‘I’m Black As Jesus’: Local Emcees Loud And Proud In New Carolina Waves Cypher

Jul 29, 2020

Lena Jackson, Tagem, 2FLY KNG and Jooselord join verses about the systemic violence against Black bodies in “Black AF,” a raw black-and-white lyric video released by Carolina Waves.

While the cypher format oftentimes turns competitive, it is clear the four emcees are in full support of one another’s prowess and message as each step forward to speak truth to power. Backed by a dark and plotting beat crafted by Imani “Yaya Beatz” Pressley, the cypher expands the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement through metaphor and rhyme.

Mir.I.am, the founder of Carolina Waves, is leveraging the curated cypher to open the floor for new voices in North Carolina’s rich underground hip-hop scene. Artists can send in a video of their original verses over Pressley’s beat. The winner will take the stage in the next scheduled cypher in Fall 2020.

Host Anita Rao dives into the poetry of “Black AF” and the history of Black artistry in social movements with Raleigh rapper Lena Jackson and Greensboro’s Imani Pressley, a Grammy-nominated producer and musician.

All proceeds from the single and t-shirt sales go to North Carolina-based nonprofits committed to anti-racism, including Democracy Green, Raleigh PACT, Raleigh Demands Justice, Emancipate NC and Advance North Carolina.