The 2022 Hennessy Cypher verses indeed belong in the 2022 top 10 verses category.
The season’s winner VS Class PDSTRN opened the cypher with personal stories and experiences. The champ comes from the mud and he insists on not allowing anyone to stain his white as he walks toward his objectives. He also touches on an important principle on violence against women, before riding out the verse on how he is destined for greatness and he’s only enjoying the journey, which he shows by switching to a patois melody.
An important reference is his “the only box you can put me in is in TBS.” TBS was a race course in the colonial eras and horses being in a box right before the gates are opened for the race, only means he is always raring to go. That’s an interpretation, I don’t know if that is his.
Enter the VS Villain and 2022’s 1st runner-up for verse two. Barelyanyhook being the lyrical beast, came out the gate with a double entendre with “don’t leave half dead victims, I need the whole soul/sole, I need both the shoes and the socks for little bro, bro.” The villain did what was expected of every villain; state (ad he did show) how formidable they are, and why they are not to be tested. Barely’s rhyme schemes and cadence was also immaculate, and without that, he did have a lot to say about his verse. Felt as if he would have gone on for another 3 minutes if given the opportunity.
He did get me involved with his “now the name Django, equestrian on a high horse.” He references the movie where a free slave rides the horse alongside his ‘white partner,’ facing snide comments from both slaves and slave owners alike. Well, he’s the villain and he’s definitely not out to impress anyone or to expect a compliment for his pen game. Why? He knows he is whatever he says he is.
The winner of the 2020 VS Class Matosan took on verse 3, and he took more of the introspective and therapeutic path. A darkened soul, confusion, indecisiveness, trust issues stemming from empty promises, and disappointments on his journey so far. The switch in voices like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar was also noteworthy. Overall, that verse sounded like a cry for help. I hope people around him provide him with warmth and support as he figures it out.
1st runner-up of Preacher Kingz closed this awesome cypher with his eloquence and sleek flows. He had the shortest verse yet, it packed a punch. My bad. Packed with punches. It starts to get interesting when he mentions his demeanour being a paddock (a small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised) to him never losing his parlance which leads to his Juicy songs by and like B.I.G (Christopher Wallace). He further explores another double with the “Took an Oath, not a Pledge” line that infused the ‘be-headed to the top like John the Baptist.’ That needs no explanation to the average Christian.
The “Hold your horses! The game isn’t Stable enough for that” line also caught my attention and I couldn’t help but wonder if PDSTRN, Barelyanyhook, and Preacher Kingz intentionally referenced horses in their verses. One says he’s a stallion raring to go, another says he’s an elite equestrian on strong stallion, while the last is saying the game/stable can’t house such rash energies and proclamations (from people or horses?). All of these could also just be in my head; you know, Balderdash.
The melody switch by PDSTRN was awesome, but a “no, no” in a cypher. Cypher is as traditional as R(hythm) A(nd) P(oetry), not Hip-hop or melody, gets. The melody transformed his verse into a hip-hop verse. Not knowing what the theme was about, but Matosan’s verse was pretty dark and I hope he gets the help he needs. VS Villain stayed true to his persona but had a lot of violence going on. Lastly, Preacher’s verse really should have been longer.