With the dust finally beginning to settle around the shattered remains of Kilburn, it’s time to recap King of the Ronalds: The End of the Beginning. An event as rich in fun and great battles as it was packed with the kind of controversy you’ve come to expect from the world’s most disrespectful MC battle arena, it’s time to sit back and try to figure out where it all went so right.
Defenin vs 142
Kicking off the day we had decent showings from two newcomers. Despite some stumbles either side, there was definite improvement from both their respective last matches.
As a battler I’d say Defenin had improved more despite a slip of the tongue which led him to address his opponent as ‘mum.’ However, 142 has that perfect raw enthusiasm which led him to deliver lines like ‘I’ve been smoking weed for over a year!’ with a totally straight face. OVER a year, people. That’s 366 days bare minimum. The crowd went with 142 by a hair. It was that sort of deal.
JayBe vs Lightee the Boombox Genie
A battle rescheduled from an earlier event. For my money, both gave their best ever performances here, but the simple fact was that JayBe’s best was just so far elevated from Lightee’s best that it hardly seemed fair.
Where Lightee was playing with a storytelling style, JayBe was in there like a merciless terrier with punches. When Lightee seemed to be lightly touching on a lot of topics, JayBe hammered away at the best angles to make his man look foolish. An overwhelming crowd reaction gave the win to JayBe in one of the clearest wins I’ve seen this year so far.
Kray Shendo vs Bard
Originally billed as Reelapse vs myself, the former had to drop out due to stuff. In stepped founding member of Team Forum Nerd and all-round hero of the battle culture, Kray. I feel like we gave the people a good show for two days of prep and this reflected in the crowd demanding OT after three rounds. How often do you see that?
Now, I should be honest and admit that I was dressed up in LARP gear and giving what many might charitably describe as ‘a bizarre performance’ so as far as battling goes, I think Kray nicely got me in three. The overtime removed any possibility of an antics-over-bars situation, and the heroic march of Kray Shendo through the world of battle rap continues.
EMC vs Mac Sherry
With the undercard out of the way, it was time to get down to srs bsns. Both these battlers have been nurtured by KotR through the early stages of their careers, and today they paid that faith back with interest. Two breakout performances set the tone for the rest of the event.
Mac didn’t choke, EMC kept his shirt, and both went in on what is sure to be a debatable hood classic. Mac is turning into a really expressive writer, abandoning the heavy hand in favour of more keen observational stuff. Meanwhile, EMC gave a vicious performance full of fire and punches, classic disrespect, and it worked here. Here at KotR the crowd is judge, jury and executioner, and the battle went to Mac Sherry. There were some loud disagreeing voices though so I strongly advise you to watch this one and make up your own mind.
Bowski vs Soljitsu
Jitsu originally had two battles to prep for this weekend and it showed. He Math Hoffa’ed Bowski. No, not like that. He spat most of two rounds, with slight inconsistencies to the point where it took away from the material he did spit. We still got flashes of Jitsu brilliance but nobody’s going to pretend it was a great performance from him.
Bowski was classic Bowski and he tanked his way to the win with a solid workhorse performance up until his third round. His third round… well… it was pretty racist. Wait for the footage, watch it, and when you find it really funny you can realise what a terrible person you are.
Locksmyth vs Hulk
This was a really well-booked match and it turned out as good on the day as it looked on paper. If your roots in the battle culture reach back pre-Grist, this is one for you. Probably Smyth’s strongest showing so far, the relaxed atmosphere of KotR clearly agreeing with him as he delivered a measured punchline count that hinted strongly at his level of expertise on-beat.
Hulk, meanwhile, came with a heavyweight style more rooted in acapella battles and, ironically, this probably cost him the battle. Smyth was just throwing punches with such regularity that Hulk looked at times like he was lagging behind. This is one of those situations where a solid performance from one guy loses out to a strong step forward for the other. Can’t really get mad either way at a match like this.
Tony D vs Pedro
The Champ vs the Don. This is possibly the most entertaining match I’ve ever witnessed live, it was everything you imagined when you saw it announced. Both guys were clearly having a lot of fun up there and it reflected in a battle where Pedro’s aggression and Tony’s relaxed cadence formed a perfect Ying-Yang. Further comment would detract from the quality of this match.
Soul vs Cracker
This battle from two firm UK favourites ended up reshuffled to the penultimate spot on the card. Momentum was slow to build due to the highlight that was Tony/Pedro but Soul more or less single-handedly turned the heat back up, proving why he’s one of the UK’s most sought-after international exports.
That’s more or less what decided this match early on, while Cracker seems to need a crowd pre-warmed up and already attentive, Soul is good at demanding his due from them and reliably getting it. He’s quite simply the more complete package as a battler and when the circumstances get tough, he can turn things around into another head taken by the Highlander.
Cracker vs Bombshell
The most talked-about surprise battle of the weekend. Cracker devoted serious time in his battle against Soul to some pretty vicious material directed at the Queen of the Ronalds, which obviously must have meant he was challenging her to a freestyle battle. Because if you talk shit about someone in a battle with no intention of battling them, you’re just a bit weird, aren’t you?
Ok, an admission here. It was at this point, at exactly this point, that the drink+ started to take its toll on me and things start to get blurry. I’m fairly sure I remember it right but I might have gotten a few small details wrong. This is more or less exactly what I remember happening…
Cracker was having a bad day at the office, which can’t have been helped by the volatile crowd reaction which handed his battle to Soul. What he wasn’t ready for was the scintillating right hook he caught from Bombshell as she burst out of the crowd, a clean, scientific tigress strike which knocked him back a good two steps.
The blow, which landed with a sound like the hammer of Thor colliding with Big Ben, was too much for Cracker. Eyes reddened, nose runny, he began to openly weep like a broken child. He was smuggled out of the venue under a coat by Soul, whose face bore the haunted rictus of a man who has seen firsthand the careers of two fellow battlers ended amidst acts of brutal violence.
And that’s exactly what happened. More or less. Thanks for reading, I’ve been Bard.
All Hail Discordia.