Art forms of all kinds have a way of evolving.  A Michelangelo is different from a Bateman in the same way Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson differ.  All art is twisted to fit the personality of the artist.  Whether on canvass or in a recording studio every generation has put a stamp on there chosen form.  Battle rap is no different.  In the early days cyphers on street corners in New York were a rappers way of showing his skills, proving himself better than the competition in both style and creative wordplay with no prior rehearsal.  Today’s Battle rap product has evolved into a highly polished pre written format viewed by thousands of fans live and millions online.


One of the driving forces in the success of this global phenomenon has been Travis Fleetwood, better known in the family that is Battle rap as Organik.  A Rapper himself Organik is known for his take no nonsense, cut throat, rip your mothers head off style.  Not so different (minus the decapitation) from the entrepreneurial side displayed in creating a stand alone company with tens of thousands of subscribers in King of the Dot. What started out as a small group filming opponents in an alley or a park has evolved far beyond what any expected.  Selling out the hottest nightclubs to hold events,  the premier Battle league in the world  KOTD has divisions in  Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, and  Los Angeles (otherwise called the “Fresh Coast”). Further Expansion plans to the east coast are currently in the works but as things stand now the league is on solid ground with the current alignment.


Having been to a Toronto event, I have seen in person the professionalism in how the company and the events are run.  That being said its no real surprise to close followers of this niche product that there has been some crossover with the mainstream.  High profile battles in swanky night clubs in L.A. Featuring a “rap legend” (Canibuss, although his legendary status is debatable) and one of the greatest meltdowns ever caught on camera haven’t hurt the appeal or exposure.  From roles in Hollywood movies, to celebrities like Drake and Raekwon showing support at the live events, this battle rap generation is poised for greatness.


Thanks to clever marketing and a huge presence online,  KOTD has reach literally around the world.  They have close ties with leagues across Europe, Australia, and the Philippines creating a worldwide fan base of potential customers. The product though is paramount.  Strong measures are necessary to control the quality of Battles released under the KOTD banner.  A drop in quality comes with serious risk of screeching to a halt all the forward momentum built thus far.


Plans are already rolling to help groom the next generation of wordsmiths with the Fresh Coast Prove Yo self, and Canadian Ground Zero divisions.  Both are run under the umbrella of the parent company and were developed so up and comers have an opportunity to hit the ground floor running before being smacked in the face by the bright lights and pressure of a main event.  These divisions also act as a form of quality control for the larger events.  Promotion to a main event match up card is based on performance in these lower viewed battles


Probably the best thing going for Battle rap is the rappers themselves.  They are show men in every way.  Through social media outlets or just outside of a venue having a smoke, this generation  for the most part enjoys the interaction with fans.  They are pseudo celebrities after all and come from all walks of life.  The majority have regular jobs and rapping is a release from that.  Some record songs and sell the collection of recorded works at events along with slogan t-shirts and other related merchandise, but most are just talented people that put words together in an entertaining way who the world would not know about had the internet not existed.


In a few short years a young man from the suburbs of Toronto has taken the world of Battle rap to a new level.  It will be very interesting to follow the evolution taking place with this art form,  and to determine how high the ceiling is, if one even exists.


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