WHAT IS A CYPHER???
(This is from the 2009 BET AWARDS)
*All from WIKIPEDIA
A CYPHER is a hip-hop jam session or freestyle battle
A jam session is a musical act where musicians gather and play (or simply “jam”) without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements; improvisation.
Jam sessions are often used to develop new material, find suitable arrangements, or simply as a social gathering and communal practice session. Jam sessions may be based upon existing songs or forms, may be loosely based on an agreed chord progression or chart suggested by one participant, or may be wholly improvisational. Jam sessions can range from very loose gatherings of amateurs to sophisticated improvised recording sessions intended to be edited and released to the public.
Freestyle rap commonly refers to rap lyrics which are improvised through acapella or with instrumental beats, i.e. performed with few or no previously composed lyrics, off the top of the head. It is similar to other improvisational music such as rock where there is a lead guitarist acting as the improviser and the backup guitarist providing the beat.
Originally, in Old School Hip-Hop, the term ‘freestyle’ referred to a pre-written rap verse that was not on any particular subject matter and was just written for the purpose of demonstrating skill. The term is still occasionally used in this way, though the majority of today’s artists use it to mean improvised rapping.