King of the Dot (one of the premiere rap battle leagues in the world) is alive and thriving in yet another wildly successful Vancouver event.
The name ‘Resurgence’ perfectly describes the refreshing attitude emerging from the turbulent history of battlerap in Vancouver. Community leaders have spent the last few years building toward a vision of inclusion that reaches beyond our city to the entire Northwest. After wrestling with sputtering turnouts, an inconsistent talent pool and the occasional escalation to violence KOTD Vancity is now almost unrecognizable. The drama was quieted. New powerful alliances were built. Any diva attitudes that held us back have been replaced wholly by a philosophy of unity and progress. Slowly, over the course of +3 years, the tides have turned.
These days every event is packed to capacity. The fans are entertained by a wide range of talent and styles. The turnaround from where we stood a mere four years ago is remarkable. Everybody is out to witness, from established rappers like Matt Brevner to ex-battlerappers like Junk. They love hiphop, and they come to watch the city’s sharpest performers in action.
The hosts Willie B and La Sparka are behind this movement. The prevailing theme of #LOVEFORCE runs deeper than some cheap marketing technique. There is a genuine feeling of love and excitement in the air. Through donations to the local food bank, Covenant House, etc, the emphasis on philanthropy and community has galvanized scattered hiphop lovers of Vancouver into a compelling force for good. Considering the growth and convivial atmosphere of each event the strategy is paying dividends on a number of levels.
The theme of this event focused on showcasing new faces like Jaws, Bar J and $ully but the main event was also representative of our ‘resurgence’ in a different way. Bringing back KOTD main page veterans like Rupert Common and Ape Yola to headline adds years of valuable experience to the local roster and significantly deepens our talent pool. Their battle was a long awaited clash of titans that completely lived up to the hype. More than amazing wordplay and clever freestyles their dynamic performances set an example for this fresh crop of battlers to live up to. Ape Yola vs Rupert Common was also a statement. We have the best new talent, a diverse range of styles and now even our heavy hitters are back. Vancouver is using this resurgence to show battlerap culture that we’re positioned to make bigger moves on an international scale. Moves nobody will be able to ignore.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of hiphop in this city, stay tuned to see what happens next…
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Photography by Ease Creative