INDY WEEK: STARRY RAPS
March 01, 2017
There may be no other genre outside of Hip Hop that calls upon its artists to show such high regard to yesteryear’s sound. And while the Triangle rap scene has produced a slew of tribute projects and nods to raps golden era (I.e Madison Jay’s Trapped in the 90’s and Danny Blaze’s recent “Thank You Mr. Yancey”), few were as ambitious as Durham rapper Tracy Lamont’s 2015 time-traveling album, 92 Til’, where he bent past works by acts like Souls of Mischief and Cella Dwellas to his own tastes. Now he’s busy bending satellites on new songs like “Moonlight” and hoping to become a star.
MEET THE UNC RAP GROUP DRAWING CROWDS TO THE PIT
September 25, 2015
‘It has turned into something beautiful’
A crowd floods the Pit on Wednesday nights to watch the UNC Cypher, a freestyle rap group backed by a drummer, bassist and saxophonist keeping a steady beat.
This week, the rappers passed a dictionary through the crowd, asking students to take turns choosing random words that would then get the rappers started on a new rhyme.
The group can rap about anything, and the rhymes are reliably witty and entertaining.
They even rapped about The Tab, saying: “Go online and pick up The Tab. You know you get those words in the news story it’s rad. So when they give it to you they got a different pass…”
Anyone is welcome to watch or join in at a UNC cypher and first-time rappers – usually friends of the regulars – are often thrown into the spotlight against their will.
Tony said: “It’s a mixture of a really diverse group of people. People not in school, people still in school, mixed race, and it’s all just unity and fun.”
In the audience, heads bobbed along to the beat and people yelled out “OHHHHH” or erupted with laughter after a good rhyme.
ECU grad Tony Powell – a.k.a. Convo the Mutant – is one of the rappers.
He said: “As my friend Ghost Dog put it, the cypher’s a watering hole for all different kinds of people to come through and give something to put in and everybody take from.
“It’s like an exchange of knowledge in the times of old when people would meet to converse and really talk about the things that are going on. It has really turned into something beautiful.”
UNC grad Joshua “Rowdy” Rowsey played a big part in bringing the cypher to his alma mater.
“We’re bridging hip hop and education,” Joshua said. “In these educational institutions people don’t really believe that hip hop can be rooted with real lyricism to get people hype.
“Everyone here either has a college degree or is pursuing a college degree and we do find an importance in education as well as perfecting our craft.”
NC State student Tucker Brooks, 20, said the cypher started at NC State roughly five years ago.
Tucker said: “I’ve been going to the cypher every Monday for about four years. Some guys would come down from UNC and App and rap every Monday, so they just decided to start it here.”
The UNC Cypher started one year ago as just a few friends getting together to freestyle. Over this past summer, they started holding cyphers in front of the Waffle House on Franklin Street.
NCCU student Tracy Lamont was one of the first people involved in the UNC cypher. He said: “Rowsey would rap by himself for the longest time and then I kind of picked it up, came out with him. That’s when we were on Franklin Street for the summer and then we brought it back to campus.
“And maybe three or four weeks into bringing it back to campus it was lit. There were 60 to 100 plus people. They just come out to show us love.”
Each week, the UNC cypher has brought a bigger crowd and those involved are excited about the chance to show their talent and spread their ideas.
For the people who join in, Tracy said it’s all about “bringing the essence of hip hop back to the culture and letting people understand that it’s more than just trap beats.”
STREAM NOW: TRACY LAMONT’S “92 TIL'”
January 26, 2015
Tracy Lamont, a Durham, NC based emcee, just dropped his latest project 92 Til’, which is packed with boom bap beats, and classic samples. If anything, it only takes a few tracks to realize that Lamont’s ear for beats is on par, as are his bars. His first single was “Space, Funk, Flow,” which was well received in the hip hop blogosphere. Check out the rest of the album above, which is fairly solid.
PIT CYPHER RAPS 12.5 HOURS, BREAKS WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEST CYPHER
February 1, 2016
Not many people can rap. Even fewer people can rap for 12-and-a-half hours. And only one person can say he created the idea for a Guinness World Record-breaking cypher.
That person is UNC graduate Joshua Rowsey, a UNC employee who’s also known under his stage moniker, (J) Rowdy.
For 12 hours 36 minutes and 54 seconds on Sunday, Rowsey, along with six other North Carolina emcees — Anderson Burrus, Tracy Lamont, Tony Dyer, Peyton Courtney, Andrew Weaver and Tony Powell — participated in a record-breaking cypher at DSI Comedy Theater.
Powell, who also goes by Konvo the Mutant, said the audience fed off of the improvisation and the energy of the performers.
“Everybody was either just listening or rooting us on, and we just never stopped,” he said. “It went from us just trying to break a record to actually being a community event.”
The event was the first act to kick off the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, which runs through Feb. 14. It is also the only event in the festival focused solely on hip-hop music. Zach Ward, a UNC class of 1999 graduate and owner of DSI Comedy Theater, said although most people don’t typically associate freestyle rap with comedy, there are many similarities between freestyle rap and improv comedy. “Freestyle rap is improvisation, in-the-moment rapping inspired by words that they’re getting from the dictionary and ideas that are coming in from pop culture and current events,” he said.
“Josh came with this crazy idea and, in the spirit of what we do, we said, ‘Yes, and’ and we helped him do whatever we could do to make it happen.”
Rowsey, who has spent every Wednesday night since fall 2014 at the Pit Cypher and spends much of his free time freestyling with his friends across the state, said he created this event to bring awareness to the quality of artists that North Carolina has to offer. “I really see that there’s a widespread movement in the hip-hop community right now where North Carolina is a force for skillful emcees and artists,” he said. “We have our own sort of niche here. We’re doing our own thing and something that nobody can replicate, and I think that this cypher is kind of made to be a statement.”
Now that the record has been broken, Powell said the group of friends will continue to do cyphers on their own campuses across North Carolina but also encourage others to start their own cyphers and pursue hip-hop.“I felt great to be able to do it with my brothers on that stage and just really do what we love doing,” he said. “Most people would think this is where we stop, but we can’t stop — we have so much more to do.”
MP3: ‘SPACE. FUNK. FLOW’ BY TRACY LAMONT (@IAMTRACYLAMONT)
March 23, 2015
Today, VannDigital.com introduces a new face in the hip hop world, who is guaranteed to make some major waves!!! He goes by the name of Tracy Lamont. He is the newest member of SkyBlew’s 2StepsAboveTheStars crew/movement. Tracy Lamont is a hip-hop artist hailing from Virginia; now residing in Durham, NC. He brings something different to the table unlike most rappers out now. He is gearing up to drop his first project tilted ’92 Til’. He recently released his first single “Space. Funk. Flow” & you can stream the jazzy, smooth banger below…
ANOTHER WIN FOR NORTH CAROLINA
February 27, 2018
Another win for North Carolina
Tracy Lamont approached his performance with supreme confidence in his 2nd attempt at The Bar Exam. His first being in Durham, NC where he and last months winner competed as a group and placed 2nd to Cam of the Materials. This time the Richmond, VA native by way of Durham rapper appeared more polished and refined and admittedly so as told to MICXSIC in a recent interview: “After the last Bar Exam, I made it a point to practice more. Practice, practice, practice…”.
Tracy will open THe Bar Exam All-Star concert Thursday in Atlanta and feature March 23rd at Apache Cafe for the next Atlanta Bar Exam.
NORTH CAROLINA ARTISTS TEAM UP IN ASHEVILLE, NC TO CREATE VISUALS FOR “THE VIBE”
May 10, 2018
Introducing two new North Carolina artists on to the site, we have Tracy Lamont and Konvo. The two have partnered up with C. Shreve The Professor to debut a brand new summer single titled “The Vibe”.
C. Shreve The Professor, Tracy Lamont and Konvo combine lyrical forces to deliver the one liners, the nostalgia, and word play that will make you pause the track and run verses back. The sound is reminiscent to styles off of A$AP Rocky’s 2011 Live. Love. A$AP tape. “The Vibe” was produced by Lamont and each respective artist attacks the beat with a flow and tone that distinguishes themselves from one another. The video was shot and directed by Thornburg Creative in Asheville, NC. Have a listen to the track in full below.