2-Man Cypher Interview (2014)
This interview has been a long time in coming. When I heard the 2-Man Cypher (Sleep and Cain) album, Queen City Bastards, I was made into an instant fan. The realism of that album, enhanced by the sheer skill of the emcees was nothing short of amazing. I am of the frame of mind that 2-Man Cypher is going to the top. How can they not? They have all the intangibles. Make sure you pass this interview along and cop that album at all costs. Also, check for their future music projects. It’s all next level material.
HHD: So to start out, tell people where 2 Man Cypher is located and how the two of you guys linked up to form the group? Give us the back story.
Sleep: Cain (chris) and I have been friends since the 7th grade, so we have been friends for 16 years. When we wanted to stop being rap critics and try our hands at it we had to choose a name that sounded hip hop and incorporate the culture. Ciphers were where mc’s tried to prove there lyrical ability. Usually consisting of a good amount of rappers. Well it’s just us too and we can go back and fourth with this rap shit all day. Lol
Cain: Well we both are from Cincinnati OH, Myself born & raised in a urban neighborhood called Madisonville aka Madville and Sleep is from as we all know the infamous Lockland. We met in middle school around the age of 14. We both end up living in the same neighborhood of Mt.Healthy OH in yet another urban hood called Lex aka WARTOWN, were we became best friends. We didn’t start rapping until around junior and senior year of highschool but never nothing serious just free-styling and clowning around. But once we graduated Sleep went off to college and meet a good friend of ours name Sherm and he pretty much is responsible for us taking this serious, his passion for rap inspired Sleep to wanna write and when Sleep came home he had recorded his first track wit Sherm and a couple of his boys to the Lox “Money,Power,Respect” beat. At the same time I was already writing and had multiple tracks I had written as well. From that day forward we decided to take it serious and throughout the years me & Sleep record mixtape after mixtape over industry beats making them our own. Fast forward to 2012 we linked up with Dope Antelope ,Kue The Vandal & Devil Speciez on Kue’s Album Genghis Khan and the rest is history.
HHD: One of the reasons you are being featured on HHD is because you guys are bringing a very raw/boom bap approach to making hip hop music. I am curious to find out what artists/music you listened to growing up?
Sleep: At a young age I was listening to the chronic, snoop, tupac and bond thugs in harmony a lot. Early teens I was more into no limit records and all there artist. Then cash money and the hot boys. Coming into my senior year I was more into New York hiphop with DMX and it snowballed from there. Jay z, nas, mob deep, 50, g-unit, grafh, red cafe and cats like that made me want to start rapping.
Cain: Growing up I listen to Wu-Tang,Cannibus,Mobb Deep,Nas, PAC,Big, 8-Ball & MJG,Lox, Jay-Z, Capone & Noreaga,Beanie Sigel, The Firm,Red &Meth,DMX and The Fugees just to name a few but as I got older my artist of influence became Eminem,50 Cent,Joe Budden,Lloyd Banks,Obie Trice,G-Unit,Royce Da 5’9,Loaded Lux,Grafh,Corey Gunz,Dipset,Fabolous even Lil Wayne ( during his Squad Up days and before the skinny jeans,sipping lean and skateboard non-sense tho).
HHD: What made you decide to make the jump from being just a fan of hip hop to making your own music?
Sleep: I decided I was tired of being a critic and wanted to challenge myself to be better.
Cain: The decision from being a fan to a artist was easy, honestly music was such a influence on our upbringing it was hard not to pick up a pen at a point but we also realized we had start becoming very critical about artist we respected music a lot, it was almost like we expected more and held them to a standard to continue to raise the bar, so we figured before we continue to just sit and judge why not give it try and so we did exactly that.Being a fan is easy I encourage all critical fans to try being a artist and they will respect what we do.
HHD: You recently dropped the project, Queen City Bastards. Tell folks a little bit about the project. How long was that project in the making? How has it been received thus far? Do you personally have a favorite track from the album?
Sleep: We work pretty quick so we decided to do it, got with the fraternities produced DOPE ANTELOPE he sent the beats in about a 2-3 week span, we wrote our verses and crafted the concepts in a week or two and put it out. The album has been received very well even being called a underground classic by different sites. Lots of blog love for the videos. “Project 48” and “broken”. My fav song is probably “the hunted”.
HHD: Now the beats were provided by Dope Antelope and I know that he’s produced some other joints for each of you previous to the album. How did you all get linked up with him because he’s killing these beats?
Sleep: Cain found him on YouTube while looking for beats. We became cool on Facebook. He was working with a dope mc out of Texas named Kue the Vandal. They were doing a collaborative Lp at the time and asked us to be in it. We did. Now we all family.
Cain: I would like to start this off by saying Dope Antelope is the GOD of the underworld when it comes to beats and I feel very fortunate to work with such an amazing producer. But to answer your question I personally am responsible for the link up, I was trolling YouTube for new beats for me and Sleep and found Dope’s page and instantly emailed him tracks of Sleep and myself and he instantly took a liking and offered us a 3 features on Kue’s Album Genghis Khan, where we did “Nothing To Hide” (the prelude to “Changes”),The Ruler is Back and the song that started The Fraternity “Breathe”.
HHD: I would like you guys to speak on your verses for a particular track. As a father myself, First Born, is a really powerful cut. In your verses you speak really candidly about fatherhood. Can you elaborate on how being a
father has changed the context of your lives and your music?
Sleep: For me it really doesn’t. My son doesn’t hear my music. Now I always want him to be proud of me so I work harder at this music shit so in that way yea I guess he does fuel me.
Cain: Begin a father is hands down the greatest thing to ever happen to me, it gave my life purpose. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my 2 boys they’re my world, so when I got the chance to tell my story about my oldest who I don’t get to see I jumped to chance, the track was more therapy for me than anything, it gave me a chance to put my frustration and pain on the track and the song is definitely one of my top 3 favorite tracks on the album for that reason.
HHD: I’ve been searching around the internets to find some more work from you guys, either as a group, or as solo artists. For people like me who are on the hunt, what are some other projects that they can find from the team?
Sleep: I released my signature album “lockland 95 ” last year. 6 months later I followed up with a ep titled “the stage fright ep” on this ep I didn’t curse or use the “N” word. It was a challenge for myself. I have a ep with kue the Vandal titled “the pale horse ep”. All can be downloaded on bandcamp.com.
Also look for my Ep dropping 1st quarter this year called “Gorillaz At Large” produced by Rez the Silverback and this summer my mixtape K.O.S( King Of SpazMuzik) will be dropping as well.
HHD: Now, in conjunction with the release of Queen City Bastards, I also caught wind of The Fraternity movement. How and when did that come about?
Sleep: Mostly all the members of the fraternity were on the collaborative Lp from dope antelope and Kue the Vandal. We all became cool online and kind of started hash tagging FRATERNITY. It blew up and we took it seriously. Now we have more members and we are killing shit online and in are respective cities.
Cain: Well myself & Sleep came up with the name and idea right after we met Dope Antelope, Kue The Vandal and Devil Speciez. Shortly after Kue and Sleep made the logo and then the 5 of us just started screaming it on social media and every track we touch until it stuck and its been growing ever since.#Fraternity4Eternity
HHD: What can we expect from both The Fraternity and 2 Man Cypher in the near future of 2014?
Sleep: Body bags, lots of body bags.
Cain: I don’t wanna jinx it or set any expectations that may not be met but the plan is to drop a full Fraternity album this year which the fans would love,but we gotta make sure everybody is project free and fully devoted to the album because with 10 rappers on deck for different states its hard to get on the same page at times plus we all always making music. And as far as 2MC expect more new music every month and a nice surprise at the end of the year( rubs hands together in a sinister way).
HHD: What is going to define success for each of you both as hip hop artists and in life in general?
Sleep: I’d be happy making 60k-300k in hip hop. I have no dreams of being a music mogul. I will be top 5 when I’m done though. That’s my goal.
Cain: If I could sum it up in a couple words I would say “consistently grinding” and the will to always keep getting better and be better than each other we are constantly in competition with each other, I truly am who I am as a artist because of sleep he keeps me on my game. We both only see each other as our biggest advisory and continue to use that as a tool to level up as artist, the goal is to keep raising the bar the sky is the limit.