World Domination 2: The Breakdown [Review]
Toronto, ON – On a sweltering summer weekend, the world came to Toronto. From Sweden and Norway, with microphones sheathed in their scabbards instead of swords. From England and Australia, with pints in their fists and bars on deck in more than a metaphorical sense. From the Philippines, with the pride of a nation on their backs and fire in their voice boxes. And from across Canada and the United States, ready to stand their ground and assert North American dominance.
King of the Dot hosted the most international rap battle event in history on August 5th and 6th at Club XS, a showcase of the global community that battling has grown into – World Domination 2. Fans, performers and legends in the hip-hop underground travelled from across the world to the Megacity to prove the age old adage true; if you build it, they will come.
“It was the BEST event
WE have ever had!”
World Domination 2 marked the third anniversary of Canada’s premier battling league with its most significant event to date. More than just a collection of battles, the World Domination series is an international festival that celebrates battle rap and its crucial place in the hip-hop underground. The weekend was rife with every element of the culture, from live graffiti to beatbox battles to amazing performances from artists such as Sabac Red, Slaine and Jus Allah. Throw in a gang of hugely significant battles and an absolutely electric atmosphere and what you have, quite simply, is history in the making.
Club XS was packed and buzzing long before the battles got underway on Friday night, with fans rammed into the venue and spilling out across the streets of Toronto in anticipation of the festivities to follow. Every performer who made the trip to Toronto came with something to prove. Henry Bowers and Chedda Cheese put on a display of flow mechanics and creativity, 24/7 and Dose ripped off a seesaw affair full of grimey bars, and D-Lor and Deffinition delivered performances with some of the most sophisticated writtens of the weekend. As the night stretched into the later hours, three main events awaited the raucous crowd, promising to end the first day of World Domination on a chaotic note.
Bender and iLLmaculate took to the octagon first in what was billed as a clash between two writers with absolute pristine pen games. The former KOTD champ put on arguably his best performances to date, slicing away at Illmac’s appearance in a recent Old Spice advertising campaign and clowning on his diminutive stature with ease. The Portland veteran fired right back, flipping the deodorant angle and pounding Bender with hard hitting schemes covering everything from Hattori Hanzo blades to overly aggressive bouncers. Everyone in the venue was left to scrape their brains off the floor before the next match popped off, featuring San Jose’s Dirtbag Dan and Vancouver’s Mad Child of Swollen Members. Mad Child was making his return to battling after a long hiatus, but he showed no ring rust in quickly getting under Dan’s skin with pointed jabs at their comparative stature in the rap game. With Mad Child hitting with quick rhythmic patterns, Dan countered by attempting to simply overpower his opponent, using a much more refined projection and delivery to capture the crowd. Still reeling from the shocking conclusion to these two matches, the fans prepared for the main event to kick off.
Marv Won and Pat Stay had been portraits of focus all night long. A battle that had been brewing since an altercation between the two at King of the Dot’s Gridlock event, the tension was palpable as these two titans took to the ring. Marv began by getting on his grown man shit, belittling Pat for his childish behaviour and intimating that he was the more respectable of the two – both inside and outside of battle rap. Pat responded with a salvo in the complete opposite direction, playing up his villain role to a whole new level, personally attacking Marv’s family, friends and lifestyle in blatantly disrespectful fashion. The two grappled back and forth for all three rounds with neither seeming to give off an edge, ending World Domination’s first day with a battle that will be debated and discussed ad nauseum upon its release.
Fans soldiered back to Club XS Saturday afternoon a little worse for wear after the previous night’s events. It wouldn’t take long for them to be reinvigorated. Rone and Nils staged the most surprising match of the day, poRICH and Oshea put on a drinking competition before their verbal throwdown, and Cruger and Charron ethered a mirror match in the truest sense of the word in some of the best undercard matches. Up and comers such as SMP and Protege had career performances, balanced by veterans like Dizaster, Arcane and PH all coming with their usual high standard of rhymes. Not a single disappointing battle went down, allowing everyone at the venue to shift their focus to the heavy hitters of World Domination 2’s second day.
In a clash that had been anticipated since the days of JumpOff’s World Rap Championships, Fresh Coast legend The Saurus took on Don’t Flop President Eurgh. Both combatants had a bevy of material for the bout, having been mentioned as potential opponents for years on end. Saurus massacred the first two rounds with pinpoint accuracy, integrating flips and delivering hardhitting schemes with consistency. Eurgh’s blades were equally sharp throughout the battle, with his skills cresting in a brutal third round that made the decision on this match near impossible. The same could be said for Ness Lee and Loe Pesci, two of the most proficient technical battlers in the world, who faced off next. The punches were non-stop in this one, highlight by a Fresh Prince comparison and memory loss tribute by Loe and a crowd pleasing Michael Jordan scheme from Ness that brought the venue to its knees. The fans barely had a chance to recover after these two intense battles before the final match of the weekend went down.
Canadian legend Kid Twist, battling solo for the first time since last year’s World Domination, took on Australia’s 360 in the closing match of the event. Twist shocked the crowd before a bar was even spit by rocking a fitted hat, possibly the only time in his storied history as a rapper he had been seen without his wonderful hair on display. He proceeded to pick apart his opponent’s career, sporting mishaps and choice of tattoos in typical Twist fashion, vacillating between perfectly arranged patterns and spontaneous jabs. Sixty, known for his larger than life sense of humour and personality, brought the heat right back on Twist with his off colour brand of comedy and sharp personal punches. Despite a few small slip ups from one of these competitors, the battle was a fitting end to an event that looked to pit the best spitters from across the world against each other.
Battle rap is a scene built on the backs on performers, organizers, fans and supporters worldwide, a scene that continues to expand every day. Every year, those people get together to celebrate what they’ve built, to share a stage and unite every aspect of this culture. King of the Dot built the World Domination series for this purpose. On a sweltering summer weekend in Toronto, the world came out to support it.
Be sure to check out http://www.KingOfTheDot.com for more information and battles.
Written by Regular Joe for HipHopCanada
Dirtbag Dan vs. Mad Child
King of the Dot – World Domination 2 (The Mixtape)