How a small group of MCs started the Largest Monthly MC Cypher in South Florida

noun: cypher

  1. a secret or disguised way of writing; a code.”he was writing cryptic notes in a cipher”
  2. a zero; a figure 0.
  3. “A cypher or cipher is an informal gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or break-dancers in a circle, in order to jam musically together. The term has also in recent years come to mean the crowd which forms around freestyle battles, consisting of spectators and onlookers.

If your an MC or BBoy you are familiar with the term and have probably participated in a number of them. A Cypher is usually the first setting where most “rappers” get to showcase their skills in front of an Audiance. Wether it be at your school lunch table with one of your boys banging beats on the table top; a public park with some one beat boxing to provide a  tempo to spit over; or some parking lot, with a crowd surrounding a car playing beats; the Freestyle Cypher has been a beacon attracting those who practice the art of Rhyme since the beginning of Hip Hop. It is the proving ground for MC hopefuls who have been writing or spitting off the top in the privacy of their homes, honing their talents In hopes of one day “Rocking a crowd” with there skills. It’s easy to think your best when its just you and a beat in your crib, but how well will you do in a circle of other hungry spitters looking for a chance to outshine and crush whoever thinks their better than them? The Cypher is the first real test for any rhyme addict who has aspirations of rocking a mic. Writing and Freestyling on your own is test prep, The Cypher is the S.A.T.

My first official involvment with the South Florida Hip Hop scene was holding a weekly cypher with some co-workers in the front yard of my apartment in Kendall. Within a month this small gathering of 3 or 4 MCs grew to a crowd which averaged around 20 spitters on any given Thursday. The word spread about the “Thursday Night Cyphers” at H2O’s crib in Kendall and pretty soon we were up to over 30 heads gathered around on my small lawn, and countless other onlookers. One night we had a head count of 75 in attendance. To this day I don’t know how the Cops weren’t called out to break up the mob. That day we had the honor of having Kendall Legend Mr. Mic Ripper in attendance and witnessed him tear up a young mc by the name of Steve Ripper just for taking part of his name. It was a historical moment for all of us, we were actually creating Local Hip Hop history. Some Miami greats such as SERUM, SHOTTIE, SOARSE SPOKEN, RUDI GOBLIN, APAKALYPSE, PARABLE, LOGIX ( ArtOfficial) started making a name for themselves in  those rhyme sessions. When I invited my boys over to kick some rhymes while we listened to the Thursday Night Hip Hop Shop on WVUM,  I never imagined it would grow and impact as many as it did.

MC Serum going 1 vs 2 agains Jin and SOS of Cunninglinguist at the Polish American Club.

That was in 1998-99. Fast forward 20 years and the South Florida Hip Hop scene has exploded and is a thriving community of creatives from West Palm Beach to Key West. However, it seems to be a trend that as Rap Artist grow In their careers, they tend to stop associating with the Organic Gatherings that started them on their journey. This being the case, large public Cyphers have been a rare event in So Flo for the past 10 years. Would be MCs traded the Freestyle Cyphers for open mics and pay to play showcases. Now rookies premier their rhymes on SoundCloud for some likes rather than in front of a crowd of peers that will either show their approval by reacting to your bars, or their disapproval by cutting you off savagely mid rhyme. This tradition was meant to weed out the weak and shine light on those who had the skills to represent the community. It is a vetting process that is needed in this era of Hip Hop more than ever. But who would step up and start organizing these kinds of meeting of the minds again?

KALAMATY of #CipherInTheCircle

I’d like to introduce you all to Kalamity, who with the help of some friends and an unexpected Underground Hip Hop Legend, has organized what is quickly growing as South Florida’s Monthly MC Cypher. #CipherInTheCircle.

Breeze Evaflowin setting off the Cipher In The Circle September Edition

#CyphLyfeBlog had the pleasure of interviewing Kal and getting some insight on how he got this snowball rolling in Broward County and what their vision is for the future.

WVCC: So the first time I met you, you were a totally new Face in the Local Hip Hop scene, atleast to me. How long have you been writing and spitting?

Kalamity: I actually started late November last year, I started with Jordan better known as Cablewraps. I haven’t really written anything just spitting and memorizing things that rhyme, my first real written was that one I spit at catalyst. I’m more of a poetry writer than a rapper.

WVCC: Dope. I started with poetry too. Thank God for My elementary teacher forcing us to write a poem as homework. Lol.  How long had you been dabling with poetry?

Kal: Poetry I started writing in high school senior year. Just out of boredom. I always loved syllables.

WVCC: That verse you kicked at Saturday Mic Live at Catalyst and the Last Cipher In The Circle was Fire bro. Props on that. Was that your first time spitting in front of a crowd?

Kal: Yeah it actually was beside the cipher crowd, I was so nervous I don’t think I made any eye contact. Yeah I don’t like that at all, I prefer being in the background.

WVCC: Brother I have been rhyming in public since I was 15 and I still have a problem making I contact. It’s actually one of the big things I’ve learned I have to work on from watching the Cipher In The Circle footage. Since we are on the topic of playing the background. I was surprised to hear that you are the brains behind CITC. When I first linked with y’all I thought it was Breeze or Cable who was organizing the Cyphers, but they were quick to toss the blame on you. Lol.  Being that you’ve never really rapped In public before, what gave you the idea to start hosting a monthly Cypher?

Kal: Yeah holy crap that is a tough thing to do. The only reason I started was this girl broke my heart so it was either self destruct or create and forget, and I started dabbling and doing everything, I was drawing, writing, doing photography and videography while learning to edit. That’s when I started freestyling with Jordan (Cable Wraps) and that was fun so I was like I should combine all this shit I’m doing. It started out with 3 friends idk if I can call em out on here but I will if it’s cool, and a camera and then Breeze got wind of it, hear his story lol and then FamousAngel got involved and started helping me grow it and now it’s a giant snowball we all know and love. Honestly I never thought it’d get this far, I’m so thankful for Breeze and Angel and of course CableWraps. They helped me more than I can ever give thanks.  I just had a creative idea they helped bring it into reality.

WVCC: Wooooww…so this all started with you and 2 friends just kicking frees? When did you guys say, “Let’s take this to the Public”?

KAL:  Yeah lol, we took it public after like the 4th session, it was Breeze, CableWraps, Kosi Victor (Props and Bonds/ Silent Hand) this girl named Mady and Tara Britt was there earlier but left, Tara Brit and Mady was 2/3 of the originals and Mark was the 3rd. Breeze Kosi, Cable and I was talking about it after that session. Kosi talked about the old days when Ciphers used to be more common and Breeze and I just talked about how to get the music playing in public. And then boom that first session at Young Circle went down. It was Breeze, Cigar, Jacob, Fat Swaggy Bastard, and Da Great Brandoni just came outta nowhere and just dropped heat. Oh and this dude named Mister J as well. Cablewraps appeared later and ripped it.  After that first public session we knew there was something special happening.

WVCC: Yeah man…Being a member of “The Old Days”, I can tell you this is something that was Sorely missed and I can’t thank you enough for putting action behind your idea.

K: Yeah no problem man, I’m just happy to be here and glad I’m able to do something this awesome. I’m so excited for what’s coming up.

WVCC: Yeah, when I first caught wind was the week before your 2nd event. MC Serum tagged me in your IG Post. I checked out the first clips of footage y’all had with Cable and Brandoni and was like Aaaaight, these Brothers are cooking. I really wasn’t expecting for y’all to roll out so prepared tho. You guys had beats, lights, cameras of all sizes. It was impressive.

K: Yeah Famous Angel started helping out at that one and this dude named Arno as well, and production hit a new level .

WVCC: You keep mentioning Breeze, so I think this is a great time to introduce him ( or re-introduce him) to our Readers. Who is Breeze and how did y’all link?

K: Breeze is none other than old school Underground legend Breezevahflowin, he works where I’m at and he jumped in the cipher about the 2nd one in, that’s when I was still trying to figure out where this was going. He had to miss one and then came back for the rest, the one he missed everyone cancelled at the same time like the craziest coincidence ever, I thought it was over then. When I told him you could see he was a little salty so we made sure the next one happened.  It was funny Breeze was actually the guy who interviewed me for my job first. Destiny and shit.

WVCC: So you work with Breeze EvahFlowin?? Did you know at that time that you were being interviewed by Legendary Underground MC who was responsible for taking so many lives on the Battle Rap tip?

K: Hell no!! i didn’t even realize he was THE BreezeEvahflowin, it didn’t even hit me until the catalyst event. I was straight up flabbergasted he took a liking to me.

WVCC: Get The Fuck Out Of Here!!! Lmaoooo…You’ve been working corporately with the dude for months, worked with him on organizing and hosting the Cyphers, seen him spitting out there and you still had no idea. That’s golden.  What was your reaction when you saw him rock at SML (Saturday Mic Live at Catalyst)?

K: Lmao I know. I’m pretty much in my own world 24/7. You ever saw Lord of the Rings? When the King of Rohan sees his daughter and he says I know that face, pretty much that was my reaction. Honestly it felt like every other session. Dude just has that New York flow. It’s just a work of art and he immediately brought in people for that hot 16 Cypher during his set. I was like, That’s a legend right there. I don’t think the Cipher In The Circle would be where it is without him. Like if it was me Instead I feel like people woulda hesitated coming out. 

WVCC:. So when you first started cyphering, was it at your job site?  And Tara and Maddy…were those female coworkers?

K: Yeah Tara has her own stuff going down. You can find her on IG @tarabritt. Maddy is @madmurderz, and Mark is  @leftlaneloki. We all would kick it and Cypher it at my crib.

WVCC: Sorry to ask bro, but where the Fuck do you work that is awesome enough to have Breeze Evaflowin as your manager, where you can cypher during breaks and has not one but 2 Female MCs on staff. I’m floored.

K: Lol yeah I don’t wanna drop the name but that place has hella talent.

WVCC: Ok, so your working at Dr Xavier’s School for the Gifted. Your secrets safe with me. Lol.How tough has it been turning around the Cypher footage. You guys are providing constant dope content on IG daily it seems (Follow @CipherInTheCircle on IG and see for yourselves).

K: FamousAngel and Breeze are in charge of the social media aspect now, I kinda just handle the live stuff, we did establish a plan to keep the content stream constant and it’s been working beautifully. We still have a lot of footage to upload.

WVCC: As a dude who’s been organizing and Hosting Cyphers since the late 90s I can personally say that you guys are providing a Priceless service to the South Florida MC community. I’ve been in countless rhyme circles but the only con about a Freestyle Cypher is it’s right on the spot, and if it’s not filmed all you have is memories. You could spit the hottest Free ever, but it’s dust in the wind unless it’s documented. You brothers are not only Documenting the improvised creations, but your actually taking the time and love to make it look fresh afterwards. Thank you for that.

K: Wow I honestly don’t know what to say, thank you first of all. I’m just happy people are showing up and it’s becoming way bigger than what I thought. Yes I agree with the sentiments about the freestyles becoming memories if not recorded. Come to think of it I dont know if they filmed my verse the last Cypher.  I just hope people keep showing up and the circle keeps getting bigger. Hopefully we can impact the community in a bigger and more positive way in the months to come. 

You can come out and witness or participate in Cipher In The Circle TONIGHT ( Mon-Oct 21) and every 3rd Monday of the Month from 7:30-10pm.  They have a huge selection of Food Trucks on site. It’s outdoors and Free, so there’s no stress, just got to pay for parking on Hollywood Blvd around the Restaurants and walk up to Young Circle. If your an MC in South Florida looking to get your name known or just looking to build and network with the MC Community, come out and add your unique flavor to the pot. We are also inviting any local Producers to come out with some beats so we can spit over. Great opportunity to find some new talent to Colab with.  Hope to see y’all out there Tonight as we add another chapter to South Florida Hip Hop History. Be sure to bring your A-Game tho….We can assure your safety in the circle if you come weak.