When I composed my 2012 wish list, I made eleven pretty lofty requests and one that was pure snark. Among the sincere wishes, perhaps none was more of a stretch than to see underground hip hop gain a foothold in North Texas. At least that’s why I thought it was a stretch. It turns out five Dallas emcees struggled with the same goal about a year ago and decided to direct energies toward that end. The fruit of that struggle is now known as DFW Cypher, a grassroots collective with one goal: to lend a bullhorn to underground hip hop in DFW.
A cypher is nothing more than a huddle of emcees trading freestyle rhymes. Unlike a battle, there is no face-to-face exchange of ad-hoc insults, but there is the same rawness of being put on the spot. A good cypher gets at the root of what makes hip hop so engrossing: individuals out on a verbal tightrope. DFW Cypher’s aim is to use that tool as a way to promote the area’s hip hop.
DFW Cypher formed in the late winter of 2011 when Frank “ASAP” Torres, Justin “GOAT” Griffith, Julio “Kilo Art-of-Fact” Corderro, Kyle “Molek Ular” Elrod, and James “Jack Rabbit” Clark decided to film a cypher and upload it. That first video, filmed in a Kitchen and produced by Molek Ular, went so well that the same group decided to do it again, with a new roster of emcees. This time, they had the help of veteran videographer Teddy Cool, the only non-performer of DFW Cypher, who came on board after finding the first video. “I saw this cypher concept and [thought], ‘That’s dope. That’s exactly the kind of music I want to push forward in this community. It’s simple. It’s hip hop.’” To date, the group has produced five cypher videos and don’t plan on resting any time soon.
Shouts out to Poor Vida
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