PSA to all DMV area emcees and producers: sharpen your skills and flex your muscles at the ‘Uptown Cypher’—broadcast at the end of every month via Full Service Radio.
Washington, D.C.—An extension of Late Bloom Radio presented by Uptown Art House and InTheRough, the Uptown Cypher is for hip-hop heads young and old, for the rookies and the veterans. Across three episodes, the two-hour sessions have been congregations of rappers and beat-makers from all corners of the DMV. It’s been rewarding to provide a platform for some of our favorite artists including Nate G, Greenss, and Tedy Brewski, while equally as refreshing to have real-life introductions to D.C. legends Fat Kneel, Discipline99, Thrtysmthng and Y.U—producers whose music is secure in my Apple Music and SoundCloud libraries. Similarly, I hadn’t heard of Fauva Gahd or Mavi before they spit off the dome, and now I’m anticipating their next live sets. Shout out Chris Allen and Reggie Volume for sharing work as well.
For host Jamal Gray, the Uptown Cypher is an updated version of an old concept. The musician/curator was recording freestyle sessions, like this one here featuring a young Sir E.U, eight years ago as ‘The Carryout’ on YouTube. “A cypher doesn’t mean just rhyming. It’s about sharing intellect and ideas,” he said on the final episode of 2018.
It’s funny watching people walk through the lobby of The Line Hotel trying to figure out what commotion is happening. Full Service Radio is hard to miss. It’s a fish bowl with a head-to-toe window-pane exterior and deep-sea blue walls complete with a selfie-worthy neon sign, plush furniture, and more microphones than the non-musical person probably has ever seen. Each cypher takes on a life of its own, especially with “@THEBESTRAPPERINDC” aka MartyHeemCherry rapping at the top of his lungs. Libations are always flowing, too, so the more potent the bars, the more potent the reaction in the room.
The Uptown Cypher is open to the public, but come correct because as Nate G told me after one rapper brought written verses to a session, “There are unspoken rules to this.” Listen to all three cyphers below.
The next Uptown Cypher will be live on FullServiceRadio.org at 7pm, EST on January 30.
Polaroids by Maxwell Young