It's New Year's Day, and most of Minneapolis is snuggled up at home with their hangovers still lingering from the previous night's ragers. Downtown feels like an icy ghost town. Even First Avenue is sans scene kids sharing cigs on the corner, the Mainroom dark and lifeless like a closed museum. But look closer, and a guy in a black oversized puffer is chasing his breath through the inconspicuous VIP Room door, followed by girls peeling off their coats before they even get inside. Before you know it, a line has formed down the starry black brick wall of the club. What could possibly drag these kids out tonight? The irresistible urge to Get Cryphy, that's what.
Inside, DJ Jimmy2Times has the diverse crowd of college kids, North Side thugs, Uptown trendies, suburbanites, and everyone in between going insane. He's blaring E40's "Tell Me When to Go," scratching flawlessly over the track and inching in the Bucketheads' 1995 disco-house classic "The Bomb." This hot-mix style of deejaying won't allow one track to overstay the spotlight—before you know it, hands are in the air for an especially grimy Lil' Wayne cut, followed by an OutKast re-edit spun by the night's co-star, Plain Ole Bill (who is also P.O.S.'s touring DJ). He's manning the other side of the decks with another set of tracks as guest DJ EMYND from Philly prepares for the headlining slot.
"Let's see how 2010's really gonna go down!" barks the night's hypeman, MC Prof, perched casually atop a huge stack of bass bins. Fists are pumping, cameras are flashing, elbows are in flight, and even the windows are sweating thanks to this near-capacity room of dancing fools. The evening gets rowdier as the hours fly by, alcohol spilling like it's free. At the end of the night, the New Year is officially ushered (if not shoved) in, and now, a month later, it's time to do it all again at Cryphy's two-year anniversary this Friday.
By now, you're probably wondering what the hell "Cryphy" even means.
"'Cryphy' is an amalgam of crunk and hyphy," Dan Marcoulis, a.k.a. Jimmy2Times, explains over a round of vodka cranberries at the Wedge apartment of Plain Ole Bill (given name Bill Hebl). "They're basically the two major subgenres of the 2000s and really aren't that relevant anymore, but they're rooted in whyling the fuck out. The bottom line is that we like really rowdy party music in a dance-party atmosphere."
Marcoulis, sporting a Yankees cap (he's originally from upstate New York) and blue flannel, pumps his fists and gets gangster with it to make his point, cracking Hebl up. This is a common occurrence between the two friends, who met at the regional DMC championships at First Avenue in 2001: Very rarely are they not clowning.
"The title of the party is almost like the disclaimer," Hebl adds, representing in the "MPLS" T-shirt Burlesque designer and sometimes-Cryphy DJ Mike2600 made for him. "There are some people who say, 'I'm not going to go to a party called Get Cryphy'—and it's like, well...good."
Born in First Avenue's VIP Room but conceived at the now-defunct Foundation Nightclub, where the duo's "Party & Bullshit" club night ruled, Cryphy is known as a place to get buck wild to a soundtrack of multi-era rap music, juke, classic dance, and blog house—the electronica portion of this recipe a previously 86'd ingredient in the upfront hip-hop scene's mix. Which isn't to say the groundbreaking club night doesn't have its own influences: Its two scene siblings, Too Much Love and the Moon Goons, help set the stage for a night like this to be successful. All three working at one time helped foster a new breed of hipster music lovers in the city that's been pervasive for years in places like Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. At some point in 2007, though, the anything-goes crowd started calling the shots.
"I think Cryphy really works because it's what's going on with that music, but it isn't just Top 40," says Moon Goons brainchild Jonathan Ackerman. "It fills this void in Minneapolis because it's not one of those bottle-service-obsessed parties where you're only hearing KDWB-style rap."
Marcoulis echoes this statement wholeheartedly, calling himself and Hebl "no-frills kind of guys."
"We show up and we're like, 'Okay, we're here to rock the party.' We're going to play bangers, we're going to do it really fast, and we're going to do it with skill. We don't give a fuck if we're playing somewhere gross and dingy," he says, blue eyes bugging. "Just set up the gear wherever, tell us where the liquor is, and come dance to our tracks when you're ready."
It's this bare-essentials formula that makes Marcoulis and Hebl's night such an attractive option for the nightlife set sick of local clubs offering every kind of experience except a Minneapolis one. And with First Avenue standing tall as one of the city's most self-actualized bars, so to speak, it's a perfect fit.
"It's been two years, but they change it up every week, putting a lot of time and effort into promoting each monthly event so it doesn't get old," says Sonia Grover, the club's booking manager. "It practically sells out every month, and honestly, it really couldn't be much more of a success."
GET CRYPHY celebrates its two-year anniversary this FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, in the VIP ROOM. Jimmy2Times also plays City Pages' GIMME SHELTER Haiti Benefit with Mike 2600, Solid Gold, Mark Mallman, Zoo Animal, and Peter Wolf Crier on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, at FIRST AVENUE; 612.332.1775