The 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards aired yesterday and you know what that means: the cyphers have arrived. There were 6 cyphers total and I’ll review them all. All of the ratings will be based off of only THESE cyphers. Let’s get to it.
"Grand Hustle Cypher" (Trae Tha Truth, Chip, Iggy Azalea, B.o.B & T.I.)
Ok, wasn’t too impressed with this one. I was surprised to see Chip (formally Chipmunk) enter the ranks; his bars were ‘aight’. Iggy was unimpressive. B.o.B was corny; I still don’t think he deserves to stand next to people like T.I. and Trae in cyphers like these. T.I came through with a nice verse, always in control. Trae Tha Truth did his thing also.
T.I. > Trae Tha Truth > Chip > Iggy Azalea > B.o.B
"The True School" (Jean Grae, Sarkodie, Ab-Soul & Talib Kweli)
Wow, everyone came hard here. This really was “The True School”. My kind of cypher haha. I liked Jean Grae, but she had a hard time staying with the flow. She brought those veteran bars though. Sarkodie came hard; I always find it difficult to rank those artists that rap in a different language, especially one I don’t know. He held it down though. Ab-Soul definitely represented spitting some serious bars full of lyricism, as usual. Talib stole the show, also bringing his veteran flow. It’s too easy for him. Quotable: “I’m like Frank Ocean at Chick-Fil-A; I’ll never get served.”
Talib Kweli > Ab-Soul > Jean Grae & Sarkodie
"The Raw" (Sprite Hot 16 Winner Jay Bird the Purdi Boi, Hopsin, ScHoolboy Q, Mac Miller & Mystikal)
Well, congrats to Jay Bird the Purdi Boi for winning the contest, but to be honest, i thought he was corny. Like, if I won a contest that let me spit a quick 16 on TV, I would have spit the hardest BARS I’ve ever written, but he didn’t do that. He delivered a bunch of semi-witty couplets. I’ll pass. Hopsin DOMINATED as usual, delivering a lyrical verse that combined his cleverness wth his strange side. ScHoolboy had an OK verse, but there was no charisma. Mac Miller killed it with the flow, but his subject matter was just out there and I was uninterested. Mystikal was the most unique, but I don’t know if that was a good thing. He was off-beat, but somehow still on the beat? I don’t really know how to explain it, but he didn’t say much. He gets an A for charisma though. All in all, “The Raw” wasn’t that raw at all.
Hopsin > ScHoolboy Q > Mac Miller > Mystikal > Jay Bird the Purdi Boi
"Man With the Iron Fists" (Angel Haze, Joey Bada$$, Driiky Graham, Childish Gambino & A$AP Rocky)
Angel Haze came through and killed her verse. She has mad style and has some pretty decent bars. Joey Bada$$ did exactly what I thought he would: dominate. Super lyrical, with possessing a flow that is ridiculous for his age and a subject matter that lures you in, Joey outshined the rest. Driiky Graham is someone I had never heard of, but he definitely delivered. He is very clever and knows his way around a simile haha. At the same time, he seems like the type of rapper whose subject matter won’t appeal to me. *shrugs* I’m definitely an advocate of Childish Gambino, but he didn’t really bring it. He had few funny punchlines, but I really expected more. He was being him though; I respect that. A$AP Rocky was decent. Nothing really new from him.
This may have been the toughest cypher to judge, but:
Joey Bada$$ > Driiky Graham & A$AP Rocky > Angel Haze > Childish Gambino
"The West Coast" (Xzibit, YG, Kurupt, E-40, DJ Quik, Kendrick Lamar & Snoop Lion)
I really did not expect Xzibit to bring the pain like he did, but he was absolutely amazing. Incredible message, in control of his flow, spittin’ that fire! I am definitely impressed. YG didn’t come with anything and I guess I didn’t expect anything. He really didn’t belong on that XXL cover. Kurupt came through with some average bars; I wasn’t too impressed. But, I guess I’m still expecting bars like, “If Kurupt gave a fuck about a bitch, I’d always be broke…” haha. He definitely stayed old school with his flow though. E-40 flowed off-beat as usual. He gave me a few chuckles, but he’s never been my type of rapper. His verse was just all over the place. Not for me. First of all, shout out to DJ Quik for being able to pound the beat while spitting a verse. His verse was nothing to get excited about, however. Kendrick stayed in his lane and murked his verse. His style, subject matter, and flow stay very consistent. I like it, but I wonder if people will get bored. I guess we’ll see how his album turns out. Snoop Lion rounded out the cypher by keeping it G. It honestly seems like he is the only one in all the cyphers who actually freestyled. Props for that. He turned in a nice verse, too.
Xzibit & Kendrick Lamar > Snoop Lion > Kurupt > DJ Quik > E-40 > YG
"The Ruff Ryders" (Murda Mook, Cassidy, Eve & DMX)
Murda Mook was VERY clever and I could here a lot of intelligence in his words. He mixed in a lot of political substance and it definitely worked. He held it down. I told my homie before we watched this that Cassidy would murder this cypher. His subject matter was on point and he also spit with intelligence. He showed once again that he’s one of the best spittas out there. It was very good to see Eve rapping again. She came through with a hard verse, one better than anything Nicki Minaj ever put out. I hope she drops more music. DMX was similar to Mystikal in this one…idk he’s way too spastic for me and I think he’s past his prime. His verse wasn’t impressive, but that’s just my opinion.
Cassidy > Murda Mook & Eve > DMX
Rankings of the first place rappers in all the cyphers:
Joey Bada$$ & Xzibit > Cassidy & Kendrick Lamar > Talib Kweli > Hopsin > T.I.