Hello hello, loyal EARMILK followers, so glad you could join us. Today, we have something little bit new for you to chew on as you work your way through this dreadful post-Super Bowl week. Instead of your usual dose of mix and mastered music, feast thine ears on a raw freestyle cypher.
Brought you by 199Z, this cypher features four up and coming Toronto talents doing their best to rip the mic to pieces. And while we respect Justus, Izzy, Sola and Lex Lois for throwing down a verse, EARMILK isn’t the kind of place that awards participation. Hip-hop thrives in competition and far be it from us to rob the genre of that edge. Below, you will find a critique and breakdown of each lyricists’ work followed by our thoughts on who won the day. Peep the efforts below:
First up, we have Justus from Downtown Toronto.
Justus did a fine introduction to the cypher with his strong effort but didn't do much else. It’s not to say the guy was bad, far from it, but he lacked any presence on the beat. From a lyrical perspective, Justus was quite witty. He had a few solid punchlines (the Israel line, in particular, was clever) and strung them along well. As far as flow as concerned, he was equally solid, though he fell off the beat while delivering that Heisman line. Ultimately, Justus didn’t come hard enough to make an impact. Clever punches and a strong flow are great but not if you don’t have the confidence to bring them together.
Next up, Izzy from Scarborough.
Similar to Justus, Izzy’s presence was sorely lacking. In all honesty, he seemed intimidated when Justus passed him the mic, and that showed in his verse. Lyrically, Izzy was a bit shallow as well. He stuck on the same popular topics that permeate hip-hop these days (money, clothing, women) but didn’t add anything new to the conversation. On top of the lackluster lyrics, Izzy’s flow was boring. This comes back to his lack of confidence, but his verse was the type that makes it easy to quit watching the video or switch to another tab until he’s finished.
Third on the list is Sola from Brampton.
Like Izzy before him, Sola spit about the same old rap tropes without adding anything new to the conversation. At least when Justus spit his verse, he peppered it with clever little punches, but Sola here was downright boring. On top of his lack of any lyrical substance, his flow felt tired. The first few bars of his verse found him emphasizing the last word too much like he was trying way too hard. After a minute he caught his groove and improved on things, but by that time he was nearly finished.
Last but not least, we’ve got Lex Lois from York.
Right from the jump, it’s clear Lex is the best of the group. As soon as the beat drops, Lex dives in head first and leaves everything on the proverbial court. Her lines were complex, her flow dynamic and her delivery ferocious. If you get to the point in a cypher where you spit so hard you run out of breath, you’re putting in the right amount of effort.
Unlike the rest of the crew, Lois grabbed your attention with her verse. It’s not like she was spitting insane multiples or dropping hilarious one-liners, but she forced you to listen. And when you’re fighting for viewers attention, that quality is indispensable.
It’s dope to see a handful of young rappers putting themselves out there in a cypher. Freestyling is hard as fuck, especially when doing it in front of peers. That said, Lex walks away with the crown for this cypher. While the rest of the gang dropped average or worse verses, Lex showed up with confidence and snatched the trophy for herself the second she grabbed the mic.
199Z is aiming to release one of these cyphers every week throughout February so be sure to keep it locked right here on EARMILK if you dug the performances above. Also, shouts out to YogiTheProducer for providing the beat!
That’s our thoughts on the matter, but what do you think? Think Lex Lois deserves the crown or does it belong to somebody else? Let us know in the comments below!