This is the end, our Hip-Hop friends. This is the end, our cypher friends, the end.
Apologies for being a bit dramatic, but it’s a sad day. This is the last cypher breakdown. Yes, you read that right, we have reached the final cypher in 199Z’s Cypher series (insert crying emojis here).
Luckily for you (and us), we get to go out with a bang. This last cypher is chock full of talent spitting their very best and, like always, you’ve got us to break it down and crown a winner.
So, without further ado, let’s meet our contestants!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, put your hands together for….Dijah SB from North York.
Dijah did her thing on this one. Even though she varied her rhyme structure, she kept a consistent cadence and delivered some great lines. That Kyle/Kyrie line is arguably one of the best lines we’ve seen in this 199Z series.
Dijah didn’t bring an overpowering presence to the table here, but she spits with enough consistency and fluidity to make her stand out from the rest of the MCs. If she can sprinkle in a little more ferocity into her next cypher, she’ll be tough to topple.
Next up on the list is Fame Holiday from Mississauga.
Okay, let’s get one thing straight here, Holiday is a talented cat. He can rap and structure a verse, but unfortunately, he allowed his talents run away with him. Holiday committed a vexing sin that many of his contemporaries commit these days, which, for this write-up, we’ll call lyrical dissonance. In layman’s terms, he ends his lines with the wrong words.
Now, Holiday didn’t do this every line, but he did it enough to where it throws the listener off. Take for example, this bar: “Made it here without a deal, no cosign no big features/ Cut off all the deadweight, know too many moving like leeches/ Sold out my first show, ended that/ man it’s crazy when you came from nothing/ said I couldn’t do it, told them they was buggin/.” So this isn’t an awful thing to do, but as you’re following along (especially while listening), you naturally expect the line after “leeches” to follow or rhyme with that previous line. Instead, Holiday strings together a few random lines that not only aren’t lyrically compatible with the previous but aren’t even the same speed.
As mentioned above, plenty of rappers today do this, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. It is possible to use it well, ie Kanye at the end of his verse on “Gorgeous” :'Cause the same people that tried to black ball me/ Forgot about 2 things, my black balls/” Now here, one would expect him to say something like “my black balls, G” because it would fit with the rhyme pattern and flow. However, he cuts it short which gives a feeling of discontent which is the overall aim of the lyric.
With Holiday, his heart is in the right place, as is his effort, but he’s not using this technique sparingly or wisely. He has tremendous promise, but right now, he is his own worst enemy.
And now, please welcome to the stage, Jape from Mississauga.
Without a doubt, Jape’s was the most consistent verse of the bunch. He rapped with a cool confidence and structured some solid and complex lines. That said, his was criminally short compared to his peers. This isn’t a quality v quantity situation, but one was to wonder, why did he just stop short? He was doing well, and I was intrigued to hear where that “50 shades” line would go, but then he just stopped.
Again, a short verse isn’t bad by default, but when you’re only rhyming for 29 seconds when everyone else is well over a minute, you don’t deserve the win.
Finally, put your hands together for JellyTooFly from North York.
Jelly came correct in her verse, but in the end, it felt far too lackadaisical to crown her the champ. For starters, it was hard to tell when she was actually spitting a verse. It’s pretty standard to talk a little trash or shout out a collective before a verse, but for Jelly, there was no distinction.
From there, she did rhyme well, but it just too slow. The laidback style can be a potent one, but when you’re freestyling against your peers, it doesn’t resonate as well as something with more oomph.
Kudos to her for putting in one of the longest verses of the set though. She eventually picked up the pace towards the end, but the beginning was just too slow and too sprawled out.
Let’s get right down to it, shall we, Dijah gets the almighty W on this one. Her verse was complex, varied and entertaining. She stayed on beat, spit for a good minute and ten seconds and cracked some great lines.
Everyone else, unfortunately, couldn’t match her level. Holiday was all over the place, Jape cut himself off too quick, and Jelly didn’t put enough energy into her verse. Much respect to everyone involved and the participants, but Dijah finished this cypher off with the best verse.