I was initially a bit afraid of going to a rap cypher feeling that the crowd would be intimidating in some way however what I quickly discovered was that the truth was anything but this. There is no pressure to dance and most people are just watching the stage like any other gig and everyone is really supportive and friendly to newcomers aswell - you get the sense that they are just happy to be performing to an audience - the more the merrier! Tracks on Tap is more chill than ordinary gigs in some ways - the focus is on the music and a lot of people are very invested in the lyrics, so there is a reverential sort of energy that goes with it.
Tracks on Tap usually begins with some open mic slots where acts showcase a song and if they do well, the understanding is that in the Tracks on Tap community they can then (provided they impress) progress and do a longer set showcasing some of their material at a future event. The sets are more established rappers who do 3-4 songs at the event. The evening's entertainment wraps up with a cypher where anyone can take to the stage and grab the mic to spit some bars. A rap cypher is basically like an open mic for rappers.This part of the night is usually hyped and it can be quite a challenge to jump on the mic so if you want to you'd have to be forthright!
My Friend Paradox got up on the stage and spat some serious bars and it was clear that he wouldn't be out of place spitting at any rave!
Lil Trubz, the founder of the event, got up and joined in on several songs and in the cypher aswell. Considering that he's in his early twenties, it is very impressive that he has achieved so much. When you speak to him it's clear that he is a very clever young man indeed.
Several girls also graced the stage, including Beth Next door, who delivered a very current and thought-provoking number on war in which she mentions the conflict in Israel.
Reckless Demeanor who headlined showcased his new song 'Loverboy Season', which is essentially about having the courage to go up and speak to some girls, which is important subject matter I feel. He gave out roses during this to people who looked as thought they were enjoying the performance. After this he invited some guests to the stage and performed a much more hyped up energetic song in stark contrast to the other tracks showcasing his versatility as an artist.
Shogun, who is the host of Tracks on Taps, was incredibly entertaining throughout the night and managed to wittily introduce the next acts using bars and wordplay, which was really impressive considering the number of performances. He fooled the audience into moving closer to the stage by getting everyone to balance on one leg then put one foot out and step and then do it again! He likes to check that the audience are not asleep by getting everyone to shout: 'When I say tracks on you say Tap! Tracks on 'tap!' tracks on 'tap!' He also joined in the cypher at the end proving that he is an excellent MC (master of ceremonies) in both senses of the word.
Another stand out performance was a performance by a 6-year-old MC who performed a song about the school run and being a good student which was infectiously catchy and adorable.
After the cypher, when the lights went up signifying that we all had to be out of the building, the DJ spun a track which everyone onstage and off started dancing some kind of choreographed routine to. This was a beautiful ending to the night's proceedings and really made you feel warm inside. If you've never been to a cypher before, I would highly recommend going to a Tracks on Tap, which are usually monthly events which take place mostly on Thursdays these days. I promise you'll have fun!