“I don’t want to be like Jay-Z, I want Jay-Z to want to be like me”. How many rappers do you know with enough courage and ambition to make a statement like that? It is clear, from the above frase, that Cypha IX (born Jolon Franklin) the Roselle, NJ based rapper, along with his creative skillset, can also count on his fearlessness and tenacity to make headway in the hip-hop industry.
Using a microphone and minimal recording gear in the basement of a church, he began his journey to sby releasing several popular singles such as “Freedom” and “ Over Everything” and performing in dozen of venues in the tri-state area.
A few months back Cypha IX also dropped the video clip for “Fresh Air”, one of his more popular tracks. This is the first Cypha track I have listened to and I was absolutely stunned by how great this is. From the creative beats to his trademark truth-filled lyrics, this song does no wrong.
Cypha goes for a mainstream style here; the beat is imposing and in buck hip-hop tradition. His sharp flow, gives the recording a gravity that cannot be ignored, and complements the hard-hitting reflections he throws out.
Cypha IX is a unique artist with a signature flow and subtle aggression. He takes you through a gamut of emotions in his songs as he addresses the bittersweet feelings of men and women, the family life and the day to day effect of fighting for righteousness.
On “Fresh Air”, he gives us a look into his grind from a whole lot of deep perspectives – tossing in visions of gallantry, morality and spirituality. Each verse, again making it clear that Cypha is not your run-of-the-mill rapper, but he is looking to communicate something a little more profound and touching.
A seriously conscious rapper, there is no trash or cursing going on here. Cypha sounds like someone who could be a role model for many of his contemporaries. He is one of a new breed of rappers who can go full throttle without plummeting into mocking rhymes of derision and disdain.
I respect the style, substance, and overall sonic power of Cypha IX on “Fresh Air”, and just about anything else I’ve heard of his since. This brother’s got a knack for wrapping up the truth in a package of powerful lyrics and production that really delivers.
(Photo credits – Pierre Hines Photography)