Let’s Talk Cypher

by ike

The 2012 BET Hip Hop Awards aired tonight and with it all five cyphers. Ranging from rappers Iggy Azalea to ScHoolBoy Q to Talib Kweli amongst more, honestly I was left a little disappointed (and worried for Mystikal’s health).

Take a look..

Grand Hustle: T.I. and his collective grace the dirty streets to kick off the cypher. With members Trae Tha Truth, B.o.B, Iggy Azalea and Chip in tote, the Hustle gang doesn’t do too bad.

Aside from the somewhat awkward English accent by Chip and Iggy’s lackluster “murda business” flow, Trae (did anyone else notice they spelled “Tha” phonetically correct?) proves why he may be the king of the south. Or H-Town at least. B.o.B has a nice offering and T.I. ends the session with his usual flow. Solid C. Next..

The Raw: Easily the most colorful cypher of the night, an offering including ScHoolBoy Q, Hopsin, Mac Miller, Mystikal and Jaybird is, if anything, entertaining.

Jaybird kicks it off, a little boring in my opinion. He reminds me of a Childish Gambino knock-off.. and “way Tupac-er than you?” Eh. Hopsin. Hopsin. Hopsin. If the double eyebrow slits and whiteout contacts don’t terrify you, the flow won’t either. Not a fan. Tyler, the Creator knock-off with a weak Slim Shady theme. (Sorry I’m comparing apples to oranges)

ScHoolBoy Q steps up to bat and gives a solid verse. I’ve heard better from album material, but I enjoyed it. Mac Miller plays catch up to deliver his preppy-turned-hood flow.. which I liked. Reminiscent of a Best Day Ever vibe. Nice.

Mystikal.. should have remained behind bars. Beginning with barking and edginess that shows his age, I find nothing about his performance worth mentioning. Did anyone else think he was on crack? Next..

The Man With the Iron Fists: RZA integrated his upcoming movie into the set as he took over the tables. By far the best one as collective. Angel Haze definitely held her own for the ladies and Iggy Azalea shot?

Joey Bada$$ next who, honestly, I’ve never listened to, but I appreciated the turn from the generic and offered inspiration. Anyone else get a Casey Veggies vibe? A$AP’s face in the background is priceless.

Driicky Graham has a nice flow but was the weakest link out of the group in my opinion.

Childish Gambino, as always, shines. The odd man out of the group (hell, the entire hip-hop industry) holds his own and even includes some comedic relief.

A$AP Rocky finishes this cypher with his Pretty Motherfucker-esque flow. Not much to say, but a nice finish to the best collective cypher of the night.

The West Coast: Xzibit, YG, Kurupt, E-40, DJ Quik, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg. You’re up next. You almost forget that X to the Z was a rapper BEFORE Pimp My Ride. Ha. He still holds on to his usual delivery, so nothing too impressive here. Not bad either though.

YG can actually kind of flow. No Toot It and Boot It flow here. Decent. Kurupt gives a solid verse. Honestly.. I missed it.

E-40.. well I mean it’s what you’d expect. Fast flow and “oooo’s”. He’s still got it though. Whatever “it” is. DJ Quik, who creates the beat from a lunch table meets pencil beat, was kind of boring.

Kendrick Lamar actually didn’t shine as much as I expected. Almost like he held most of it back.. because we all know we’ve seen and heard better. Still not bad though.

Snoop Dogg turned Snoop Lion back to Snoop Dogg for the night should think long and hard about retirement. Flow sounds old and nothing really earth-shattering.

The True School: Line of the night cypher. Jean Grae reminds me of the superhero.. useless unless Phoenix. I kind of took a quick nap.

Ghanaian rapper’s, Sarkodie, flow was nice. From what I understood. I’ll have to come back and check it out to really make a decision. Ab-soul comes on the scene nicely. I find myself wanting more though.

Talib Kweli delivers the “oh my gosh, he took it there,” line when he referenced Frank Ocean and Chick-Fil-A. Besides that, I still think Kweli is underrated. Recognition people. Recognition.

Ruff Ryders: Head honcho DMX kicks things off with a Negro spiritual. Not really, but yeah. Mook, easily the weakest link. But we knew this.

Cassidy seems like his drink and two step has worn off. Not bad, but I’m missing the old school flow he used to spit. Nice here and there’s but as a while just okay.

Eve shows why she can hang with the big dogs. Literally. Actually really impressed with her flow and, as an overall, she had the best delivery (as in: no stutters, no weak pauses, no lame tone inflections, etc.) of the night.

Why does DMX have a mic? Well anyways, if you thought you weren’t gonna get a gruff yelling at, you must not remember anything DMX. I don’t know if he’s delusional to think he’s “the new sheriff in town,” but either way, I’m rooting for the guy.

All in all, probably one of the weaker cyphers we’ve had in recent years, but still not too shabby. Glad to see hip-hop remaining somewhat present.