The third annual XU Media Cypher that pits emcees against each other on the mic was held on Sept. 27, 2019. XU Media, Xavier’s student media organization that comprised XU Radio, XU TV and the Xavier Herald held this hip-hop cypher for students to showcase their artistry. Local disc jockey Patrick “DJ PJ” Walker, Jr., a regular performer Xavier’s live music events provded the sound track for the cypher. The event was held at the campus Art Village.
“The reason why we’re doing the cypher is mainly because we want to give back to the students, you know as XU Radio and XU Media,” said Mark Veals, the president of XU Media, who organized the event. “We like to produce sound and this is another way of us trying to give back to our student community,” said Veals, a graduating senior, mass communication major.
The participants or ‘emcees’ included Xavier students and local performers who performed in groups together. The first group included: Deja Dennis, a mass communication major and local rapper Chad Solo.
“I participate in the cypher out of defiance. Many have doubted my talent as a female rapper and it’s important to have that representation,” Dennis said.
“It was important to have female representation and offer a different narrative of female rappers,” Dennis added.
The second group comprised local rappers Chuckee, Ali-San, and MAC Infinity. The cypher also featured a final performance by Jaleel Ross, a Xavier political science major, who is better known by his stage name ‘J-S.A.N.D.’ Recently Ross’ rapping has gone viral, and a video in which he raps in his signature style, received praise from major artists such as Missy Elliot, Schoolboy Q, and Kash Doll.
“I feel like, it’s a great opportunity for you know up-coming rappers to showcase their skills and I’m thankful for it,” Ross said of the local cyphers.
The event attraced dozens of students who came to support the artists and enjoy their performances throughout the cypher. From the very first cypher the crowd proved to be very pleased by the performers’ lyrics, causing many of the viewers in the crowd to be left in awe by the severe word-play the lyricists were able to put together on the spot. The rappers spoke of the harsh environments they group up in, the passion they have for their art form, and disdain of today’s music culture. The event also included: crowd participation cyphers, rap battles, and local food and clothing vendors or the audience’s consumer pleasure.
The event ended with a dance party for students and classic second line music to send them off. Many of the students positively responded to the artists, and said they hoped to see them perform once again.
“It just really means a lot to have this representation of creativity at Xavier, especially since we’re a [Science-Technology-Engineering-Math] school, so it’s really nice to see like the creativity,” said Naomi Scott, a student vendor and owner of her own clothing brand Revolutionary Hearts.