Monday, March 31, 2014

Hip-Hop Lyft Cypher | A-1, Say Knowledge, Richie Cunning


A-1: (
Say Knowledge: (
Richie Cunning: (
Chase Moore: (
Deco: (

TeamBackPack continues to redefine, reshape and expand hip hop's truest platform; most recently, joining forces with Hip Hop Lyft for a new set of cyphers. For those who don't know, Lyft is a ride sharing service based out of San Francisco. Deco Carter, Hip Hop Lyft, has established himself above the rest with great music mixes, hip hop trivia and prizes. He is a gracious host to San Francisco emcees A-1, Say Knowledge and Richie Cunning, who catch a ride and make good use of their time in this latest video. The Chase Moore beat could easily be the backdrop of a movie car chase scene so it fits the cypher's aesthetic perfectly. TeamBackPack is "in the vehicle" as Richie Cunning puts it.

A-1 delivers a quality verse that features more rhymes than any I can think of, off top. Without overpacking his bars, or trying to fit too many syllables into a scheme, each line contains a few rhymes that fit right in and set the pace of his verse nicely. The unconventional cypher shoot is a good match, creatively, for A-1, who came onto the scene with his After School Special mixtape that featured him spitting on kids' tv show theme songs. It's been a while since A-1's last full length, the Thurl tape, dropped in 2012 but we can expect a new project this summer. If you listen to A-1's music, then you won't be surprised that he saw this verse as a chance to spit on some of the social issues in the city like gentrification and issues facing the youth:

"me and Deco, Say Knowledge and Richie/
the fact that we didn't graduate college is tricky/
On the one hand its hard to find jobs in the city/
but at least we won't be paying loans off till we're fifty"

Say Knowledge's verse is riddled with Bay Slang and San Francisco imagery, with shoutouts to specific neighborhoods, area codes and plenty more that SF natives can appreciate. There is still plenty to enjoy for the non-Bay Area hip hop fans like his opening bars: "dudes can't tussle with me in the Sucka Free so whatchu think we do to sucka emcees?" Say Knowledge has been dropping loose tracks here and there for a while, the last being "Fire and Wheel" last year but a new one is dropping on Monday at, you guessed it, 4:15 PST. "Toll Booth", claims Say Knowledge, is his best work to date and we hope that it leads to a longer project soon.

The Rec League's Richie Cunning closes out the first Hip Hop Lyft cypher. Richie's comparing his penmanship game to Coltrane's tenor sax and his sound to Jimi Hendrix on the Fender strat provide insight into his goals and prove that he does not take this lightly. His last album was 2010's Night Train but the last song he dropped was a "Salute" to Rakim's "Juice (Know the Ledge)" last December. And for anyone who naively thought that Richie was only about 16s, you can catch some of his dope production on Zion I's Shadowboxing: The Remixes.

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