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Complex have assembled the best of New York to reappropriate the classic video cypher format.

Youngblood Wiki opens proceedings and delivers a tenacious verse, Old Droog goes in on producers and why he doesn’t need them, while A$AP Ferg tears through his verse by blurring the lines between off-the-dome-cypher and inspirational speech.

Christian Scott hovers in the background and serves as the dopeness coordinator. While the MCs take centre stage his ensemble orchestrate a beat that shifts and moves to complement each rapper. When he does step forward, he delivers his own verse in trumpet form to round out the session.

If you think about it, jazz musicians have been ‘cyphering’ since the 1930s but what’s rejuvenating is the combination of MCs and soloists standing should-to-shoulder to create something special. As jazz infiltrates hip-hop, it’s brilliant to see the improvisational aspect of both art forms exhibited as it has here.

Watch the New York edition above and keep an eye out for upcoming chapters in future.

  • Words: Eli Marsland

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