M.I Abaga, Blaqbonez, A-Q, Loose Kaynon have released the much anticipated 'L.A.M.B Cypher 2019' and the result is pure lyrical carnage.
Earlier on Thursday, January 10, 2019, the Chocolate City quartet of veteran rappers MI, Loose, A-Q and Blaqbonez put out their first offering for 2019, a freestyle for a particular cognac brand tagged the 'L.A.M.B Cypher 2019.'
But while on one hand it is a brilliant marketing tool, especially for the brand and the rappers on it, for Hip-hop lovers, this is one of the best things to have happened to the scene in recent times.
The Hip-hop nation and fan love is strengthened by cyphers and competitive verses. It is a token element of the culture, one that is the reason why we love the art. The goose bumps you get listening to insane lines, the sparked emotions as each punchline unravels into a deeper meaning and that is what the quartet served on the cypher.
Blaqbonez kicks things off with his confident and brag-filled verse as he takes the lead ahead of the older established emcees.
''Battle rappers always trying to get at me, but they missing/ like literally when we talk about money, they hmmm/ can't really say that I'm surprised, like for real man, I get it, the bigger the ni**a, the more attention you get when you diss him, if you really wanna battle, pay my booking fee ni**a.''
Blaq going first is quite tricky for any rapper in a cypher as his verse will set a standard and could easily be forgotten if it fails to pack a punch, but the young MC navigates through this test fairly well. The major weapon is his flow, which comes with the right mix of menace and cocky laced lines.
Next is Loose Kaynon, who despite the evil aura that comes with the cold way he rhymes is somehow always underrated, but on this cypher, Loose did his best not to be the 'weakest' link.
From his references to subliminals, ''Washed-up rappers turned pop trying to son Hip-hop artists, that's not it chief, shut the f**k up regardless''
''Y'all are humble in person, but online you are Al Capone, leave me alone, once I get in my zone I spark a J and then say can you (Kanye), watch the throne.''
His verse did have the most stray lines [the Home Alone/Macaulay Culkin reference was last dope in the 90s] and very uneven flow, but Loose was still able to properly channel his outrage and knowledge of a variety of topics also helped in making this into one verse that gets better with every listen.
''The next rapper needs no introduction'' and A-Q is officially a major problem and he needs to be told. Over the years, he has elevated his game to a different level and on this cypher he again delivers another fevered and effortlessly raging verse backed with a telling rhyme scheme.
''This is God's vision, I'm looking through perfect lenses, God body, the God flow is in perfect tenses''
What's an A-Q verse without subs as he asks, ''How you taking shots with that sub-par album, those joints ain't strong enough, you lack calcium/ go against me, there can only be two outcomes, you lose, you lose, like Buhari or Atiku.''
''Fans never missed a real, me I never missed a kill/here today, gone tomorrow, bro, you are Mr Real.''
As he closed his verse, A-Q comes off as the brutish soldier, like one possessed, wielding a machine gun with laser beams while storming through a hall of pirates with one mission; to unload and kill everyone in sight. His verse has gotten much attention online and indeed it was the best of the four.
Like the elder-statesman he has become, M.I's verse was boastful and packed with direct shots that got everyone talking, while staying sensitive about his legacy as he constantly reminded all that he was the head.
''Four more bars, for my dawgs I got it, Loose and AQ we should make this episodic, only open for rappers who deliver product, and that other Cognac, this is how to spend your budget.''
His verse was not entirely exceptional but it was far from just being alright especially with the regale way he treated his flows. And like he has done since his emergence over a decade ago, M.I has gotten us all talking once again.
All in all, cyphers that really get the fans excited like this have come one too few in the history of Nigerian rap and while this is not by any means untouchable, it delivers a touchstone moment, and provides a great time to be associated with hip-hop in the country once again.
Kudos to the four heavyweights, we can only hope that this continues the focus on lyricism this year.