Impact Of KOTD On Battle Rap In Desi Hip-Hop

KOTD or King Of The Dot Entertainment is a Canada-based rap battle league. In fact, KOTD was started by Canada-based battle rapper Organik back in 2008. KOTD is one of the most popular rap battle leagues in the world and their motto suggests “Put Your Money Where Yo Mouth Iz”. MC Hammer, Drake, The Alchemist, Method Man and several others have hosted these leagues in all of these years.

Renowned battle rappers like Daylyt, Dizaster, Madchild, Canibus, Pat Stay and others have gained popularity with KOTD battles. However, if you’re still sleeping on KOTD, you should definitely check them out.

Drake-OrganikImage: Drake and Organik at KOTD’s Blackout

How King Of The Dot Entertainment Has Influenced Battle Rap Culture Worldwide?

Its usually said that battle rappers can’t spit on a beat or a given tempo just because of their nature of spitting without a beat. Furthermore, if a battle rapper can’t be a good recording artist, how can they earn their bread? Rap battles are not new to the culture but the commercialization of battles through KOTD has definitely inspired the artists globally. Battle rappers in KOTD are reportedly earning somewhere between $2000-$25,000 per battle. Obviously, it depends on the artist and the event.

By the way, which desi rap battle league is organizing and delivering the finest rap battles in your opinion?

Battle rap culture is an act of smartness. In fact, its a combination of lyricism, presentation and delivery. KOTD rappers are dynamic but their signature styles subliminally inspires their followers. In my conversation with Delhi-based battle rapper and Spit Dope Inc’s co-founder MC Kode, I asked him about his influences from KOTD. He suggested, “KOTD was the go to when I started off. Daylyt has a heavy stage presence and has tight packed punches and clearly is clever and creative with his delivery. Dizaster, on the other hand, is like the rogue assassin who kills fast and hard. Both of these have influenced my style a lot.”

The Question Arises, What Is The Impact Of KOTD On Desi Hip Hop Culture?

To know the perspective of battle rappers, I reached out to many of them. Mumbai-based battle rap artist – Shaikhspeare was the first one in my list. I asked him about his opinion on the significance of KOTD and its impact on desi hip-hop music. He suggested:

13726687_1038769969509939_8414300316418737936_nImage: Shaikhspeare

KOTD is the prominent inspiration behind the formation of several desi rap battle leagues throughout the globe. I’m talking about B3, Spit Dope and They-see Battle League. KOTD have also set some pretty high standards for battle rap. Battlers such as Dizaster, Big K, DNA, Conceited etc. bringing in extraordinary content on it. I personally have learnt a lot from KOTD battles and lot of other Desi rap battlers have improved their lyricism and other aspects of battle rap by watching them. It is not wrong to say that KOTD has left a huge impact on the Desi hip-hop genre and it continues to do the same.”

They-See Battle League is one of the first battle rap platforms for desi rappers representing the sub-continent. It started off in the January of 2014 and was founded by Xpolymer Dar and Aboo Dean. TSBL is currently working in Pakistan but plans to do it for other desi countries as well. The major aim and focus of promoting the battle rap culture is to bring the raw and fresh talent in front with the leading hip hop artists and bring together the Desi Hip Hop community so the competition grows and the quality of hip-hop not only prevails but also improves.

13244845_1040488072692332_1289401672327936789_nImage: Xpolymer Dar

TSBL-head Xpolymer Dar recalls his decision of founding TSBL.“KOTD and Grindtime has had major impact on battle rap in South East-Asia. What specifically got me an avid battle rap fan were battles like Thesaurus vs Maclethal, Dizaster vs DNA, Bigg K vs Illmaculate. KOTD has shown love to battle rap scene here in general and acknowledged They-See Battle League as one of the most influential movements here.” 

However, he is not happy with the current state and behaviour of desi rappers.

I think hip hop has a real chance of generating revenue but not just right now. Its not about commercial hip hop. I am referring to that street, grimy, soulful, from the heart hip hop. Reason why I say this is because the masses don’t take rap seriously yet. In their perception a rapper is either a wannabe playboy or an immature nerd struggling. There is no middle ground. I believe these perceptions are changing and will eventually change. The current wave of rappers will mature further with time. Their content will become more focused and mature and the delivery will be easily digestible then as compared to now. Its the rappers who have to shape their audiences and make them grow along with them“, Xpolymer Dar says.

18740100_1452505584792954_2268487729403966734_nImage: Poetik Justis

Mumbai-based rapper and battler Poetik Justis who co-founded the city’s leading battle league B3 India holds a similar opinion. “I think KOTD has single-handedly revamped the battle rap culture by connecting battle rappers from around the world. If there was no KOTD, there would’ve been no Battle Bars Bombay. B3 aims to provide quality battles and promote Battle Rap culture in a similar manner as KOTD”, Poetik says.

We can’t neglect Femcees in this piece.

Pune-based female battle rapper Ipsy suggests that there should be more Femcees in the battle rap. “Rap battle is a dominant part of hip-hop culture. I realised it when I stepped into the arena. We need to see more femcees rapping and battling but besides this, I hope to battle more opponents now. Thanks to Spit Dope Inc.”