Since the start of 2019, rap cyphers have been on some form of renaissance and that is exactly what the culture needs. Hip hop in Nigeria is enjoying reinvigorated spark over the past 12 months and rap cyphers are playing a consequential role in that.
Few musicians get to a certain level in their carrier where their major moves most often spark chain of reactions on the scene. One of the fortunate few when it comes to hip hop in Nigeria is rapper M.I. Abaga. When in 2017 he recessed the polarizing single “you Rappers should fix up your lives”, his words triggered a community of rappers rushing to studios to drop a response and state their case.
Fair to say, two years down the line some of them decided and indeed fixed up their lives. In January 2019 M Abaga along side rappers A-Q, loose Kaynon and Black Bonez again teamed up on the Lamb cipher and outside sparking some ugly reactions. It has also pushed other rappers in that cipher direction.
With the second month of the year just coming to its end, there have been dozens of ciphers released both from recongised acts and upcoming talents like the fresh boy 1897 cyphers. But while there is none that has caused as much excitement as that of Lamb cypher, they all have been unique in bringing something interesting to the scene.
Cyphers have always been a part of the fabric of the Nigerian pop rap scene, especially since its evolution in the late nineties. The likes of SWAT Roof Assemble, a collective of rappers based in Abuja featuring the likes of Mode nine, Terry That Rapman, Overdose, six for plus and pherowshaz constantly releasing videos of their studio free style sessions.
The hit single ‘Oya’ by Da Trybe started off as a free style extended to introduce the new members of the clique while the Bet cypher that featured for the first time a select number of Nigeria, rappers in 2011 remains a watershed moment in the history of the art form.
Cyphers are as old as the culture itself but as the chase for commercial acclaim gets intensified, so also did we witness the neglect of that part of the culture, but we really can’t do without these ciphers as they play a defining role in the growth of strengthening of the genre especially the under ground scene.
The five reasons why rap cultures are good for the Nigerian music are:
- They contribute significantly towards the survival and sustenance of hip hop.
- They provide a level playing field for all classes of rappers as it requires little or no monetary or material impact to bring to life.
- The spontaneity of ciphers help to retain the authenticity that is a major feature of rap as an art forum.
- Hip hop has excelled the most as an organic culture unbound by industry rules and ciphers provide the broken down gates where competition is allowed to thrive at its best and the fans usually play an active part at times deciding The winder which sparks some level of attention and cult following.
- Cypher also provided grounds where rappers can build a reputation and make a name for themselves.