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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Same Bold Scene
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our hip-hop scene here in Connecticut made some really impressive strides in 2009. They were the kind of strides, both locally and nationally, that can help to provide a strong foundation to grow from as long as they’re utilized correctly and built upon throughout 2010.

What may have been our most important stride this year was our scene’s venturing outside the state’s borders. For any scene to grow it needs to become visible and the moving and touring of prominent CT emcees and DJs spread the word of CT hip-hop to people who previously never knew we existed.

2009 saw Sketch Tha Cataclysm move to Minnesota, where he recently performed in a cypher with the Doomtree clique. Eclipse packed up and headed to Los Angeles to freestyle his way to fame there. Big Stat managed to cover the entire country, going on tour with hip-hop legends Method Man and Redman, and DJ Halo also toured the country and will be out on the road again in January of 2010 with Freestyle Fellowship co-founder Myka 9.

While those artists were creating a buzz outside the state, d_Cyphernauts (pictured above) continued to develop two of our most important events within it. Enter The Cypher, which happens every third Friday of the month at Cousin Larry’s in Danbury and is organized and hosted by the d_Cyphernauts duo of Othello and Nemesis Alpha, celebrated its fourth anniversary in 2009, making it an official CT hip-hop institution. It’s been so consistent, and become such a staple, that it now has to be mentioned whenever discussing the history of the state’s scene.

In addition to Enter They Cypher, d_Cyphernauts also continued their annual hip-hop summit at Westhill High School in Stamford, educating the youth on what hip-hop is really all about and showing everyone a great time in the process.

If our scene becomes large in the next half decade it will be, in large part, because of the work done at the ground level by Othello and Nemesis Alpha. Their determination to build homes for hip-hop within the state has been nothing short of remarkable.

Some artists who were formerly, and in one case still currently, in groups released solo projects this year. Both Plus, formerly of Nervous System, and The Protege, of Phenetiks, decided it was time to show listeners that they can stand on their own, and did so with aplomb. This was in addition to Connecticut’s bevy of established artists, including (but not limited to) The Rising Sun Quest, Chase Davis, Apathy, Prolifik, Deto-22, Workforce, Uncut, Logic, and Oncue, who also continued to work hard to get high quality hip-hop to people.

There’s only thing our state was really missing in 2009, and that’s a true youth movement. A scene needs its veteran emcees, but it also needs a fresh crop of young, hungry artists looking to make a name for themselves. The Protege is young, but he’s still a veteran due to his time in Phenetiks. Oncue is also young, but has been around for years thanks to getting a very early start on his hustle. Where are the future emcees of the scene, the kids who are writing in their rhyme books during study hall when they know they’re supposed to be working on something for class? I’ve met a couple college-aged guys who can rhyme, but I’m not sure how serious they are about trying to turn it into a career. There have to be some members of the next generation that have that fire in them.

I’m at shows in NYC all the time, and one of the most exciting things that’s been happening in that scene is the involvement, and ascension, of young emcees. I’ve seen Top $ Raz, who is at the ripe old age of 21, release his second album in two years, and artists like YC The Cynic and the entire OISD crew make major moves at equally young ages. Rising star Kalil Kash is only 24. These are all artists who are already extremely well respected by both their peers and the veterans of the scene.

When I hit up CT shows I don’t see anything like that. I think we have a great community of talented emcees, but there haven’t been very many additions to that community in the past few years. Without a youth movement we’re just going to keep hearing the same voices, and while those voices are good, who will carry the torch when their output slows down, or they move out of state?

Right now is the perfect time for a young emcee to step into the scene. We have a great core of artists in-state, a historically relevant monthly event a young artist can aspire to perform at, and an evolving national base of Connecticut artists that are laying the groundwork for avenues outside of the state.

If you’re a young emcee, my only question to you is - what are you waiting for?

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.

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