3 October 2017

Namibia: All Star Hip-Hop Cypher Unifies Industry

AN INTIMATE crowd of hip-hop enthusiasts, rappers and supporters were entertained by five local all star hip-hop acts and their lyrical prowess at the NBC Radio studios in Windhoek last Friday.

Hosted by poet, rapper and MC Harry who introduced Kp Illest, Lioness, Skrypt, The Boy Jay and Greg to the mic, the audience patiently waited for bars to drop.

Kicking off with Kp Illest performing a song off his new album, each rapper had the opportunity to dish out their portfolios with a song they have created before. It was a glimpse of what was yet to come and a time for each rapper to tell a little part of their story and what keeps the hip-hop culture alive to them.

Founded in 2015, The Cypher is the brainchild of hip-hop head Joonas Leskelä, which was first hosted at his former vibrant restaurant and arts café JoJo's featuring five rappers he believed best to spring this project - two of whom took to the stage again in the sixth all star edition.

Leskelä explained that starting out with their songs is a way to warm up the crowd before their raw talent shines through and takes over. This is a time when rappers engage with the skill part of rap and even though it's not about your style or swag, Leskelä said it's all about the individual's craft.

With a total of three rounds for each rapper, they had a few minutes at their disposal for improvisation. Kp Illest and The Boy Jay being the most consistent and moderately paced throughout all three rounds followed by only female rapper in the bunch, Lioness, then Skrypt who had quick bars.

Skrypt was not deterred by a sound glitch in the last few moments of his performance. Greg started off well with his catchy punchlines, but seemed to fall off a little towards the end.

Audience engagement at The Cypher shows what happens when you invite the right kind of people to an event. Filled with other rappers, from Brain The Tool to Rap Battle winner Travis Harvey, music producers and previous cypher attendees, the crowd was ready to exclaim, hold their heads in shock, laugh, support and applaud the all stars.

Organised by Leskelä alongside Harry, DJ Musketeer and Romeo Sinkala in conjunction with Freestyle Fridays, the aim is to bring The Cypher to the community to unify the industry.

With a hip-hop movement as young as ours, we can only keep an eye on these all stars to see what moves they will make next.

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