Legendary Cyphers Keeps The Spirit Of Hip Hop Alive In New York City

image5.PNG

 

Walking through the busy and bright streets of Manhattan, you’re liable to find anything booming out there, especially at the historic Union Square. But on a late Friday night, if you ever wondered what hip-hop looked like in its purest form, Legendary Cyphers may be the closest thing.

Every Friday night from 8pm until midnight, New York MC, local activist and co-founder, Majestic hosts the all night hip-hop institution. Currently in its third season, Legendary Cyphers features MCs across NYC expressing themselves in a soul stirring cypher where a rapper just jumps in and spits a hot 16 at any time over some fresh beats. Unlike many though, battling isn’t allowed because the weekly event is all about unity and love. Their seasons run from May until November.

The squad began where co-founder Dayv Cino and Majestic were they were hanging out at Union Park and started a cypher with other local rappers.

“Legendary Cyphers started thanks to the culture that we’re all a part of, which is hip-hop,” said Cino.

“I brought the media aspect and organizing a form of a structure so that everybody can rock, where a 16 year old can jump in with a loud mouth 30 year old or 40 year old. We evened out the playing field for everybody. In doing that, it’s enabled us to counteract corporate rap. We brought back to its native form out in the streets and basically combat the colonization of the youth’s mind in corporate rap,” he added.

Hip-hop stars and lyricists such as Mickey Facts, Saul Williams and even Diddy have shown their support to Legendary Cyphers. The duo always says that you never know who’s watching or is gonna show up.

A goal theirs is to have cleansed out the influence of mainstream hip-hop’s ideas of misogyny, homophobia, gun talk, and lust for wealth. Cino says that after hearing their resident MC spit nothing but “real s**t”, it should inspire a newcomer to catch the wave and start telling their stories and changing their verses.

“That same gun clap 17, 18 year old was talking about a minute ago? Now he’s talking about how he only had a slice of pizza and a single mom growing up and that’s your story. It’s enabled us to help our artists grow and not just as artists but individuals,”

To them, it’s the people who make it “legendary” rather than themselves. It’s not hard to find a large crowd of New Yorkers there on a Friday night circled around a small camera crew since its inception in August 2013. Regulars such as Eli Black, Baxter Wordsmith, Lex Rush, Henny Mack, Philoz, and even Majesty himself light the proverbial mic on fire to the large crowd, rather than just looking at the camera, to create an engaging experience to the viewers online.

The live experience has an infections vibe that’s caused by watching the MCs, regular and newcomers spit together in harmony, one can’t help but to stick around all night. In fact, Cino also says that many MCs have always have credited them for making them better rappers in a “iron-sharpens-iron” sense.

“We call it legendary cyphers because of the people that come here, not us! We are simple facilitators in our eyes. People say it’s like ‘aww ya’ll Legendary Cyphers’ we’re like ehhh. We’re them dudes that help you get on and rock and that’s all we all want, we’re like break out your shell and do you! Stop talking that radio trash and do you.

Despite many hip-hop fans proclaiming that the culture is dead, Legendary Cyphers easily proves that hip-hop is alive and well.

“We’re no teachers, we’re not reinventing the wheel or anything here, we’re straight up just a crew that’s out her to keep culture alive.”

You can watch full episodes of Legendary Cyphers on legendarycyphers.com

 

Puff Daddy Invokes The Flashiest Spirit Of Harlem Legend Rich Porter On MMM

00-cover

 

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen Puff Daddy grab the rap game by a firm and tight choke hold. No, not Diddy or Sean Combs, but Puff Daddy. The persona he had to put away in 2001 after a decade of run-ins with the law. The man who we saw flashes of this year where he was accused of assaulting his son’s UCLA football coach with a kettle bell. Yes people, Puff Daddy is back and this time he’s not playing around anymore. Inspired by Mitch Porter from Paid in Full, he gives us MMM (Money Makin Mitch), a free album that serves as the prelude to his upcoming No Way Out 2 featuring the Bad Boy Family.

In case you’re not hip, “Money Makin’ Mitch” was the fictional portrayal of Harlem’s most infamous drug kingpin, Richard “Rich” Porter, from the 2002 street classic, Paid In Full (word to Mekhi Phifer). He was as flashy and flamboyant as he is iconic in the crack trade of the 1980 with his boys Azie Faizon and Alpo Martinez. Unfortunately, while he was gathering $500,000 of ransom money to rescue his baby brother, Donnell Porter, he met his untimely demise at the hands of Martinez. It is his spirit Puffy brings to the project as he asks the question, what if Rich Porter survived and applied his business sense to the legal game of corporate America. And for all intents and purposes, Puff Daddy could very well be the living answer to that question, at least as far where MMM takes us.

Unlike his past joints such as 2006’s Press Play and 2010’s Last Train To Paris with Dirty Money, where he plays around with different genres of music, there’s none of that here. Instead, MMM is a focused and imposing project that doubles as an unofficial soundtrack to the life of Rich Porter and a heralding return of Puff Daddy: the no nonsense, take no prisoners, champagne poppin, braggadocios music kingpin who ran the 90s. And his essence resides in MMM’s gangster movie soundscape, led by the Hitmen along with Harry Fraud and Mike Will Made It. It literally is the living embodiment of himself and the New York sound as the production takes itself very seriously. It’s what separates “Puff Daddy” from “Diddy FKA P. Diddy”. Even though you feel the essence of Comb’s commanding persona throughout the robust score, it doesn’t lead to nostalgia at all, but more like a re-introduction to a bigger, badder, and blacker Puff Daddy as he takes it back to the streets. And it all can felt from the jump with the opener, “Harlem”, as we ride with him across the neighborhood at 2am, peeking into his ambitious state of mind.

 His heavy handed approach can be felt across every song as delivers compelling rhymes about hustling in Harlem with songs like “Help Me” featuring the vocally impressive Sevyn Streeter. Never straying from the Money Makin’ Mitch theme, he pays his homage with lines like, “I’m from a hood where 14 bricks/Will have your homie try and do you like Po did Mitch.” After that, it’s an extravagant display of Puffy being swagged out to the nines, musically and lyrically. It’s the most focused energy from his music we’ve seen in a long time. Puffy, along with the Bad Boy Family pulls out all the stops and gets busy across tracks like the lavish “Auction”, the sinister and brooding “Everyday (Amor)”, and the anthem to the grind “Workin” featuring Big Sean and Travis Scott. And just like Rich Porter himself, he’s as serious about having a lavish celebrations as he is about taking care of business. And the apex of it all lies the title track “MMM”, a lit and booming track with exhibits some well-placed chemistry with King Los and Future. It’s so grand that it instantly flashes a montage of Mitch, Ace, and Rico partying up in 1986 (an idea for a video anyone?).

The best thing to appreciate from MMM is that for the first time in a long time, Puffy gives us a body of work that’s for the streets. MMM is a reminder of the imposing force of Puff that ran New York through the 90s without being forced to “relive” anything or to recapture any former glory, like many return-to-the-essence albums do. However, it does remind us of the nature of the beast that hasn’t been around in what seems like forever. With only 10 songs plus three skits, MMM leaves no room for error (except for the annoying “You Could Be My Lover”) as we see a revitalized Puff Daddy. It’s a glimpse of what the Bad Boy boss as in store for the future and if his supposedly final album No Way Out 2 is anything like this, then we should be expecting a grand album of epic proportions. Let it be known people, Puff Daddy is back.

Interview: Charlamagne Tha God Chops It Up About Hip Hop, His Rise, And Racism In America

InstagramCapture_15fcf93c-fff5-4ca5-9191-a873131ddcd9

 

Charlamagne Tha God will forever reign in hip-hop infamy as the prince of pissing people off, the ruler of rubbing people the wrong way as he calls himself. His brutal honestly that’s made him a strong radio personality today has been both a gift and a curse. However, through hard work and perseverance, he’s made his own lane for himself and carved him some nice real estate on Power 105.1 with The Breakfast Club, his Brilliant Idiots podcast with Andrew Shultz, and his new show, Uncommon Sense on MTV2.

I met him during my internship at Vibe at the Remy Martin Producer Battle during the summer and I was able to link up and chop it up with him. Good dude actually and a guy that’s consistent with his character.

In this interview which took place during the summer, he sits down and talk about his brutal honesty, the music he’s into, how socially conscious rap is coming back, and who are the few people left he wants to interview. Forewarning: this is interview is dated around late July/early August, before the Meek Mill and Drake beef, and immediately after the Dylan Roof shooting. I want to share this piece with you all because this is one of my bucket list interviews I always wanted to do. Hopefully someday I can interview him once again another time. Enjoy!

 

How does it feel to be a person a lot of young people look up to.

It f**ks me up, I ain’t gon front. It fucks me up and it kind of makes me think about what I’m putting out there in the atmosphere because I do want the next generation of black men, not just men, but just men in general to be better than our generation. Not saying that our generation is fu**ed up, but everything is supposed to evolve and be better. So it does make me think about the things that I put out there. I can only speak what’s in my heart. I can only speak about the experiences I been through and hopefully somebody learns from them, man.

What did it take for you come from the south and build so much for yourself in New York?

Honestly, one thing that’s universal is honesty and whether you agree with something a person says or disagree, if they’re being honest you can feel it and you can respect it. Even if you’re in your car you be like “that mothaf***a there Charlemagne be saying any goddamn thing! I mean that was some real s**t, I respect it but I don’t agree with it.’ So you gon have an opinion and that’s my thing. I don’t give a f**k if you agree or disagree. Know that it’s coming from an honest place and we can talk about it, we can share ideas. Like you just said, be skeptical but listen. Take everything from a grain of salt, that’s how I am with people. I respect everybody’s point of view even if I don’t agree with it. I respect everybody’s right to an opinion even if I don’t agree with their opinion. And I think that’s the way you have to be in life.

How did you develop such honesty?

You know what’s so funny? And this may sound crazy. Just in the past two years, three years, did I realize that’s what I was doing because I grew up that way. My father’s like that, my uncle’s like that, my mom is like that. We just keep it 100 with each other and we all grew up that way. Wax been with me for like, 16 years, that’s how we are! Like, we clown on each other, tease each other, like the s**t mothaf***as be getting mad over, we be like “you mad over that?” We used to clown each other for our parents getting evicted out the crib and s**t. Like, “let me find out your mom on crack”, nahh, nahh, not out here! They’ll clown you, you know what I mean? “Crackhead son, crackhead son!” Stupid s**t, so it’s like that’s how we came up. And even though it might be a joke, it’s the truth. Youse a crackhead son and we’d call you a crackhead son. I didn’t realize until mothafu***as started saying s**t to me like “Charlamagne tha God is known for his outspokenness and honesty”.

Because you always had it in you. Even in 2006 where you went at Buffie The Body. Ironically, you always spoke your success to existence.

I told her my mouth was gon take you further than you further than your butt. I still to this day don’t feel like I said anything wrong to her. All I simply asked her was, don’t you want to be known for more than your body? Don’t you want to be known for your brain? Why no Buffie the Brain? What’s gon happen when you get older and the ti**ies start to sag and the a** start to drop? “I’mma go get more butt shots!” To me, that wasn’t even a diss, it was the truth! Like, right now if I was to ask a girl that, I bet she’d have an answer! You hear girls say that now, “I don’t want to be known for just my body. I don’t want to be known for just a video model.” It’s just the truth.

Let’s talk about music for a second, because I notice that you listen to a different kind of variety of artist that a lot of people don’t catch just yet. Who do you listen to right now?

Right now, I’m listening to that Meek Mill, I love Meek Mill s**t. I love King Los s**t. I still love To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick [Lamar]. You know I’m a huge fan of Tink. I love Tink and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her album. Timbaland let me hear that like two months ago. I think they’re going back in but the album I heard was best s**t I’ve heard all year, even after all the s**t I heard that’s come out. And she’s a female rapper. I don’t even be on female rappers like that, but I just like what she stands for. She’s got a message with her music and she’s just really dope with the lyrics and the songwriting. I love Killer Mike, I love Gunplay. Can’t wait for Gunplay’s new album. And I love Miguel. I love Miguel and I love Leon Bridges, he’s dope too. That’s who’s I’m really bumping right now. Miguel, Leon Bridges, Meek Mill, Tink’s s**t, and Future

Who is Leon Bridges for those who don’t know?

Leon, I don’t know who he’s signed to. You know what’s so funny? My home girl Leti, Leti Martinez she sent me his album. I haven’t see any interviews from him or anything about who he is or what he’s about. I just know that he’s got this old school flow. He’s not a rapper he’s a singer, but he just got an ill old school vibe. He’s just dope. That’s the type of person I am. If you send me some s**t and it’s dope I’ll f**k with it. I don’t even think too hard about it.

So based on this era, do you feel that socially conscious music is coming back?

Oh yeah, absolutely. Without question. You think about Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Wale, Big K.R.I.T. they’re all talking about what’s going on right now. Their music is reflecting the times. They’re very socially conscious with the messages and s**t that they deliver. I been said that though. We’re in a new hip-hop golden era and the people that don’t think so are either old school a** mothaf***s who still wear baggy denim shorts with Timberlands and they’re stuck in that late 80s, 90s era or they’re just mothaf***as who’s mad that their man ain’t on because we’re in a great era right now. You got people from everywhere. You got people from New York, you got people from the West Coast, you got people from Down South. Even Canada! The Midwest! It’s a little bit of something for everybody. If you’re still complaining about hip hop and hip hop being dead, you’re really not paying attention to what’s going on out here. Them days are over! There ain’t supposed to be another Big Pun! It’s not supposed to be another Jay-Z! It’s not supposed another Biggie Smalls. It’s time for the J Coles, it’s time for the Kendricks, the Wales, the J. Coles, the Big Seans, the Tinks. It’s time for some new s**t! S**t evolves! We don’t want another Michael Jordan, we want Lebron James. We don’t want a mothaf***in Dr. Jay, you want Kevin Durant. S**t changes! That’s the way the game is supposed to go.

The flag came down in South Carolina recently and a lot of people don’t understand the racial background and this history behind it. Talk about South Carolina for a second.

It’s funny because growing up whenever I used to see the flag I would automatically stereotype and profile people and say that they were a racist redneck. And then as I got a little older I started to realize that some of these kids wear it as a fashion statement. And then you even have black guys who used to flip it and bounce it and do as a red, black and the green. But my whole life I looked at is as a symbol of hate. I never looked at it as a good thing and so for me to see it come down, I love it. And for anybody who says “ahh the flag coming down don’t mean s*8t because racism still exists” you’re absolutely right. But anytime you get a chance to piss off a mothaf***ing racist, take it! Be mad, mothaf***a! That flag came down, you mad or nah mothaf***a! F**k you! And the beautiful thing I like about it now is that it’s so many people whose racism is being exposed and they’re really are mad that the flag came down. Right now if you know what people think when they see that flag, if you see the kind of people that represent that flag, the KKK, white supremacists, if you see them with that, mothaf***as like Dylann Roof who look at it as a symbol for people like that. If you see that those people represent that flag and if you want to represent it, you’re a piece of s**t and you’re probably a racist.

What about in the case of people like Kid Rock who’s been dealing with black folks for decades and gave back to the city of Detroit?

It’s his choice if he still want to represent it, but he’s full of s**t because you came up damn near off hip hop culture. I though Kid Rock was a rapper for the longest and I mean he has the right to represent what he wants to represent, but like I said anybody who knows what that flag stands for and you know how we feel about that flag, for you to flaunt it in our face and say fuck it? I gotta look at you like you’re a racist, I gotta treat you accordingly. The truth to the matter is if you don’t give a f**k that I feel this way then I don’t give a fuck about you. That’s just the truth to the matter.

If you could interview one person alive and one person dead whether it’s for Brilliant Idiots or The Breakfast Club who would they be?

To be honest with you, I don’t think it’s nobody alive but the two people that are dead would be Jesus and Tupac. Because I just want to know, and this may sound crazy, but I just want to know what the hype is all about. I wanna make sure he was everything he was advertised as. And Tupac just because he’s the illest to me. I just think he’s dope. His character was dope. His character has been imitated and duplicated, but you know, he was one of a kind. And I just want to know what was really on his mind? What was his mindset was like. I would love that, Tupac and Jesus. To me, there’s really nobody alive. I kind of gotten everybody I wanted to alive.

Not even Drake?

Nahh I don’t care. That’s not on my list at all. It’s whatever. If he wants to come by The Breakfast Club, cool.

That’s going to get the most hits out of everything you guys have done.

And I’mma stay consistent with everything I’ve been saying. I’m not a fan, I like when you rap, I don’t like when you sing. When you rap and get on some hard s**t, I don’t believe you. I’m like whatever, I’m not big on him. Certain joints I like, I like “Energy”.

Because ultimately he’s not for everybody.

Nobody is! There’s nobody that’s for everybody. He’s just not my cup of tea. I’d rather listen to Kendrick. I’d rather listen to J. Cole, I’d rather listen to Wale, I’d rather listen to Big Sean, I’d rather listen to Krit, Killer Mike, Gunplay, Jeezy. My top five favorite rappers are Nasir Jones, Sean Carter, T.I., Jeezy, and Killer Mike. Where does Drake fit into that equation for me? That just ain’t my thing, I don’t knock nobody who’s into it, but it ain’t my thing.

Check Out “Habits” by D.O.L.O.

Check out the homie D.O.L.O., a dope up and coming artist straight out of Jackson, Miss. by way of Saginaw, Mich. He just dropped his new video “Habits”. Everybody can relate to this track!

To learn more about him, click here

http://sites.jsums.edu/jsuflash/2014/04/03/jackson-state-alum-d-o-l-o-releases-third-mixtape/

To hear more of his music, check out his soundcloud

http://dieoncelive1nce.bandcamp.com/