Feature Friday- xCYPHERx

Posted: December 24, 2010 by Is This Revolutionary? in Interview
Tags: , , ,

xCYPHERx, also known as Manuel Zapata, is a straight edge rapper from California. I got his mixxxtape last year, and seriously, I destroyed the sucker because I took it everywhere. When I got the opportunity to interview him, I pounced because he has such a new take on the straight edge scene, so I knew he’d have a lot of interesting things to say. We asked him about the scene, the battles and the beginnings.

Ben:  What first brought you into the hip-hop scene?

X: I first got into hip hop listening to old Wu Tang clan and Tupac growing up. A lot of music videos from MTV and BET.

B: What was your first exposure to straight edge?

X: I had a friend that was Straight Edge in high school, I had heard about it before that but that was really when I came into contact with the culture.

B: Where do you find inspiration for your rhymes?

X: I used to rap before about the “normal” things rappers talk about but I changed my life. I decided to give up what I had been into, changed friends, changed my way of thinking and decided to get into “straight edge”. I wanted to be more responsible for my actions. I am mainly inspired by the things I go through and what I think people need to hear as fans of both hiphop and hardcore.

B:  How truly influential do you feel music with a message is on the present generation?

X: I think as a generation we need to get MORE into music with an actual message. I love the popularity of these new “underground” type rappers and I love seeing the Hardcore scene and Pop Punk scene doing well because they bring a message and people listen.

B:  What bands do you site as an influence to your music, your message and your sound? [Answer whichever parts you’d like, doesn’t need to be all 3]
X: I love old west coast rap like Warren G, C-Bo and Death Row records and east coast rappers like Jadakiss and Wu Tang, The gritty style of the NY Hip hop scene really interests me, As far as my message? Its mainly through other genres. I try to add my emotions into my music (Bayside inspires me to do this), I add in the message of bands like Have Heart, xAFBx and Ceremony. I listen to a lot of music, I think people who listen to my music can tell.
B: What is the straight edge scene like in the 209?
X: The EDGE scene here is not doing too well. A lot of people chose to no longer be Straight Edge. There are a few folks left and some new kids coming in. Everything goes through ups and downs, Hopefully an “up” is near. Beer Pong was too strong to resist for some. [laughs]
B: Do you feel that straight edge has a large presence in hip-hop? If not, why not?
X: I don’t see much of a straight edge presence in hip hop at all. I know there is a specific lane for XXX Hip hop and I don’t mind it. I do my music to help Edge kids that listen to hip hop know that SOMEONE else is like them.
B: What other straight edge hip-hop groups would you recommend?
X: There are a lot of good Straight Edge artists doing hip hop that I know of, People should check out vxDEDxv from Fresno, xSubliminalx, xGoodfellasx from Germany, xVoice of reasonx, Edge with the dreads and Reign of Terror’s old music.
B: Where has been your favorite place to play/band to tour with?
X: I actually battle rap as well in GRINDTIMENOW’s emcee battle league, it actually allowed me to do a rap battle at Warped Tour this year. It was a really cool experience to see BOTH scenes I am in, coming together.
B: What can we expect from you in 2011? Any new material/merch/tours?

X: I am working on a Mixtape called “Welcome to Cyph City” a follow up to New Reign, More rap battles, Maybe a couple more shows, and Then its ALBUM time [laughs].

B: What happened to Ares? I can’t find them anywhere?

X: ARES broke up and the vocalist Mike moved to Texas. Most the other members are in other bands now like BACKFLIP and RECOGNIZE. I miss the ARES days [laughs].


B: Who else dropped a verse with you on the I Love College Remixxx? [The beginning verse]

X: That verse was actually already on the remix. It was Jim Jones. I thought it would be funny to ad in an edge verse to that song. I almost dared myself to do it [laughs].

Seriously, this guy’s really good. Download his album New Reign here: Download|||Facebook|||Myspace|||Twitter|||


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by xMANUEL209x and xMANUEL209x. xMANUEL209x said: @vxdedxv @sxe_life @EDGExLIFE Check this interview I did http://tinyurl.com/26rpsm9 […]

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