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"They keep coming back," says 32-year-old Jimmy 2 Times, birth name Dan Marcoulis. "Like that one 17-year-old kid who snuck into the very first Get Cryphy. He's 22 now."
At around midnight, Mystikal tells the room to "Shake Ya Ass," then Luda implores they "Stand Up." T.I. asks everyone to "Bring Em Out," while Huey gives instructions to "Pop Lock and Drop It." In each case, the people follow suit, and howl when DMX and Jay-Z classics run up against the recent Tyga hit "Rack City."
Get Cryphy Five-Year Anniversary, Friday, Feb. 8, 9 pm; 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775.
"Sometimes people will come up and ask us to play something more popular, and I say, 'Just wait.'" says Last Word, a.k.a. Drew Erickson, also 32. "We know how to build a night. No requests — except really good ones."
Another build to ecstasy unfurls at 12:30 a.m., which signals all-out grinding. Layers are flying off, and drinks are in rotation, with DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win," Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle," Soulja Boy's "Get My Swag On," Petey Pablo's "Raise Up," and Meek Mill's "House Party" rapid-firing.
Downstairs and outside, a woman in a silver top and no coat laments that "No one here can buy me a drink! They're all 18." A trio of girls in sparkling gowns, one wearing a tiara, approach the door men. "Can't we get in? It's my birthday." After a few follow-up questions judging her dedication, he pulls open the door, and they head upstairs to experience the final minutes of mayhem.
"First, it's a dope group," says Prof, who has employed Fundo as his tour DJ for the past five years and has guested on Get Cryphy's mixes and performances. "Four of the top 10 DJs in the state, and they perform like a supergroup every month? That's a good start. Second, people don't want to go to Club Aqua to dance because it's too pretentious. If I ever do want to go out and listen to some music and meet somebody, go home with a girl, that's the spot."
The foundation for Get Cryphy formed at the now-shuttered downtown club Foundation, where Bill and Jimmy hosted a Saturday-night event called Party & Bull$h!t — a name copped from the Notorious B.I.G.'s debut single. Both guys came from turntablist backgrounds, having first crossed paths at the DMC World DJ Championships regional competition in 2001 at the old Quest nightclub.
"I was 17, I had to get snuck into that thing," Bill says with a grin, and the room erupts in protest. He's parked on a couch next to Jimmy in the living room of the one-story house Last Word and Fundo share in the Standish neighborhood of south Minneapolis.
All four guys enjoy heavy pours of Jameson and coffee, relating like brothers, finishing each other's sentences. Over the past decade, they've grown to know each other's strengths.
"Jimmy is one of the funkiest DJs I've ever heard," Bill says. "I've always admired Jimmy's cuts, probably more than anybody. I love cutting with Jimmy because we have almost polar opposite styles. It makes me hate mine, because I'm a robot or whatever, and this dude's just like flowing in the river, he's going tubing and I'm sitting there sewing."
As Bill and Jimmy's hunger for party rocking grew, Foundation's tolerance for it waned — to the point where it was declared a crunk-free zone in late 2007. First Avenue had an opening on first Fridays, and in February 2008, the pair began what is now a five-year run in the Record Room — called the VIP Room at the time. The first half-year was a struggle, and the guys recall shooing a lot of people away who expected a more varied night.
"People are scared to know who their favorite rappers' favorite rappers are," Bill says.
Both 30-year-old Fundo (shortened from Fundamentalist, real name Chris Young) and Last Word were regular Cryphy guests, but they solidified themselves as permanent members of the crew by understanding the aesthetic.
"It got to be where Drew and I were there and we would notice when people were going a little too left wing or right wing with it," Fundo says. The left wing is too weird and experimental, and the right wing is classic club music that lacks the personality they crave. "You haven't been watching the crowd," he continues. "You came to the club with the idea of playing this and only this and not being like, 'People are not dancing.'"
And Fundo performs. A self-professed clown, he's Lou Costello to Prof's Bud Abbott, a personality he honed while DJing for Kanser, Toki Wright, and Desdamona, among others. The rest of the guys in the room agree they've all picked up on his stage presence and are mindful not to stand around, but to dance with their people.
"We all wanna do that anyway, but Fundo puts it out there," Bill says. "It's who he is."
As for Last Word, he's easily the most soft-spoken of the bunch, but is often the key to finding consensus. He's credited with upping the organization within the group, having an ear for digging up obscure hits for their sets, and bringing the sonic sensibilities of a seasoned producer.
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