By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
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By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
"You have that left and right brain, and the left brain has this little piece of a left brain on top," Fundo says. "Drew has an extra part of his brain."
The added personnel proved essential as New York native Jimmy 2 Times spent a year DJing up and down the East Coast, and Plain Ole Bill became P.O.S.'s touring DJ following the Never Better record. (The rapper confirms, "Bill's the guy who took my live act to another level.") When Brother Ali was between DJs recently, he also hired Bill, his old roommate in south Minneapolis in the early '00s.
"Bill as a DJ, in my mind, is the best all-around DJ we've ever had in our scene within hip hop," Ali says, and references Bill's four-year stint working at the Rhymesayers store Fifth Element, which parlayed mentoring experiences with Rhymesayers' Kevin Beacham, Eyedea collaborator DJ Abilities, and Atmosphere beatmaker Ant. "He would just sit in his room and mix records and scratch records literally all day. He's an insomniac. If I came in the house at midnight, he'd be in his room scratching. He literally did nothing else. He came out of the room once a day to eat a frozen pizza, and that was it."
Get Cryphy Five-Year Anniversary, Friday, Feb. 8, 9 pm; 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775.
All four Cryphy DJs understand the importance of diversifying their portfolios, and building strong relationships with other DJs and artists. Atmosphere frequently take them on the road, and Zombie Pub Crawl has enlisted Get Cryphy's services (and were grateful to have them fill time when DMX arrived mad late last year). Each of the crew's anniversary parties has boasted a wealth of special guests, including seasoned vets like Prof and Brother Ali, but also younger faces like the Tribe and Big Cats, and Tomorrow Genius.
Over the years, Cryphy members have launched and supported parties with other dance-related themes like Triple Double, Bomp!, and Hands High. It kept their names on events calendars by the week without diluting the central brand's monthly appeal.
"They promote well, do business smart, they actually talk things out, they hone in on their craft before every show, and they rehearse," says MaLLy, who co-hosted the four-year anniversary party, and has worked with Last Word since 2011. "They handle it like professionals, man. People want to work with them. They bring variety to the game. They're huge on the analogy of you gotta crawl before you walk, and you gotta walk before you jump, you gotta jump before you can leap, and you gotta leap before you can fly. Nothing's overnight. They work hard."
The Get Cryphy guys are people-pleasers by nature, but for the past couple of years they've taken it to the next level with anniversary mixes available for free download (soundcloud.com/getcryphy).
Each second is dripping in production excellence, and the mixes showcase the guys' scratching abilities, song selection, and sense of humor. Expect movie clips from Spaceballs ("Coming up, Pongo's review of Rocky Five ... Thousand!"), the bell-ringing of a Super Mario Brothers' extra life, and exclusive guest slots from pals like St. Paul Slim, Truthbetold, Prof, Ander Other, and MaLLy. And just like their live-action counterparts, here's a grip of songs you love as well as the ones you will love six months from now.
"There's definitely not any [local radio] stations who are trying to say, 'Let's check out this new dude from Oakland who's really dope,'" Jimmy says. "So we kinda feel like a responsibility almost to bring new rap to the forefront in the TC, and be like, 'Check out this shit from the Bay, check out this shit from the South, check out this New York shit that you're not into.'"
Because there's a "track listing" for the five-year mix, which was a seven-hour task for the four guys, it's possible to figure out, for example, that the 30 seconds of "Martin have a dream!" vocals from Dr. Dre protege Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" is layered over the symphonic intro to Clipse workhorse Pusha T's "In This Ho (Lambo)" for an entirely different feel.
"The Kendrick phenomenon is so dope to all of us," Bill says, comparing the acclaimed young rapper to the sluggish club anthems of Chicago rapper Chief Keef. "[Good kid, m.A.A.d city] is great because he's rapping over club bangers some of the time, and also simple loops that sound like 1997 indie rap. He's super lyrical, but people understand him. His voice is ill, he can sing, it's great. I want more Kendrick. It's always ill to hear somebody over a club banger say some cool stuff."
On January 27, 2012, Get Cryphy set a new milestone by rocking for a sold-out audience of nearly 10,000 at the acoustically pristine Red Rocks Amphitheatre west of Denver. Billed as Winter on the Rocks, it was the first winter show at the venue, and featured Atmosphere, Common, and Grieves & Budo. It was well below freezing, and a whole lot was going wrong before the doors even opened.
After Common's exceptionally long soundcheck, the guys only got about 10 minutes to warm up before the doors opened. Coats furnished by a snowboard company heated the crew a little, but their equipment was getting frostbite.