King of the Ronalds

KOTR Presents: Rise Of The Footsoldier event review

Disrespect came to Acton last Saturday, with King of the Ronalds bringing four and a half big slices of battle rap to the people. Battle rap just like your nan used to make before she went to live in Basingstoke. I’m Bard, I’m here to let you know what went down and no, your nan didn’t go to live in Basingstoke. She’s dead.

Murta vs Soliloquy

A solid opener which I didn’t arrive quite in time to catch. Piecing together what I can, it sounds like Murta had the jokes and the crowd, while Soliloquy (formerly Klandestine if you’re keeping track) had a more developed but ultimately less focused pen.

Apparently this match was so good that Hulk’s face froze into some kind of befuddled rictus of amazement. Murta won, continuing a killing spree which began over a year ago with yours truly.

JtC vs Defenin

A strong battle from two returning rookies. Defenin had really stepped his game up from the last time I saw him, displaying a self-awareness which escapes a lot of seasoned rappers and makes him difficult to attack. He front-loaded all of this with a crazy first round that defied all expectations.

Meanwhile, JtC quite simply gave the performance of his career so far. Having tinkered for a few battles with a sort of deadpan delivery which can up the momentum when it needs to, Jack nailed it here.

As always, the technical writing behind his high punchline count was strong and this was what carried him to a win. He simply ended up saying more than Defenin, despite the latter’s vast improvement.

142 vs Reelapse

Replacing the billed Seany B we had Reelapse, who continues clocking up air miles despite never quite finding the time to write bars. It works. He freestyled three full rounds which, while not quite as hilarious as his efforts vs Capo, still commanded attention.

To the inexpert ear it might sound like Reelapse is trying to step up as the heir to Pedro, but there’s a more grounded storytelling element to his style which subtly sets him apart from Pedro’s surreal onslaught. Regardless, the day must soon come where the two prolific freestylers face off on some master vs student shit.

142, meanwhile, greatly impressed me. His battle vs Defenin was shaky but he’s clearly taken criticism on board, focused on what works for him and grown in confidence. If we see this level of improvement in every battle he’s going to be a problem in no time at all.

The match went to 142. Ironically, it was overtime which clinched it for him. Considering that when OT was announced he was adamant that he couldn’t freestyle, it must come as a boost to him that it was so well recieved. Good battle all round.

…Then a complete fuckery happened…

Bombshell vs Mac Sherry

The storied career of Mac Sherry took another controversial twist in a battle which never really got off the ground. Bombshell, it has to be said, was probably winning with some of the best material she’s ever produced.

Her dense writing style had been packed with little surreal flourishes and wise nods to the niche she’s carved for herself in battling. I still want to see her strip things back and go more punchline-heavy, but that’s up to her. What she came with today was probably enough to beat Mac. Probably.

Unfortunately, Micky didn’t feel like letting us find out. While the rules of KOTR are clear: You choke, you get cut off, our illustrious host was more than a little zealous in enforcing the rules when it came to even the slightest pause from Mac.

With the threat of outside interference ever-present, Mac stumbling became a self-fulfilling prophecy and he decided enough was enough. He made it clear that Mr Worthless could shove his battle up his arse, flipped a table and left.

Once again, Micky Worthless finds himself at the centre of battle rap controversy. To my mind, only a grudge match between him and battling’s Naruto, Mac Sherry, can truly settle things. Where else might this happen but on the most disrespectful stage in the MC battle culture? Stay tuned.

Hulk vs Joker Starr

The definition of a heavyweight clash between two veteran rapper’s rappers rounded off the evening. Hulk spent his rounds weaving strong punchlines into longer sequences and schemes, playing with momentum in an effort to out-rap the macknificent one. Unfortunately, a choke in his second round broke this momentum, although he did recover and spit all his material as part of an extended third.

It was this one factor which seemed to swing the crowd in what was a critcally close battle. Joker’s crowd control is second to none, and his measured delivery throwing out punch after punch allowed him to simply style on Hulk in the third round. A straight-up slugging match worthy of the headline slot, and a battle I personally can’t wait to watch back.

And with that, the evening drew to a close and we left the village hall-like confines of the West Couture Club for some half price chicken down the road. I’m not gonna lie, it was some top-notch chicken.

KOTR: Rise of the Footsoldier posed as many questions as it answered. What’s next for the rookies? Was Micky’s heel turn planned all along or dreamed up in the heat of a chemical moment? Can Joker Starr keep this momentum going as he moves to face Oshea in Hull? Where, where oh fucking where is Conker B?

All these stories shall be told, next time on the most respected, least respectful stage in battle rap: King of the Ronalds.

#YCCD

All hail Discordia.

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