Thursday, October 14, 2010

G.O.O.D Music Cypher

Somehow the BET Awards outdid themselves on this year's incarnation of the Cypher series. No one else in the world, nor I, thought they could one-up the Mos Def/Black Thought/Eminem viciousness, but they did. I'm gonna start by going in on the world renowned G.O.O.D. Music cypher. BET definitely owes Kanye big for wanting to push his collective through their channel's otherwise crappy award show. And just to add a little flavor, I'll rank the performances of the emcees in each one.

Kanye West - Cypher 2010 #5 (feat. Pusha T, Big Sean, CyHi Da Prynce, & Common)

5. Common - Sorry, OG. The sucky thing is that I thought he performed an insanely great verse for seeming to be out of his element amongst these youngsters. The main thing he gets graded off for is the painful "the incomparable ... remarkable ... articles ..." dictionary reading in the early going. Ugh. But then he picks it up even with a recycled ESPYs bar. He personally struck a chord with the hardest with the "cold to myself" line. He ended it as strongly as possible "Requested from the the years I invested/Arrested, developed, addressed it, enveloped/the body of the black party from Farley to Bob Marley/Go home or go hard, at home is life hardly."

4. Pusha T - He did all he could, throwing around effortlessly smooth movie references (Book of Eli, Street Car Named Desire, Jerry McGuire) as well as slickly fluid song weavings of Bone Thugs, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and even his new label head. But the competition was just that sick. He kinda left it hanging though without that one stand-out punchline that cypher audiences so sickly crave. And it also doesn't help that he was the first to be introduced and everyone else after was able to eclipse him. Newbies first, I guess. "With good company, and better jewelers/to the good life, we G.O.O.D. Music ..."

3. Big Sean - Even though I wholeheartedly disagree with his LeBron-related championship ring prediction, Big Sean killed it as Pusha's follow-up. At that point, I was feeling like Sean was going to go down as the champ, hands down. That's how dope this cypher event was. He even through in a little change-of-pace on his goofy motorboating line, and that's especially notable because Sean is famous for never switching up his flow ever. Add that into his shock "wet dream" opening, his sick banana clips/guerrilla warfare line, admitting he watched last year's cyphers on his couch, and his Mercedes 700 CLK nastiness and you got yourself some pre-debut album hype "I'm Big L, Notorious, Big Pun/Shawn Carter, Sean Combs, and Connery all in one/Whoever told you sky is the limit is lookin' dumb/Cuz I'm 22 and I'm moonwalkin' on the sun."

2. CyHi Da Prynce - While he started off a little too simple with the bread/Quiznos line, he destroyed every bar from there out. Major ups for referencing himself as "MJ with the big nose", making a dually hilarious hanky/lanky rhymed, the "can't bleep it out" genitalia line, and the run-off of eight straight bars of rhymes starting with "flexible" and ending with "federal". Intrinsic rhymers, take notes. This was as big a coming-out party as you could get for a slick street spitter like CyHi. I'm sure 80% of the audience had never heard of him before. Mission accomplished. "Let me stop it, I forgot this was a big show/If bein' dope made ya broke, I am piss po'/I'm Big Poppa plus I'm 2Pacalypto/My mind is a weapon, what I need to pop a clip fo'?"

1. Kanye West - Could it be anyone else? Even though he cheated by spitting a freestyled intro and a sick closing verse (assumingly one from his new album). Just focusing on his closer ... it was perfect. There's not a guy who can put together such relatable and sick sounding bars like Kanye does so consistently. I don't know if it's because he has such gifted lyricists around him again such as Mos Def and Pusha replacing slackers like Jeezy and Wayne, but whatever it is happens to be working. He sets up the sickest childhood metaphor to his life remarking on him being an only child lost in the world, asking where the lonely kids go when the bell rings, and saying if he didn't have ends then he wouldn't have as many imaginary friends. His deeply thought reflection as well as vocal inflection play up the performance to an unimaginable degree. It's not the normal cypher braggadocio, but it definitely is Kanye West. And there's nothing out at the current moment better than that. "Fresh air, rollin' down the window/Too many Erkels on your team that's why your wins low (Winslow)/I sold my soul to the devil, that's a crappy deal/Least it came with a few toys like a happy meal."

... and Free Enes.

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