The post-event trailer for KOTD's "Massacre" opens with the all-caps text: "BEST KOTD EVENT EVER." It then lays out highlights from the three best battles of the day, and, arguably, three of the best battles of the year.
KOTD's event in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 15 certainly had a lot going for it. The sold-out crowd was responsive throughout, and the battles chugged along at a good pace (partly because only seven of the nine scheduled went down, with Math Hoffa and Dirt canceling).
Here are our picks for the standout moments.
Performance of the Night: Money Bagz
In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that Money Bagz was hungry enough to beat Pass. He has been killing shit for the better part of a decade, while Pass has become accustomed to facing much bigger names. Everyone expected it to be a great back-and-forth, but only a select few predicted Bagz to actually win, and it was damn near a body in the building.
The way Pass started off makes his loss that much more surprising. His Round 1 was packed with his usual caliber of slick, well-delivered material and a few memorable lines (e.g. “Money don’t grow on trees, but he wanna be black so bad let’s let him hang from one!”), but it was clear from Bagz’ first bars that his energy was in a different place. He seemed to shock even himself with how much momentum he retained throughout, with haymaker after electrifying haymaker.
Although he was far from weak in any of them, it’s hard to give Pass a round here. If you do — and there’s some debate to be had in Rounds 1 and 3— it would have to be because Bagz’ style just doesn’t sit with you or one of Pass’ one-liners really hits home. Regardless, this was a phenomenal look for Bagz, and fans are already clamoring to see him face another big name on KOTD.
Battles of the Night
Bigg K vs. Head I.C.E
Three battles all have a very reasonable claim to being battle of the night, and the first of our picks for that honor goes to Bigg K vs. Head I.C.E. While Magic and Solomon took a battle that looked weird on paper and made it an incredible battle, K and I.C.E was a match-up that seemed more logical, and it turned out to be a great piece of match-making.
The battle was everything that fans hoped it would be, and even though there were a few moments where it dragged a bit, the high points more than made up for any low ones.
I.C.E took an approach that highlighted his ability to paint vivid pictures of violence, delivering content that ranged from hilarious ("Gun poking out the shirt like a nipple on T Rex sweater") to chilling ("Shit could turn Los Globos any minute") while maintaining his cool disposition for both.
Bigg K had another monster performance — the norm for him these days. His first round was filled with massive punches and stood out as being the best of the battle and arguably of the event. His second was similar, and his third was an effective sendup of I.C.E's personality and content.
Great, great battle.
Iron Solomon vs. B Magic
Many doubted Magic ahead of this battle. After seeing his streak of relatively lackluster performances, many (FOOLISHLY) assumed that he would be off his game and get thoroughly outclassed by Solomon’s versatility, despite having some amazing punches. That was stupid, and it should have been obvious that Magic would make sure to be on point when facing a legend like Solomon.
In a sense, this is a preference battle. There’s really no denying the richness of Solomon’s approach—it’s safe to say no one else has structured such hard-hitting personal angles against Magic—but how can you not love Magic’s non-stop punches? The moment that really summed up his refreshing performance was:
“Your whole team see hawks, I’m Richard Sherman with the shells…”
“… And go dummy behind bars like Ernest Goes to Jail!”
The “Iron” flips are there and just as good as you’d expect them to be, and you won’t be disappointed with Magic in this battle.
Solomon’s name is buzzing as one of the dudes to see on KOTD right now, and for good reason. He’s been nearly flawless in his last three battles and improved on each performance, with this being his most lethal since E. Ness. Thankfully, he didn’t try to out-punch Magic and stuck to what he does best: a little bit of everything. And don’t worry, there’s really no “cum-Pete”-caliber wordplay here.
Hollow Da Don vs. Pat Stay
This was a huge match-up in terms of its importance to the legacy of each emcee and to KOTD itself. We've spilled a ton of ink on it already (and it's already out), so go check out our full review and some reaction from fans and battlers for more.
Throughout his career, Gjonaj has become known for heavy use of religious references, and in the battle with Danny Myers, he may have taken the Bar God’s name in vain one too many times.
In the midst of one of his religious schemes, the lights in the building went out — in a moment of divine intervention that couldn’t have been scripted any better.
Unfortunately, the technical problems didn’t end there. Danny's third round was plagued by mic issues, and the lav batteries needing replacement later in the night just before Pat started his first round kept things from going as well as they could have.
Zero Math x 2
Math Hoffa no-showed for the second time against The Saurus, saying that he was unable to make it to Boston from New York because of issues with his ride. The Saurus addressed the crowd (with a voice almost totally spent from cheering on the Red Sox the day before) and expressed some doubt about Math's story.
The worst kind of battle is a mediocre one — battles that are absolute trainwrecks typically have some entertainment value.
Bangz’s KOTD debut was so spectacularly poorly received by the live crowd and pay-per-view viewers that the conversation turned into a competition of who could trash him the worst.
DNA SAID "AYO" AND WON THE WHOLE BATTLE— RESPECTTHESHOOTER (@ThisIsTwiZz) May 16, 2016
You different cause you don't belong on the card 😂😂😂— ©️ (@JustCaustic) May 16, 2016
The Connecticut emcee’s engine-revving delivery and out-there wordplay is already an acquired taste, but it didn’t help that he turned the crowd against him early, shouting “suck my dick” to hecklers several times.
It was certainly a memorable performance, although mostly as one of the worst main stage showings on KOTD in recent history, prompting rare boos from fans, heavy SMH-ing backstage and calls for it to be vaulted (in what would be a first for KOTD).
DNA, always the consummate professional, did his job and cruised to a clean win.
To see a much better version of Bangz, check him out against QP, which went down a week before this DNA battle.
East Meets West
URL rep Norbes made it to his first KOTD event, bringing his trademark acerbic wit with him for a few cameos on the pay-per-view. Meeting Avocado for the first time after years working in the scene on opposite coasts, he said, "Oh shit I didn't realize you were that diesel."
Check out some more of our favorite photos from the event, taken by Christian Andrabado (@NBDYNWHR) for BattleRap.com, and Chris Daniele for KOTD.
What were your standout moments? Let us know in the comments below.