Old Bard aint even gon’ waste your time with no fancy intro. KOTR: Bear Back was yet another storming event, brought to you by the world’s most controversial battle promotion. Let’s relive it, you and I…
Omar vs Ackers
Kicking off the day was a short-notice clash, with Ackers stepping in at short notice to replace the absent J Artist. Six days isn’t an incredible amount of time to prep a battle and he did his thing, but even he admitted after the battle that it wasn’t his best work. Some days you’re the wolf and some days you’re the lamb that feeds it.
Omar was the wolf. I knew he was a Dizaster clone from his battle with Bear Solutions but, in the flesh, the likeness is uncanny right down to the heavy breathing thing. But ya know what? I’m a huge Diz fan so this was a treat to watch.
Well-structured rounds, comfortable freestyles and buckets of presence made this an easy win for Omar in only his second KOTR battle. Plenty of time to improve on an already polished style and really start taking some heads. The dude is one to watch.
Murta vs Defenin
I had the pleasure of hosting this battle, in which Defenin continued to establish himself as a key player in the KOTR stable of battlers. He’s consistently entertaining and, more importantly, consistently improving at a steady rate.
He’s cracked how to formulate and deliver a strong punchline, all that remains now is to develop that practiced eye for an opponent’s weakness that sets great battlers apart from the herd. There were flashes of that talent here, proving he’s capable of taking that next step up and making this the second clear result of the day.
Murta, meanwhile, wasn’t on his game and choked in all three rounds. He’s entertaining to watch in a way that most battlers lack the self-awareness to execute properly, with moments that’ll elicit a suitably Tim Vine kind of response, but he just didn’t have his material locked in. Weed is a hell of a drug.
Reelapse vs Oii Oii
In a card packed with variety, containing something for everyone, this was the battle rapper’s rap battle, and a strong match of styles. Reelapse had yet to really test himself against the kind of raw, aggressive style that Oii Oii pulls off so well. Meanwhile, the newcomer from Newcastle was clearly hungry for a big battle after proving his worth in other leagues. He got it.
Reelapse proved here that he’s more than a one-trick pony, able to fearlessly confront an opponent who’s giving as good as he gets, without abandoning the forceful delivery that’s won him fans. Oii Oii, however, took a narrow win with material that was savage and disrespectful, but at the same time well constructed. Definitely someone you want to be seeing on KOTR again in the near future.
142 vs Big Daddy Bleach
142 returned to KOTR with a flawless performance, improving even on his breakout battle against Reelapse. He just keeps getting better, to the point where the awkward kid who proudly declared that he’d been smoking weed for OVER a year bears no resemblance to the confident performer who’s now turning up again and again to smash increasingly high-profile battles. 142 has earned a battle with an established name based on his performance here, and if all you care about are bars and delivery then he clearly won the battle.
Big Daddy Bleach has had an interesting early battle career to say the least, with his debut against no less a prestigious name than Enigma. He could have used this platform to showcase the talent and artistry that drives him, but no. He gave a bizarre, rambling performance including a full-round tirade against Eurgh, then topped the whole thing off by taking two giant bites out of a real heart, live on stage. It. Was. Awesome!
I caught up with BDB right after the event to ask him about the thought process behind his rounds. “You know what that was?” he replied, “when I’m performing, you know what it’s about? It’s about me!”
I’m not quite sure how you get from there to ‘eating internal organs is a good idea’ but it’s that lust for the limelight that won him his cultural victory here and set the battle rap media ablaze, so the dude is doing something right. The only question is, how does he top this?
Bowski vs Lefty
That was a hard act to follow, so thankfully we had two veteran jokesters stepping up to show the young bucks how it’s done. Bowski was on classic form here with two rounds of hilarious, madcap content. Dude makes it look easy, but there’s a streamlined method to the Bowskdogg’s rounds that comes from patiently honing his craft over years.
It was those same years of experience which gave rise to his third round, a hail of abuse directed at the UK battle scene’s iron-fisted Nero, Rowan Faife. Big Daddy Bleach’s material on Eurgh came across a little naive at times, understanding that there was some bullshit going on somewhere in battling but unable to quite articulate it. By contrast, Bowski’s was that of a disgruntled veteran who knew just what he was talking about.
However, if you’re going to drop a whole round on that sort of thing then you’d better be damn sure you win the other two. Against the charismatic Lefty, Bowski just couldn’t be sure of that cushion and it cost him. Lefty won on three fronts, by being a better rapper, by being more direct and, maybe, being a little cleverer in the kind of angles he was taking. Overall, this was probably my favourite battle of the event.
Two Cans of Sherry vs The Incredible Dawg
With no-shows from Mac Sherry’s and Two Can’s opponents, the culture demanded a freestyle two-on-two battle to round off the event. Up stepped KOTR’s grizzled general, Hulk, and a still-fresh Bowski to prove why they’re the bosses of this shit.
This was everything you’d expect from a fun, relaxed freestyle clash and I personally can’t wait for it to drop. Surprisingly, it was probably Mac Sherry who came out of it looking the best. Mac proved that he can hang in this format, earning stripes that the other three battlers had long since held. However it was experience and outright swagger that won the battle, with The Incredible Dawg picking up that dub’ya.
Bear Back proved that while others may claim to have their fingers on the pulse of the battle culture, only King of the Ronalds promises you an environment where literally anything can happen… and does.
You can’t copy disrespect.