Hip-hop cyphers are a lost art. It needs to be said. These freeflowing groups of MCs improvising and playing off each other, once a mainstay of the genre’s culture, have become rare. It’s a sad decline when the BET Awards have the best examples of cyphers gone right.
Tonight Hip-Hop Nation, UNC’s hip-hop culture appreciation club, will be hosting its second Pit Spit, an essential renaissance of true hip-hop and cyphering in the middle of campus, the first of which was held this April. Any fledgling rappers are invited to partake in the event alongside some of North Carolina’s premier hip-hop artists.
“When I was a freshman, Hip-Hop Nation did something called Cypher Fest,” said senior and HHN President Berk Ozturk. “They never brought enough rappers. There would be two guys that would be really good, and a bunch of other guys that could spit five bars but couldn’t hold their own. So what it turned into was a battle between these two guys, not a Cypher Fest.”
When Ozturk, who took control of the club his junior year, was planning on the first Pit Spit in the spring, he enlisted some of the leaders of the local hip-hop scene to grace the mic and maintain the flows.
“M1 Platoon came out and brought a couple guys, and some of Kooley High came out,” Ozturk said. “There were also a couple guys from campus, so there was like 10 people, and it worked really well,” he said. An audience of about 40 also turned up, despite impending exams.
Durham’s M1 Platoon and part of Raleigh’s Kooley High will again be present, while breakdancing crew Mighty Arms of Atlas will “vibe out” during the two hour event.
Also on hand will be HHN founder and Chapel Hill rapper Kaze.
“Carolina is where I was able to spread my wings and even work toward being where I am today,” Kaze said. “This is one of those events that helps you find your way and helps hone your skills.”
With Ozturk still hoping to add members from producer 9th Wonder’s camp, such as Big Remo or GQ (Quentin Thomas) to the lineup, UNC’s up-and-coming talent will get the chance to spit alongside some legitimate names.
“If that happened we’d have pretty much all of N.C. hip-hop in the Pit,” he said.
Ozturk also hopes to use the strength of tonight’s event to draw more people to future HHN events, such as a showing of the recent Big Pun documentary, “The Legacy,” Tuesday evening in Greenlaw.
And HHN’s weekly meetings draw a diverse crowd.
“The people that come to our meetings either have their niche in hip-hop they really like, or they don’t know that much,” said Ozturk, who produces under the name B Logik and has had songs featured on Web sites such as AllHipHop.com. “We even have people who come out and play us new tracks they recorded or produced.”
But besides promotion, Ozturk just wants to liven up the Pit.
“We got a great time to catch the class, dinner and study crowds and we got a bunch of dope artists,” Ozturk said. “It’ll be cool for people to see their friends performing on the spot with all these MCs.”
Contact the Diversions Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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