Another week, another freestyle cypher from the folks at 199Z. If this is your first time joining us, we’re breaking down the weekly ciphers going on at 199Z and not holding back with the critiques. Each week, a handful of young MCs step up to the mic to see who rips the hardest and who needs to sharpen their lyrical swords. And as we at EARMILK believe in the spirit of competition and criticism, each week we will break down the cypher and crown a winner.
Shall we begin? We shall.
This week's cypher kicks things off with LEO. from Hamilton.
It’s always a debate whether or not to go first in a cypher like this. For LEO., going first was without a doubt the right move. The Hamilton resident tore into his minute plus verse with both ferocity and wit, making his a tough act to follow.
Though LEO. got caught up once or twice with an overly complicated rhyme scheme, he handled himself well. His punches were smart, his lines pertinent and his pattern easy to follow.
LEO., like Lex Lois from last week, brought more than clever wordplay and flow to the table. For his verse, LEO. brought bravado, that X-factor that separates a good MC from a great MC. He attacked the mic like he walked right out of the golden age of Hip-Hop, taking clever jabs at competitors and playing around with the punctuation in his name.
A powerful way to start off the cypher.
Next up, Ray Hammond from Brampton.
Coming in after LEO.’s strong start, Brampton resident Ray Hammond had no choice but to bring the heat. Ray’s scheme did just that and then some, working an A-A-B-A structure and delivering lyrics both witty and thought-provoking.
Though he didn’t bring the level of confidence of the MC before him, Ray dropped one hell of a verse. His dynamic flow is enough to give him the crown for the week, and with that Plan B line at the end, it will be tough for Pinky to slide and take the W.
Closing things off for the day, we’ve got Pinky AFM from Scarborough.
Like Ray Hammond, Pinky AFM also used a more intricate rhyme scheme to separate himself from the pack. For his verse, Pinky primarily stuck with the tried and true A-B-A-B breakdown, giving structure to the beginning of his verse.
On top of his consistent scheme, Pinky threw in quite a few witty lines as well. His Stranger Things line was a touch too complicated, but he made it work, and his minor jab about salad dressing was also reasonably clever.
Overall though, Pinky didn’t bring enough force to his verse. It was a solid effort, but he let his rhyme scheme slide at the end. Couple that with a lack of stage presence and he, unfortunately, won’t take the crown for today.
Kudos to 199Z for this week’s cypher. While last week had a much more clear-cut winner, this week proved to be a challenge. Each MC went in on this Nate Smith produced beat, but only one can walk away with the crown. Though Pinky AFM opened with a consistent rhyme scheme, and LEO. stepped up with a confident attitude, the W goes to Ray Hammond. Ray dropped the most interesting verse with his A-A-B-A rhyme scheme. He was complex but didn’t let the lyrics run away from him and he still managed to sneak in some sharp punches here and there.
Shouts out to everyone who participated and 199Z for organizing the cypher.
Until next time folks.