I was watching one of our posts last week which had a few cats freestyling in what looked like a basement.
This threw me back to days when rap in South Africa was not even seen as music by any broadcaster and it was pools of young kids in different locations who would congregate around a few that would be spitting rhymes or exchanging punchlines and metaphors in battles. This is how I built my name as a rapper and how the Skwatta Kamp name started growing. Myself, Shugasmakx and Masta Sip would be in the streets of Heidelburg,Tokoza,Leondale,Soweto Joburg and Braamfontein interrupting every ciapher with our flows in the name of a group called Skwatta Kamp, which the country would know as a seven man rap group in a few years.
Ciphers were the social media of of the day cause if you spit some dope rhymes in that circle or killed someone in a battle it would be shared in that hood. You'd be notorious and your name would carry weight in the hood,high schools and other rap clubs. Almost every hood had their own heroes and the debates would always be about who is the best from each hood. I remember cats going to different hoods to battle to claim the crown. This thing grew to an institutions and in Soweto Slaghuis was formed and there was an after school session at Ghandi Sqaure and who would forget YFM's Rap Activity...the original one. They were a few sessions in different hoods but these were the most popular
Do cats still care about this?
Rapping, deconstructed: The best rhymers of all time
Turn your pages to 2016 and nowadays you hardly hear anyone freestyling let alone people busting rhymes in a cipher. I know the rap culture has not died but it seems the culture has refocused its energy. You ask how well peep this.
In our time we constantly dissed radio cause we knew they would never play us, today cats diss radio cause they expect to be played.
In our time we would give the finger to business and brands cause we knew they wouldn't touch us, today rappers try keep a clean image so brands can keep money in their pockets.....even the baddest rapper today is conservative in comparison to our generation.
As gay as this sounds back then we were trying to impress guys with our rhymes, the cipher was not for girls maybe a few but it was mainly dominated by men that would be hollering like they have orgasms whenever someone had a punchline, nowadays you cant think of being a rapper without some girls in the picture,just compare the videos today and the ones we were watching back in the day.
Image or fashion is a big thing today and you have to be in with every type of brand but back then it was simple you were either rocking tims,bucket hats,Adidas or Nike.Today you still need these brands but now the rap image conversation has evolved to Gucci,LV,Hublot and I'll let you listen to a Kanye or Jayz album to get the rest of the brands.
If you run a survey and ask why people want to rap today the most common answer would be money. In the golden era rapping for money was disrespecting the culture. They were people or rappers making money of rap but to they wouldn't get on the mic and blatantly have a repetitive song that glorified money.Songs like Nas and Puff Daddy Hate Me Now were a response to naysayers that were crucifying them for their success. Today if you rapping and you don't have your money right you seen as stupid.
Back then the drug of choice was weed and anything beyond that was a taboo. Today anything goes from cocaine, nyoape,LSD and I'll let you listen to a song by ..... to get the names of the other drugs.
The glory of ciphers has been swallowed by the glory of prosperity. Its a bitter sweet victory cause we can now live of what we love but it also means that we'll now hear more unpolished artists cause the streets aren't driving rappers to be great anymore but the prospects of wealth so if it means sounding like the last guy who became rich to make it thats what we going see happening. So if you aske yourself why rappers sound the same nowadays this should answer your questions.