I have to say I was not impressed by most of the BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 Cyphers. I mean, there was some heat here and there – Mad Skillz, Busta, Luda and Kendrick Lamar all laced it, Lady of Rage had some ill lines, but there were a lot of lackluster verses in between these folks. There were also artists that I think are so dope, like B.O.B., Tech N9ne and Big Krit. I love these dudes music,Â I just didn’t think they killed it the hardest in the cyphers.
One person I was most mad at – was Chris Brown. I mean, Chris has most people beat in terms of writing, singing, dancing and just charisma and stage presence in general. I’m not downing him as an artist, but he could not hang with the full time MC’s who live it every day. He really thought he ripped it, too. (Sh. Don’t tell him.)
Most surprising person to see in the cyphers at all was british RnB sensationÂ Estelle. I love her singing. Didn’t know she could rap. Wow, she killed it! Honorable mention goes to LL COOL J, who wasn’t even in the cyphers, but read a disgusting verse he penned on the way to the show on his blackberry. Sorry, young boys. LL is not getting aged out of the game just yet. His pen is still hot.
If I had to pick a perfect verse, every line hittin’, perfectly executed, not over people’s heads, mad relevant punchlines, just everything fittin’ like a puzzle, it would be the one guy who can’t see, Blind Fury, so mad props to him.
But the group who NOBODY could see that night … was the SHADY 2.0 Cypher!
This squad was filled with such known spitters that I knew they would destroy it as soon as I saw who was there, but even with the bar of my expectations set crazy high, they managed to body it even more than I could have imagined, in terms of individual verses, the flow of the cypher from one MC to the next and the combination of devastating flows added up together. This cypher truly showed what squad is lyrically not to be f@-#*! with this year!
When Primo (DJ PRemier) threw on the classic beat, used in countless MC Battles and underground cyphers, I just knew it was on. Yelawolf, Joe Budden, Crooked I Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9 and Eminem allÂ tore it down!Â There were all mountains, Â no valleys, on the landscape. My ears and brain were bombarded by intricate rhyme schemes, up to date references, amazingly original and refreshing flows from all of them. They also demonstrated the essence of a true cypher – a meeting of the minds in a circle – an exchange of ideas – a family of MC’s conversing, not just a string of artists each kicking a hot 16 in a row. People outside of Hip Hop might not understand that. A cypher is connections, not just cats rhymin’. While many of the afore mentioned MC’s spit some hot -ish, none of the other cyphers really felt cohesive. They didn’t have that dynamic of communication, which is what the cypher is all about. They just felt like each MC was waiting to spit their verse.Â Anyone who has ever been in a cypher know what I’m talking about.
So for the elevated lyricism, the natural camaraderie between friends and the most consistent amount of ridiculous flow and wordplay, it has to go to SHADY 2.0. This one is definitely a classic. Don’t believe me? Check your local water cooler and see which cypher – not individual verse – is being talked about.
And now it’s your turn to judge for yourselves. Read more to watch ALL of the cyphers and leave your comments below!