I’m not sure if you have had a chance to see the FIRE that ran through the interwebs yesterday. It came courtesy of Eminem and his Shady Records family. Em is set to drop a two-disc CD compilation featuring the record label’s greatest hits, and to kick that off, the whole Shady fam, Eminem, Crooked i, Joe Buddens, Joell Ortiz, Yelawolf, and Royce Da 5’9 dropped an EPIC Cypher on their website and it’s BANANAS.
First off can we just talk about how DOPE that was? The word play by these 5 emcees is just ridiculous. I mean, it’s extremely impressive. And it makes me want to freestyle again. Why is this type of verbal wizardry not getting more press across mainstream formats? We are subject to hours of the Voice and American Idol type shows every week, but we have nothing show casing the talents of rapping, which still remains one of the most successful and commerical genres in music today. These rappers just KILLED it verbally and did it without any beats accompanying them. It was mesmorizing to listen to and see. But if you are a fan of the spoken word how did you not get off on that? That is poetry at it’s finest and highest level and should be celebrated by all. One way to change the hip hop game and to make rap more exciting is to set up a weekly LIVE cypher series. This would be a great way to see rappers that you wouldn’t expect to hear get their shine on in the illest format possible, live. No rehearsal. No edits. No second takes. Just raw, thought-provoking rhyming that shows off these dudes intelligence and rhyme skills. That is a show I would watch every week. With the recent success of Sonic Highways by the Foo Fighters on HBO, rap could use a show to boost it’s popularity and art form. I could see HBO doing wonders with a live cypher show that could also incorporate live interviews and a documentary style format.
BET brought the cypher concept back to TV with various clips throughout their Hip Hop Awards shows. They started off the live cypher format in a great way, but it’s been limited to only at their Hip Hop Awards show which only happens annually. The Shady crew has made an appearance on that cypher before.
Top Dawg Entertainment, TDE, featuring Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, just to name a few, blessed the cypher last year.
Mos Def, Black Thought, and Eminem dropped fire a couple years ago.
Nicki Minaj, Buckshot, Joe Buddens, and Crown Royal in 2009.
In 2014, BET featured Wiz Khalifa and the Taylor Gang emcees in the cypher.
XXL magazine dropped a 2014 cypher with Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Isiah Rashard, and August Alsina
Chris Brown, Tyga, Ace Hood, and Kevin McHall dropped heat in this edition.
So as you can see the cypher format is alive and well in hip hop and that was fully proven with the latest gem dropped by Eminem and the Shady Recordds crew. Now we need a major network and a consistent public forum to bring this amazing skill to millions in either a weekly or month format. Hip hop needs this. This is what rap music is all about, being able to spit acapella or over any beat at any time. This type of battle rap shows who the real emcees are. A cypher can show who really is the nicest emcee. So Jay Z, Nas, Em, Black Thought, and Kendrick, can we please make this happen?