CU Cypher brings rapping community together


Jessica Jutzi

The C-U Open Invite Cypher will take place at Canopy Club in Urbana on Thursday, Jan. 19th. It is an open mic night for local rappers.

By Brooke Eberle, Staff writer

Students and C-U residents with a passion for hip-hop can show off their talent on Thursday for the C-U Open Invite Cypher.

The cypher will take place at the Canopy Club starting at 8 p.m. and will cost $5 at the door. The event will feature local rappers from the Champaign area, followed by an hour of open mic where anyone can showcase his or her rapping.

Robert Kjeverud from Robert K. Recordings organized the entire event and will also be the main videographer at the cypher.

“Most of these guys have some experience but this is (the) first time a few of them are rocking a big stage, so it will be interesting,” he said.

The night will start with a special performance from OG Temple, which comprises local rapper duo Anamoli and Tekken G. They will perform a few of their original songs to kick off the night. This will also be their first time participating in the cypher.

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“We were writing for years before we even started open mic,” said Anamoli. “We wrote our first song together two-and-a-half to three years ago and we’ve been at it ever since.”

Tekken G said the duo feels inspired by other local groups like Trouble Chasin’, Black Mage and Rogue Tendency.

“There’s a lot of talent and skill in this area with hip-hop music, and this is a great way for people to express and display their skill with the art and craft that it is,” Anamoli said. “It’s astonishing and impressive to see what people can do when speaking impromptu on the microphone.”

The open mic portion is also very popular for the audience. Participants can freestyle or rap prewritten material within a two-minute time frame.

The cypher will also include two rap battles of Skelly vs. Tone King and Nick G. vs. Shaan Keez. The rap battles will be three rounds with three minutes for each rapper.

Nick G., who has traveled around the Midwest for rap battles, is excited to go up against Shaan Keez from Kankakee.

“I’ve been rapping since the sixth grade in the lunchroom or outside of school where we would have our own rap battles,” said Nick G. “I didn’t really start taking it seriously until high school when people starting saying ‘you’re good at it.’ That’s when I started recording music and performing and different spots.”

Nick G. also explained why the cypher is so important.

“Cypher is one of the best ways to show off your rapping talent. You don’t have to perform perfectly as if you were recording a song, you can just get up there and rap about whatever you want.”

Skelly, who is featured in the Exhibition Rap Battle, said the cypher really helped him out in his rapping career. Skelly said he had a friend who worked on production for the cypher that helped him get into the series.

“Without the series, I would be performing as much as I am today. I think one of the coolest things about this series is that it gets you around other artists and have the potential to collaborate with other artists,” Skelly said.

Kjeverud encourages all local rappers to attend the event because it gives them a look into the hip-hop community.

“We’re going to have battle rappers, studio rappers, DJs, producers, Canopy people, photographers, videographers. Last time the good vibes were really prevalent, and we want the same this time,” he said.

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