Fire in the Booth Cypher?

As many Rap fans in the UK will be aware there was a recent Fire in the Booth Cypher (the first ever in fact) featured on Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1 Rap Show.

It featured some of the UK’s most popular rappers today and no doubt they went in!    Nonetheless it called into question what a real ‘cypher’ is.  As was expressed in this GRM Daily post which shows an interesting twitter discussion between Swiss of So Solid Crew and Charlie Sloth himself.  In Swiss’ opinion in a ‘real cypher’ rappers don’t know what beat they’re going to be rhyming to.  Many would argue a step further and say that rappers shouldn’t even know what their rhymes are going to be either and should in fact be all off the top.

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What Jazz Taught Me About Hip Hop Part 2

So let’s talk a little more in depth about what Jazz taught me about Hip Hop.  In part 1 I explained how I came to the decision to gain a deeper understanding of Jazz.  Now let’s actually explain what it taught me.  First of all it’s given me a deep understanding of chords and chord progressions which has allowed me the ability to create music without being reliant on sampling other music.  I found that a lot of my favourite samples are that of Jazz and there are certain patterns consistent in Jazz that can be recreated in a Hip Hop format.  One example is that almost all Jazz chord progressions go down in fifths and often in the widely known ii V I chord progression.  What can be confusing about Jazz is that it very regularly changes key every 4 or so chords in a single composition so you may well hear different examples of ii V I progression or other chords going down in fifths often going back to resolve at the original key the piece started off in.
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Flow and Delivery VS Rhymes and Complexity

There is often a debate as to what is the most important aspect for a rapper. Flow and delivery vs rhymes and complexity.

A lot of rappers make this mistake when they get passed the beginners stage and start to really develop their lyrics beyond simply rhyming.  I myself have been guilty of this one in the past.Continue reading

Rap Battling VS Songwriting

There has been vast increase in popularity of battle rap over recent years.  This has lead to a debate over whether rappers should venture into rap battling vs songwriting.  I touched on this in an old post where I talked about the battle between Canibus VS Dizaster.

The rap battle scene has been growing steadily over the years.  There was a time when a battle was something that would break out spontaneously between rappers and it was often very improvised and less pre-planned.  Nowadays battles are far more scripted.  Many are setup as big events almost like boxing, with rappers going away weeks to months in advance reading up on each other preparing their disses for the big event.  Battling now seems to be far more of a separate entity from that of making rap songs.  If we were having this debate during the pre-youtube era it would be far more clear cut in favour of songwriting but with the growth and popularity of battling the answer is no longer so obvious.Continue reading