Rhythm + Flow: Season 1, Episode 5 “Cyphers” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - Rhythm + Flow Season 1, Episode 5 “Cyphers”
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While it isn’t clear why a cypher was needed, since many popular rappers wouldn’t be able to do so, this is a competition and contestants have to be put through the ringer.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Iren Brown
Writer(s) N/A
Air Date 10/16/2019
Introduced This Episode
Himself C.Rose
Herself Maddiemook
Herself AJ, The One
Himself King Vvibe
Himself King Los

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Recap

Who Are These People?: C.Rose, Maddiemook, AJ The One, King Vvibe

While King Vvibe, apparently, is someone I missed in the auditions, he exists and tells a bit of his story. Such as his father raising at-risk foster young. Which made his journey hard since it created a lot of distractions and threats to his journey.

As for the rest? Well, let’s just say these people probably weren’t featured before for a reason. Not just because they get eliminated but outside of questioning if Maddiemook just happens to be a light skin sister or not, since she says the N-word in her cypher, there isn’t much to attach to here.

Let The Cyphers Begin

Being that cyphers aren’t necessarily a common thing, unless you seek them out, it is explained that they are basically a showcase. One that is made to both have a flow between you and those you are working with, yet also present the opportunity to stand out. The best example might be the most recent XXL Freshmen cyphers. The Blueface, YBN Cordae, and Rico Nasty cypher allowed each one to show off, yet was also supportive. Almost like they were part of a group.

That isn’t seen in any of the cyphers on here. They are just paired up, but it is a competition so everyone is for themselves, and most of the people who clearly were the top contestants, they maintained that position. The only ones who moved up were Ariyon and those who were told to do better in the auditions, they failed that assignment.

There Can Only Be 16

Like the Democratic debates, there are still far too many people here to pick one, but it is clear some just aren’t ready for the game. Hence things getting shaven down to: Flawless Real Talk, Jakob Campbell, and Troyman, from the first cypher group. From group 2, D Smoke, Ali Tomineek, and King Vvibe continue on, but King Vvibe barely made the cut. Then, from group 3, Beanz, Big Mouf’Bo, and Inglewood IV, who stumbled, but it seems the judges got a soft spot for him and want to keep him around.

But while many were given yet another chance, that doesn’t mean there weren’t major cuts. The fifth cypher group got hit the hardest with Cakes Da Killa, Sasha Go Hard, Nikee Turbo, and Amavi cut. In fact, they were named one of the weakest groups. Thus, only Old Man Saxon got to move ahead from that one. Leaving cypher group four only having Caleb Colossus and Londynn B moving on, with the others we barely knew about getting the boot, and cypher 6 only having Rae and Felisha move forward.

Leaving one last group: Cypher 7. Of them, Ariyon, who came with that hot ass fire, moves on and gets great praise from TI. Also, despite thinking he lacks an identity, beyond wanting to be more than a white rapper, Sam Be Yourself continues his journey.

Question(s) Left Unanswered
  1. Are they really not going to advise some of these acts not to possibly change their rap names?

 

Review

Highlights

Flawless Real Talk

With an almost Eminem delivery, and being in a rather weak group, Flawless got to shine in ways that has continued to make him the one to beat. Which others are verbally saying since he gets praise from his peers, the judges, and even when the coach King Los comes about, he uses Flawless as an example of knowing the basics, intermediates, and advance skillsets of a rapper.

Getting To Know Beanz

Beanz listening to the judges explain what is coming up.
Beanz

There is something about Beanz I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it is this idea she is the half and half, in terms of being this hood booger who will dress you down in a second, yet also has this soft side to her. A duality which we don’t get to see much of, since she is reserved, but does draw you in a bit. Mostly due to making the idea of seeing her vulnerable, and not on the offense, seem like a privilege instead of a right.

Londynn B

What Londynn did is go beyond present a quality cypher but something you could imagine as a song. Something that even Flawless didn’t do, and that might be her ticket right there. With her, you get songs, and with him you get the technical stuff and that marketable look. However, Londynn got that, and she seems ready to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Nikee Turbo

While he is eliminated, I gotta say no one matches his energy or stage presence. For while some say they wanna bring fun back to hip-hop and while many are noted for stage presence, he is the only one I can say seems like he’d be fun to see in concert. Granted, I can’t remember a word he said in his cypher, but between his dance and his energy, of those who were eliminated, he is the only one I’m sad to see go.

Ariyon

Ariyon during the cypher.

A lot of the young folk burnt out this episode and showed, while they may have potential, they aren’t ready. Especially with Cardi and the rest taking a hands-off approach and letting the contestants pass or fail completely on their own. However, Ariyon, despite some anxiety, showed up, showed out, and like TI, I think he is one of the few who could be a huge star. Him, Flawless, and Londynn.

Everyone else? They could have success, maybe respect as well, but their legends will be built on longevity more than hits. Which, repeatedly, seems to be the goal of this series. Not the best rapper, but who can be the most commercial based off how each judge got their fame and fortune.

On The Fence

There Are Still Many Who Seem Like They Won’t Be Big

Though it does seem like a lot to eliminate 14 in the first round, let’s be real, many shouldn’t have made it to LA. Some, like $avannah and Cakes, seemingly got in more by playing on Cardi’s emotions than because this was the show to take them to that next level. Then, when it comes to those we’ve just met, like Maddiemook, it makes you wonder who came up with the number 30 and why? Was it a budget thing, a good round number, what?

Either way, we still got a lot to cut since it was made clear that for many, like King Vvibe, they keep making the cut because of a numbers game and not because they are anyone’s top 5.

While I Get Why It Was Done For A Competition, Are We Supposed To Believe All-Big Time Rappers Could Do Look Good In A Cypher?

No shade, but slight shade, I cannot imagine Cardi B doing a cypher with any female rapper at or around her level and her coming off the best. With Chance’s gospel rapper persona, I can’t imagine him coming out on top if we threw him in with any other popular rapper out right now. Only TI can I imagine roasting people, or at least looking good in a cypher. Plus, considering how few rappers seems to come up through cyphers and battle rap, which we’ll see in the next episode, are these methods still relevant for those who aren’t purist?

 

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