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Interview by: Colton Beausoleil
Photography by: Edward James Rissling
King of the Dot has been on the rise since it began back in the alleyways of Toronto six years ago. Founder Organik wanted to create a league that was a platform for battle rappers to build from as well as everyone involved in the culture. Since growing to be one of the worlds biggest battle leagues, King of the Dot has created a movement that is taking over the scene by storm. Putting on some of the biggest match-ups to ever go down, having a team that works to it’s limits to provide for Canadian hip-hop culture. Moving as a unit, there’s nothing they can’t set out and accomplish. With entry level league Prove Yoself, Gully TK’s Ground Zero league leading into where the top tier battlers go head to head, at King of the Dot. The movement has only just begun and the future is looking bright for King of the Dot. We sat down with Organik, Bishop Brigante and Gully TK to talk about the Squad Tour, how they set up battles and more!
TCUS: Now Bishop, you helped orchestrate the entire Squad tour tell me how the tour has been going and your experiences so far. What has this tour taught you?
Bishop Brigante: Technically, I went and I found the promoters and everybody in different cities, but it’s always a squad decision. We all do it together but it’s been great man! What our goal was is to find promoters in different cities, in all these smaller cities within Ontario and across the country as well. We wanted to build relationships with promoters that are feeling the battle movement, that support King of the Dot. We wanted to get our here in these smaller cities and show our face to the fans, that have supporting us for countless years now.
We wanted to build relationships and so far it’s been great. Sudbury, Thunder Bay were both great shows that we’ve had. The response to this London show is already through the roof. We’ve had a lot of feedback just on the fact that we’re even here already. We’re trying to bridge the gap with all the smaller cities and build relationships so that we can have different sets of King of the Dot hubs, all over Ontario and Canada. We’re for the people so we want to build relationships with all the people on the outsides of Toronto.
TCUS: Gully, I don’t know if you paid any attention to the event page for the London show. There was a bit of drama between rappers, some of them dropping out last minute. I can imagine you guys have dealt with this before. What advice would you give to your fellow promoters, rappers, and everyone involved and how do you guys deal with it?
Gully TK: Definitely have a back up plan. Usually when we set up an event, like a Prove Yoself for instance. That’s usually when you get a bunch of people that back out. People get I guess, last minute stage fright. I’ll usually have a few guys on the back burner just incase something happens last minute. I’ll usually have them prepared to take a battle on short notice. It’s unfortunate people back out, it happens. You just have to keep rolling with what you’ve got.
TCUS: Organik, I’m really curious of the whole business model and how you guys have developed it. I find that as the Hip-Hop culture in Canada it’s hard for success to turn into money, where people are more than happy to support. Most Canadian musicians, promoters struggle with it. Can you share how you progressed KOTD as a business and what others can learn from you?
Organik: I’m not really sure. We never started King of the Dot to make it this business that makes money or nothing like that. We started this off just making a league for the rappers. We felt being battlers ourselves that promoters weren’t really looking out for the actual talent they were looking out for the promoters. When we started King of the Dot it was built for the rappers, you know what I mean? I think a lot of people see that vision with us and see that we’re not just grabbing money and taking it and buying cars. We’re re-investing it. Building in the scene and building a platform for people to just be involved in hip-hop all in general.
It’s a lot more than just a battle event because every person that comes out, is involved in the scene one way or another. From a CD printer, T-Shirt printer to a blogger, radio show hosts, people involved in journalism, basically anyone. It’s really creating a platform for a scene to be built. I think that’s what really comes into play with wanting to make people support it, for the simple fact that it’s building a scene. It’s giving us something to do. It’s giving us an outlet. As far as the business side of it, I think that’s something we’re even trying to tackle. There’s never no final goal of being satisfied as far as a business or money goes. We’re still working, we’re still learning just like anything. We’re a grassroots movement. We started in alleyways and now were here.
TCUS: Bishop, your credited for a lot of different things to do with KOTD, I read online you helped bring down Arsenal and so on.
Bishop Brigante: Let me just say, I’m not that guy. Everything that happens at King of the Dot is a Squad effort. Organik comes up with crazy ideas. Gully comes up with crazy ideas. Sometimes I come up with ideas. As far as bringing Arsenal down, I was a part of it. I’m not the one who should be credited for it though. Everything we do is a squad decision. I’m a part of various decisions that happen behind the scenes, from low level tasks to high level tasks. We don’t have a hierarchy. We’re a team. Regardless of any of our accolades or whatever, we’re all equals. We’re all homies, we really care about the culture. so as far as credits and all that stuff, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make sure that these two guys, myself and everyone involved all accomplish the goals that we’ve all set out early on in our time together. We’re doing it, we’re knocking everything out one by one and having a good time doing it as well.
TCUS: What was your vision initially when becoming fully involved with King of the Dot in the beginning?
Bishop Brigante: In the beginning? It was getting drunk (laughs). Getting a view from the outside of what I grew up doing, and I have to show out my homie Biz because he’s the first one to bring me to a King of the Dot event. I got hammered, and I had a really good time. I mean, I’ve slowed up on getting “hammered”. It’s was just an incredible time. We come from the freestyle era so to watch it, and see the transition was also beautiful. We as freestylers we respect that side of the art but to see how much more entertaining it can eb when it’s prepared and you have more time to be creative, it’s more of a show. I’ve always loved it and that was my passion for hanging out through the years. Then eventually Organik was like, “we all work together so well, lets just do this business shit” and now we doing it. These guys are cool motherf*ckers too!
TCUS: You’re currently working on a documentary of KOTD, from it’s origins, never before scene footage and exclusive interviews. Can you give us any insight on what people can expect when watching that?
Organik: It’s kind of hard to say right now, I don’t want to really leak anything. To be honest the video isn’t even completed. I’m not the videographer, or the one putting it together. We have a team that we trust piecing everything together. We’re just here to provide the resources that make that happen. Provide everything from past footage to kind of the overall vision. At the end of the day Avocado, Kyle Gray; he’s an amazing cinematographer and we trust his vision. He’s the one putting together the DVD. So, I’m kind of wondering myself to be honest with you. It’s something we all work on, but at the end of the day the final cut, the direction and where it’s placed and everything like that is being put in Kyle’s hands. I trust him fully with it because as you guys know, if you see any King of the Dot video’s, he’s the mastermind behind all that. Making them look as good as they do. Filming in 4K resolution, all the motion graphics and everything. He’s just that dude. He changed battle rap you know? He was the first person to bring HD cameras into battle rap, start filming the stuff. Do the first battle rap documentary. He’s a legend in his own.
Bishop Brigante: We actually have a link, there’s a pledge campaign with certain packages you can buy to be a part of this documetary. It’s all fan driven and we definitely want our fans to be involved.
TCUS: What do you feel about the difference between judged battles and ones based strictly off crowd reaction?
Gully TK: It’s tough. The judged battles, I’m a fan of but I find if the fans don’t agree with the decision they’re going to click the dislike button no matter what. It could be the best battle of the year and if they don’t agree with it, they’re going to click dislike. They don’t base it off the battles. All the politics involved, hate mail, this and that. The promo is cool, I like the promo just because it keeps the fans talking. They’ll argue amongst themselves rather than getting mad at us for a decision. They’ll argue amongst themselves and have good points. I’m a fa of the promo but I guess certain battles need to be judged. For the title match and all that stuff for sure. It’s not our fault either you know? We pick judges that are some of the most people you can get to judge a battle and if people don’t agree it’s like shit. It’s intense.
TCUS: Bishop, after negotiating out of your contract, taking a bit of time out from music you made the comment “I feel like I’m brand new again, I’m hitting the restart button” can you elaborate on that a bit?
Bishop Brigante: When I left Bodog, I took a big break. I had a son. Shout out big Litto. Basically, I took a bit of time for myself just reflecting. I had made a lot of music, these guys can attest to it. He actually gets mad at me all the time (looks at Gully) – if I open my laptop in front of him because he always wants to pick like six EP’s that I should put out because I have so much music. I wanted to find a certain spot within Bishop Brigante to be able to feel comfortable putting music out again. I felt that, the way Bodog went down, it brought me up to the point where I was saying “Ahh man! This about to happen, it’s going down. I just got signed. I’m doing some really dope stuff here”. Then everything crashed.
It wasn’t nothing that crashed because of me or them personally. It was the company that was folding. I just got out at the right time because I saw everything was going down. So, I took my break; did my family stuff and I basically wanted to wait for a good time in music when I would be genuinely happy to be a part of it again. I felt like there was a real drought. Thanks to people like, obviously Drake. JD Era and alot of my other peers that are making great music from Hip-Hop to R&B to any genre that I love, I now feel like I’m at a place where I can start releasing music again. I’ve always been in the mix, making songs with Snak The Ripper and other records here and there. I’m on the new Choclair song “End of the Road” with Darryl Riley. I’ve stayed active here and there, poking in the game but now I’m working on that full length project that I have to give to the people. It’s just overdue.
Gully TK: Yup!
Bishop Brigante: See! See that. He tried to do that quietly too!
TCUS: I think the people could use that for sure.
Bishop Brigante: It’s coming, it’s coming. We need a little bit more honesty in music and it’s a good time because there’s a lot of honesty in music right now.
TCUS: Organik, you recently did the role in the movie Detention, tell me about how that came about?
Organik: That one came about kind of randomly. I just got a phone call one day asking me to audition for a movie. I kind of dodged it for a while. I wasn’t really too interested. I never really had any ambition to be an actor. Basically, the casting director just got the director on the phone with me who was Joseph Kahn. I never really knew who he was at the time and he just convinced me. He said “every once in a while you get given an opportunity that will change your life. Let me change your life.” Than he said “fly to Hollywood tomorrow.” I asked for how long, he told me four weeks. It was a tough decision, I had a girl and I had rent to pay and everything. It was one of those things you just had to do though. It was good man, it was a good experience.
TCUS: Jumping over to Charron for a minute, what’s next for you in terms of any battles coming up?
Charron: This is like the first time in a while where I haven’t had a battle set up. Usually when I’m doing battles I have one or two on the go before I even finish a battle in different leagues and what not. Right now I have no idea. I’ll definitely be battling at World Domination. I’m not sure who my opponent will be. King of the Dot is doing a few events, Vendetta 2 in LA and a few other places. I may go there. Possibly another Don’t Flop or Australia battle.
TCUS: So Gully, what are some things you look for when you’re all putting together match-ups?
Gully TK: The fans opinion has a lot to do with it. You want to put on match-ups that the fans want to see. Alot of us will brainstorm together as a squad and think of match-ups that we think the people want to see. Just style wise. It’s good to have match-ups with guys with different styles. Like, we had Charron and Shotgun Suge. It didn’t happen but match-ups like that; that are totally different. Those are cool, I like the one’s that are more so style wise though. Two guys that almost remind you of each other and they just go in. The Tycoon Tax and Rum Nitty battle that just happened recently. Battles like that, that are really similar. You get two guys like that and it’s a classic right away.
TCUS: I can definitely agree on that. I think that about sums it up. Are there any last words from each of you that you wanted to say to the people out there?
Organik: I just want to thank you guys, everyone at Treetop for bringing us out here and doing this interview. It’s going to be a good night.
Bishop Brigante: King of the Dot is the worlds hardest working battle rap league. Period. We love ya’ll.
Gully TK: Ya Digg! I’d just have to say pay attention to what we’re doing man. We’re out in LA on April 19th for Vendetta 2: Redemption. May 25 we’re doing a show in Mississauga, finally! Lots of events coming up. We’re always working, stay tuned!!
Bishop Brigante: If you guys can’t make it out to the events, always stay tuned. We got the pay-per-view’s at KOTDTV. We’ll have that up for Vendetta 2 so definitely check that out if you can’t make it out.
TCUS: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview boys! Tonight’s going to be a good show.
KOTD: Hell Yeah!
Check out all the photos below!
Stay tuned, we have a video version releasing soon as well with some exclusive footage of the King of the Dot Sqaurd Tour in London.