A One-Man ‘Hip-Hop Odyssey’ Spotlights The Cypher

Aug 15, 2018

In hip-hop culture, the cypher is a circle in which people are rapping and beatboxing in a collective – a space that lays the foundation for the creation of community and music. 

In his new one-man show “Temples of Lung and Air,” writer-performer Kane Smego traces his life story through the many cyphers that have shaped his identity. From his experience as a young kid freestyling at the lunch table, to competing in national poetry slams and rapping alongside G Yamazawa in the hit song “North Cack,” Smego interrogates race, whiteness and the power of language.

'Language won’t meant to be pretty, or proper, or dressed in an undersized suit and told to sit still for the picture, so how was it meant to be spoken? It was meant…to be…spoken.'- Kane Smego from his one-man show

Host Frank Stasio talks with Kane Smego about his experiences growing up in a racially mixed family in the South and his travels exploring hip-hop across five continents. The production, presented by PlayMakers Repertory Company and Street Signs Center for Literature and Performance, is directed by Joseph Megel. It’s on stage at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Wednesday, Aug. 22 to Sunday, Aug. 26.