One of the special things all Hip Hop fans look forward to every year, are the BET Cyphers. Some years the hip hop anticipation is too much to contain.
After a few months of Hip hop’s siege in the most unexpected and impactful way by Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Contro’l Verse, the backlash verses from fellow rappers, particularly the raw response from the gifted Papoose, to hear that TDE, a rap group of arguably the strongest and most talented individuals in the game, Kendrick Lamar, School Boy Q, Jay Rock and AB Soul, were going to be doing a BET Cypher of that year, I could barely contain my anticipation; and so was the Hip Hop world.
What kind of magic was the gifted Kendrick going to sprinkle this time around? Was he still ready to juggle them both, was he going to dare them all, King of New York, King of the Coast, was he going to call his equally talented rival rappers by name? It was the only conversation Hip Hop was having. Kendrick Lamar, the young Beetle, the best thing Hip Hop has had in at least 10 years surpassed the Cypher expectations and took that Cypher to its highest level possible. If there was any doubt about whether he could outperform his ‘Control’ verse, that Cypher performance was our answer.
But before Kendrick closed the Cypher with his inspired verse, his fellow TDE members had their turns to show just why their individuality has been much bigger than the group. Personally, this was the first time meeting the full TDE group and I have never been more impressed.
I can remember that Cypher in almost separate but complete moments. It’s like visiting your hot girlfriend only to discover that she has two other equally hot sisters that are equally a pleasure to meet and to know. TDE is without a question an assemble of rap’s purest.
Among the TDE stars, here, I met Schoolboy Q.
A Cypher is a purest form of rap, a rapper in his most raw space, a rapper and a beat. It takes a fit of a special kind to come across more than just a rapper. I picked up something musical about Schoolboy Q, like an artist whose thoughts can’t fit the painting. There is so much more I can do with this, it is in that moment that I went into the streets, looking for Schoolboy Q’s body of work.
Like a man who promised that he’d be everything he said he’d be, out there, schoolboy Q was placing rap as an important piece of the bigger puzzle, music. The future of music, of rap, will always rest on the shoulders of those who consider themselves musicians. When I heard ‘man of the year’, a song school boy Q shares with the Chromatics, I knew that he is going to outlast many of his peers.
It is that sense I got from our own Casper Nyovest, particularly what he does with Doc Shebeleza. The little piece of coincidence that Schoolboy Q actually looks like Casper, makes for a good indulgent moments. The kinds of collaborations I expect Schoolboy Q to make fill me with heightened expectations. I expect him to push hip hop boundaries a little, with a little experimental hip hop moves, without taking the soul out of hip hop.
Hip Hop has become one of the most Musical genre’s in music today and the explanation for that is its leading artist who are not only fans of Hip Hop but fans of music. Schoolboy Q has shown a great ear for music one can imagine his tour bus playing smooth ballads of Hozier, or Sam Smith or Jhene Aiko, because all music comes form that one special place of inspiration, the desire to create, the edge to make something that wasn’t there before.
The beautiful fact that Schoolboy Q’s debut album, Oxymoron, released February 24 2014 debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, affirms this fact that even us as fans of music, we are ready to put our money where the most talented and the hardest working artists are. Oxymoron, led hit singles “Yay Yay”, “Collard Greens”, “Man of the Year”, “Break the Bank” “Studio” and “Hell of a Night, with “Collard Greens”, “Man of the Year” and “Studio” all charting on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, is worth every penny.