Oak City Hustle
Flame-fueled Freestyle at the Graffiti Tunnel Cypher

Flame-fueled Freestyle at the Graffiti Tunnel Cypher

Raleigh hip hop is alive and well thumping hard from the tunnels of NC State. What started as a gathering of Raleigh’s finest for a photo shoot 3 years ago has grown into a weekly freestyle cypher featuring local and legendary talent. My man Ghost Dog put me on to this event that goes down every Monday night at 11:30 at the Graffiti Tunnels of NC State. You know Oak City Hustle had to pay a visit.

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L!ve, a member of Ghost Dog’s crew “1100 Hunters” was the first to call the gathering that connected the livest local emcees while Ill Tactics painted a graffiti backdrop for the album art shot by Khali Rhe & Darryl Smith. After the photoshoot was over these emcees couldn’t leave without a proper cypher. The night was so hot they decided to make it a weekly gathering. For three years the event has grown under the organizational watch of Ghost Dog, Eternal, Brother Jru, & Fernando Sanders. Legendary emcees have been know to show up including Blueprint (Rhymesayers), Prince Po (Organized Konfusion), 9th Wonder & the Jamla camp, as well as other Justus League members such as Cesar Comanche & DJ Flash.

I spoke to Ghost Dog about his vision for the gathering and what is on the horizon for upcoming cyphers:

“Our aim is to preserve the art of lyricism & encourage heads to tap into their inherent creativity & for spectators & new listeners to gain an understanding & appreciation for the elements of hip-hop. As such, we have had some of the cypha heads spread out as they maybe moved/transferred/just got around that have started cyphers at several universities across the state including Central, A&T, & UNC Charlotte. We are trying to make this a lasting movement”

We are having a HUGE back-to-school cypher on August 26th. Already confirmed is a DJ on-hand, b-boys, Ill Tactics (who was responsible for the original cypha tag-session; which can be seen in the God Cypher Divine credits) returning to lace some more artwork, & what we are trying to accomplish for the event is to get some of the pioneers of the game to attend & support; as we push to make this a lasting & legitimate part of NC (& hip-hop) culture. It’ll be a bit of an earlier cypher; bout 9-9:30-ish instead of the usual 11-11:30 start time.”

Connect with Ghost Dog on Facebook for more info and make sure you find your way to the tunnels to see how NC holds it down.



Sean Kernick

Sean brings a mix of social consciousness, inspiration and creative connection to his life as a family man, artist, social organizer, producer, creative director and co-founder. “Family, friendship, and artwork are the pillars that keep my foundation secure. I am always looking to expand and explore all forms of artistic expression.”


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