Here’s another cool article written by our official field correspondent R.J. Check out his thoughts on the battle below.
I wanted to write this now, not when the footage for this battle drops. Because I want my opinion on this to be clear when it comes out, right when it comes out, because there are going to be unclear things surrounding it when it does. Because since this battle happened there have already been discussions surrounding the consequences of it’s outcome, and that’s an outcome only known to some 400 odd people. And because one of the key elements to that discussion has been that this battle was real close, almost debatable and that the footage might cause some controversy when it drops. That’s the first thing that needs to be mentioned about the Hollohan vs. The Saurus KOTD Title Match, the first thing I need to make clear, before I even watch it back.
This battle wasn’t that close. At least, not as close as myself and others may have made it out to be.
Two confessions: I had been standing around watching battles for hours and I was a little fucking tired. And I might have been a few beers deep. But I distinctly remember a few things about this battle. I distinctly remember Hollohan trying to start a few of his rounds with a clearly freestyled rebuttal that didn’t go over well. He stretched out his set ups too far. I distinctly remember he had a long pause in his first round, and his delivery didn’t quite get back on until midway through that round. And I distinctly remember The Saurus having a fucking demonic performance. He had a rebuttal that worked and went right back to his material without missing a beat. He didn’t falter at all AND his bars were disgusting. This wasn’t a bodybag, and the footage will show that. Hollohan had some really, really good shit, definitely some of his best concepts and technical lines to date. But he got outperformed. It was decisive. And that was the decision the judges came to, as far as I can remember, unanimously. What wasn’t decided, and what has yet to be decided, is the full effect of that outcome … because as far as I’m aware, it means The Saurus is the KOTD Champion.
Eyerate, a message board poster/informant mysteriously associated with Grind Time’s Midwest Division, became aware that Hollohan had put his title on the line right before the battle began, and had this to say about it the day after the event, near the end of a long thread of expressing similar opinions:
i can understand how its a touchy subject for you, and i havent ruined shit(and its impossible, because i dont know the outcome).. you have 3 possible outcomes from the accounts posted so far (its going to be debated, internet will be split, etc).. 1) hollohan wins. 2) saurus wins and is new king of the dot. 3) saurus wins and is not new champ, because you dont allow it to go down like that.
my personal opinion is hollohan called this a title match as a ploy for extra leverage. he went into this thinking 3 things.. first, the canadian crowd would get behind him and cheer him on.. second, the canadian judges wouldnt want to give the title to an american.. and third, that if he did lose you would just say it wasnt official and he would retain his title, no sweat off his back.
if hollohan won… it’ll be business as usual. people will argue it to death and in the end none of this matters. this is the least desirable outcome for drama factor.
if saurus won, and you say “nah nah it wasnt a title match.” it would make me 100% right and i can tell all these faggots to suck my dick. this outcome would be good, but drama factor would be minimal.
if this video drops, and saurus beats hollohan and you crown him king of the dot…. well… and now that i think about it, this is probably the most desirable outcome i can imagine for crying and drama.
although i now realize that there is a possible 4th outcome, and a 4th safety net for hollohan.. saurus doesnt want to be king of the dot… so he could technically win and say “no thanks”. this outcome is equally awesome for crybabies, and will result in many punchlines.
anyone saying hollohan had something to lose by “making this a title match” isnt thinking this through.
needless to say, im looking forward to this footage. and theres no hard feelings with organik, like i said im not trying to put him in a sketchy position, just debating the options and feeding the hype machine.
Although it’s a little strange someone would offer such a detailed and opinionated analysis of something they “don’t know the outcome” to, Eyerate actually came up with a very succinct summary of the things that could have happened after Hollohan put his title on the line. The fact that the least likely outcome in his eyes, the one that makes him 100% wrong in his three assumptions, is the best one for him confuses me a bit. But let me break down what actually happened under the same options he identifies.
The first option would be Hollohan winning, in Eyerate’s eyes because of a cheap tactic in putting the title up, swaying the crowd and judges. This was what he assumed happened, based on what I’ll admit is a bit of a history of biased crowds and poor judging in KOTD battles. But this event, the judges were on point, every decision. The crowd was active but didn’t disrupt the MCs performances like you see in other environments. And for the most part, they reacted to dope shit and held themselves on wack shit. Clearly, the judges for this battle had the knowledge and integrity to make the right decision.
The second option would be The Saurus winning, but Organik not allowing the title to change hands. As far as I can tell, this didn’t happen. Saurus had the chain around his neck when I left the venue. If something got worked out behind closed doors I’m unaware of it. But Hollohan put the title up before the match, and Organik didn’t stop him. He had the balls to put the title on the line against a battle rap legend. If there was anything else behind that decision, any motivation directed to swaying the judges or crowd, it didn’t work. He got beat, and Organik allowed his decision to put the title on the line to go through, because that’s the champion’s decision to make.
So what does the third option actually mean? For Hollohan, it means he lost a huge battle, and is no longer the champ, which clearly hurts. He no longer has to face the winner of the Grand Prix, but he might anyways, because in my estimation, three people still alive in that bracket prior to the quarterfinals (Loe Pesci, poRICH and knamelis) are the only real Canadian competition he has yet to go up against. Or he might take a battle with a top tier American rapper who comes up north. Either way, he just had a great performance against The Saurus, so you can expect another high profile battle featuring him soon. For the winner of the Grand Prix, it could mean a trip to the States for a match with The Saurus, which would be a great look for that particular MC. Or it could mean another trip for The Saurus up north for a second title match, which would be a great look for KOTD. Or it could mean Saurus just puts the title up for grabs to the winner of the Grand Prix, which would be the least desirable option, but would still leave the league with a champion in two months. Either way, I don’t see the promised title shot at the end of the tournament being compromised in any way; the winner will either get a shot or be crowned the champ.
To me, from a fans perspective, this starts with Hollohan going bar for bar with a major opponent in Toronto. It’s not often we get to watch as high profile a battle as this in person. It’s a little bit of gravity to realize how far the scene has come in such a short time. The champ made the right move in putting up his title, the judges made the right move in giving the W to the better battler, the president made the right decision by allowing the title to change hands. Did I want Hollohan to win this battle? Absolutely. It would have been the best look for the scene if he came out and fucked up an opponent like The Saurus. It definitely would have gotten another top tier opponent to Toronto to battle him, no questions asked. And I love my country. While I don’t love Hollohan as an MC as much as others, I would’ve loved to see a Canadian rapper get a win over a top tier American rapper, because as The Saurus pointed out in the battle, history hasn’t shown that to be an oft-occurring event.
But as fan you can only ask for the organization to do the right thing in a situation like this – what the MCs do is up to them. Hollohan didn’t win the battle, but the league handled the situation correctly. In it’s current form, battle rap is a promotional tool. Each league is a platform for talented MCs to showcase their abilities and earn a fanbase for their music. When KOTD puts on an event like this, it increases their stature as a platform, encourages more talent on Saurus’ level to want to come to Toronto because of the quality promotion they’ll get out of it. People like Eyerate will shit on the Canadian battle rap scene because our champion got beat by an American. I’m alright with that. I’ll admit, it’s pretty funny. Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way, but the fact that we had a champion The Saurus flew up here to battle means more to me than the outcome. Besides we won the fucking hockey game. This would’ve been a consolation prize.
I’m happy with sitting back and watching how this plays out from here. It’s more entertainment. Another storyline to follow. More top quality American cats coming to Toronto, more top quality Canadian cats going stateside. Expansion for the whole scene in general … if you build it, right?
An American is the champion of the biggest Canadian battle rap league, and I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be a battle rap fan in Canada.
Ain’t that some shit.