Our Top 5 Rap Cyphers Of All Time


The growth of Hip-Hop culture has been remarkable worldwide. Events presented by rappers, graffiti artists, dancers & music producers all over the globe are considered as an entertaining and uplifting source of knowledge. One of these events is popularly known as ‘Rap Cyphers’.


Cyphers originated from the combination of the word ‘Rap‘, which is an element of Hip-Hop & ‘Cipher‘ which literates to a gathering of people (usually in a circle type formation) who jam together musically. Artists come together to freestyle over a beat or without it by going one after another to spit rhymes in a posse cut sort of manner. It has always been in the culture. Cyphers are funded by artists or an organization to support and promote the culture that’s already in growth mode.

Black Entertainment Television‘s ‘Annual Hip-Hop Awards’ are always exciting. BET promotes rappers and every artist who is related with Hip-Hop. Every year, the performances on these awards are breathtaking. It was started in 2006 & since then, cyphers has been a part of it.

XXL Annual Freshman List is an issue by XXL, which is a New York City based Hip-Hop magazine published by Townsquare Media. It features ten of the freshest Hip-Hop artists of the year that are considered to be on a rise but have not achieved the level of fame yet. It was started in 2007 but their annual edition began from 2009. Everyone needs promotions right?

So, we decided to create a list of our top five favorite rap cyphers that you should not miss.

5. XXL Freshmen 2011 Cypher – (Part 2)

XXL Cover 2011                                                                                                      (XXL Freshman 2011 cover)

The second instalment of the XXL Freshmen 2011 class cypher is definitely one the best from the series. I mean what do you expect from artists like Yelawolf, Kendrick Lamar, Lil B, & CyHi the Prynce? Some heat, right? Kendrick Lamar’s verse was all about bars like “Pay your respect or recognize the alphabet you can’t survive in a room full of g’s”. Then goes Lil B who raps “Have em moving like a centipede, I’m the weed-man so you know I got the remedy”. The instrumental that they spat their rhymes on is loaded with heavy acoustic snares that will get you grooving.

Listen to the XXL Freshmen 2011 Cypher – (Part 2) here :


TED - BET Awards Cypher
2013’s BET Awardswas no different. Fifth performance of the awards night was a cypher that featured ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, & Kendrick Lamar of Top Dawg Entertainment. This cypher is done on the famous instrumental of ‘Shook Ones’ which was produced by Havoc. The way each rapper spat was amazing. Jay Rock went hard on bars like “I’m Jay Rock, America’s most wanted. My charges? Killing MC’s without warning”. Isiah & Kendrick totally owned this cypher. “Hold up, wait a minute. Your career ain’t shit unless you got some Kendrick in it” raps Lamar. This was undoubtedly the best cypher from that year’s event.

Listen to TDE – BET HIP-HOP AWARDS CYPHER 2013 here :

3. XXL FRESHMEN 2012 CYPHER (Part 1)

2012 XXL
This cypher features Hopsin, Danny Brown, Machine Gun Kelly, Future & Roscoe Dash. Hopsin owned this track by spitting lines line “I need a solution, pastors tell me that church is best, But they’ll look at me devilish cause I’m how they interpret death”. Future, MGK & Roscoe gave this cypher a new dimension by Danny is definitely the second best on this track. With rhymes like “You think I’m gon’ fall off, got advice for you, homes, Fall asleep in your car, in the garage, with the engine on”. The instrumental that they rapped on was produced by SikWitIt.

Listen to this cypher here :


2013 cYPHER
2013 XXL Freshmen Cypher Part 1 is often considered as the best cypher ever. Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul & Travis $cott murdered this beat by choking it with their lyrical skills. Point out a rapper in this one who didn’t spit at all. Travis spat in a style that was never seen before. He was never into spitting bars until rapped “Imagery abstract, it’s like NASDAQ when I stock it up and then grow”. Action Branson is considered as one of the most underrated rappers of all time. He proved that he’s not. Bars like “As I sit on a train to Paris draped in fabric like an arabic,Mommy always knew her boy was talented” are filled in his verse.

DJ Drama was in control of the console and the beat was produced by Jahlil. Those who are into cyphers are aware of the fact that this was the most lyrical cypher that was featured on ‘XXL Freshmen Cypher’ series.

Listen to XXL FRESHMEN 2013 CYPHER – (PART 1) here :


Shady 2.0
This cypher featured artists from Shady Records which is owned by Eminem. Yelawolf & Slaughterhouse got their slots with Eminem. The beat that they were spitting the heat on was produced by Spencer Bellamy & is one of the most iconic instrumentals from the series. This almost ten minutes long track is nowhere close to be called wack. Yelawolf opened up this six verses long cypher & one can easily tell by watching the cypher that all of them had a smile while destroying everyone’s expectations.

It’s very hard to mention a particular bar from the whole cypher that I can call the best. This cypher is full of madness and is definitely our top favorite.

Listen to the Shady 2.0 Cypher here :