Back in February, streaming platform Caffeine announced an exclusive partnership with Drake and the Ultimate Rap League (URL).
The three-way partnership was just a small part of a larger multiyear initiative to usher in a new wave of “highly curated live content” to Caffeine, setting it apart from its significantly larger competitors – Twitch, and (at the time) Mixer.
URL, tag-lined as the “World’s Most Respected” rap league, has come under fire in recent weeks due to the nature of their partnership with Caffeine, but many fans love the pivot to a free streaming model, especially based upon the age we find ourselves in.
The Ultimate Rap League has exclusively streamed many of its big-ticket events (such as Summer Madness, Ultimate Madness, and Genesis) on Caffeine, which has allowed never-before-reached audiences to engage with a culture that they otherwise never might have discovered.
Enter King of the Dot, a Canadian-owned Battle Rap league (and arguably URL’s biggest competitor), who announced just a few days ago that they’ll be exclusively streaming an all-new event – the KOTD Grand Prix – via Twitch. The Grand Prix will feature battle rappers from every corner of North America, and will be divvied up into four divisions – North, South, East, and West.
While the history of competition between URL and KOTD isn’t something that most readers of this site are probably familiar with, you probably are at least a little familiar with Caffeine and Twitch, who are both major players in the streaming space in their own right.
Twitch needs no introduction, but Caffeine has proved itself to be a “little engine that could” of sorts, especially this year – and especially after this Drake and URL deal. Prior to this deal, the most notable “exclusive” personalities to Caffeine were rappers like The Game and Offset, and athletes like LaMelo Ball. But tack on a name like Drake – arguably the most popular living entertainer – and now we’re cooking.
It is unclear, and probably very unlikely, that King of the Dot decided to stream their Grand Prix via Twitch exclusively to turn the screws on Caffeine and steal some of their streaming thunder. Did they notice a platform working for another league, and decide to follow suit? Perhaps. Did they intentionally ally with a competitor to Caffeine to divert traffic from URL events? Probably not.
At the end of the day, though, the winners all-around are battle rap fans. There’s virtually no downside to having more access to the genre, and hopefully this results in even more popularity for a culture that has been stuck in underground limbo for far too long, and potentially even a platform for battle rap’s top competitors to make a better living off of their talents.
Sounds like a win-win to me.