3: Oswin Benjamin, Locksmith And Dead Prez
This is my first time hearing about or hearing Oswin Benjamin, but this cat is def a Dead Prez disciple. His verse is filled with social and political commentaries. I've heard of Locksmith, but haven't peeped any of his work yet. The Cali emcee spits with an evolved spoken word flow as he continues the theme of social commentary. And of course Stic and M-1 round up the politically charged set with their brand of intellectual wordsmithing (is that a word?). Overall it was great to see these emcees use such a public event to speak on something more substantive than whips, jewels and chicks.
2: Millyz, Jaz the Rapper, Your Old Droog, John John Da Don And Chris Rivers
I have no shame in saying that I KNOW NOTHING JOHN SNOW when it came to about 3/5 of the cats in this cypher. Honestly this group only caught my eye off of the strength of Your Old Droog and Chris Rivers. But I was extremely surprised with the whole collective. Millyz starts the cypher off with some clever wordplay but takes a drastic turn and dedicates the rest of his verse to police brutality and racial tensions. Jaz follows up with a solid flow, and probably my favorite verse from the female rappers. Droog jumps in the cypher with his cool laid back cadence juxtaposed with tough metaphors and Brooklyn flow. John John Da Don takes the baton and holds him own while being put between the two strongest lyricists in the cypher. And as you know, you end the cypher with your strongest emcee. Chris Rivers proves just that as this young emcee takes over the track and flips his flow so many times it'll make your head spin.
1: Peedi Crack, Neef Buck, Omillio Sparks and Freeway (and.....)
Man, I've been a fan of Peedi since the the early oughts. The Puerto Rican spitter stood out in the State Property click (besides Freeway of course) since his breakout track "One for Peedi Crakk". Neef and Sparks follow up with cyphers that compliment each other perfectly. You can tell this whole collective has been around each other for years. The cyphers play off of each like an actual single. Freeway was the first artist Beanie Sigel brought with him to Roc-A-Fella. Appearing on Jay Z's "1-800-Hustler" (off of The Dynasty: Roc La Familia), Freeway became the second in command in Beans' State Property family. So it makes sense that Freeway would end this State Property cypher. Now damn near 40, the Philly emcee hits you with a less aggressive cadence but proves that with age comes wisdom. And this is what we call making a smooth transition. The BET cyphers are known for having that "oh snap" moment. This year there were a few, but my favorite was seeing none other than State Property's capo, Beanie Sigel, casually stroll into the cypher after Freeway. Beans dropped so much knowledge and wisdom (callback to said smooth transition) that he took ALL these young social media rappers to school. Beans sprayed a buck shot towards all these dress wearing, skinny jean sagging, hair coloring, Instagram gangster rappers. Two years ago Beanie Sigel was the unintentional victim of a drive by shooting. During the complicated surgery to save his life, Beans lost a lung. All that background is to help you understand how the Broad Street Bully ended the cypher with the HARDEST bars of the night: "Its the realest, the bully, here I come/ The cypher I just murdered them with one lung".
I'd also recommend peeping the set with Dave East because the kid went HARD. But he was surrounded by a bunch of simple bars..so..yeah. East should have def been the last to spit. Especially over Young M.A., but I did see an article title saying she was mad because her set was cut (don't know if that woulda helped). There was also a real cool Bell Biv DeVoe reunion with Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe jumping on the mic. But again, other two youngins in that cypher were sub par. And the cypher with Consequence and Jidenna was also dope. Unfortunately the other rappers where spitting to some kind of tempo, just not to the beat they were given. But Jidenna may surprise those who just know him as the "Classic Man". But if you've seen him on Luke Cage or peeped his other work, you know this is a multi-talented dude.