of Illmac and Rone’s respective strengths represent chinks in the other’s armor, which makes it extremely tough to pick a winner.

That said, Illmac will take this 2-1. I have no doubt that Rone will make him bleed, definitely take a round, and probably get more overall reaction to his material, but I still don’t think it will be enough. Rone has had a lively year, but that’s just fuel for the fire, and Illmac’s smooth approach will leave no room for stumbles.

Predictions? Let us know in the comments below.