Return of the Cypher

If you know me from real life, you already know that I am one of the directors for the weekly Return of the Cypher party @the Boom Boom Room in the historic Fillmore district in San Francisco. I am proud to report that our event recently celebrated our 5 year anniversary!!

R.O.T.C. is an open-mic cypher accompanied by our in-house Get Down Band and legendary DJ Kevvy Kev. All emcees and vocalists are welcome to rock with us.. as long as they read the rules, acquire a wristband, and of course adhere to the guidelines stated in the rules. It is the most accurate representation of Hip Hop culture in the SF Bay Area.. and if you were raised by this culture, you will surely agree. Many of our patrons consider R.O.T.C. to be their temple/ mosques/ church , and religiously attend. Iconic legends that are in your iTunes right now regularly are in attendance. Large Professor, MC Akil of Jurassic 5, RZA, Killah Priest, Rappin’ 4-Tay, and Lyrics Born, have all stopped by and/or performed at R.O.T.C.!!

Our event features a special performer doing a set every week. We have had touring acts from every imaginable region of the U.S., as well as international artists that ventured from Japan, Mongolia, Bali, Vietnam, U.K., and Sweden. We also feature the monthly M.V.P (Most Valuable Poet) contest, where competitors go after the coveted R.O.T.C. dog tags, a beatsmith live production set known as the Boom Boom Bap Session, and guest hosts with varying flavors.

If you are a newbie emcee still mastering elementary skills, there doesn’t exist an environment more supportive than R.O.T.C. If you are a mid-tier flame spitter or veteran, our platform is the perfect place to try out new material, keep your bars sharp, and be reminded why you love rapping in the first place. If you are a veteran, please help us carry on tradition!! The essence of rap camaraderie is extremely powerful in our community; cats routinely cypher outside the venue after the party has ended.

 

Methadone (Hip Hop Against Drug Abuse)

If you know me from real life, you know that I am a product of sobriety/recovery.. Although I was able to celebrate 8 years of continuous sobriety this past August, I remain extremely concerned about the normalization, satirization, and promotion of AUD/alcoholism, substance abuse, mental disorders, and dual diagnoses, prevalent in our culture. I have known certain artists for over a decade whom I have never seen sober. There are numerous men huddled by a bathroom stall sniffing lines at any given venue. Young people are conditioned to sing lyrics about pills and codeine without even knowing it. I am that one MC who’s gonna tell you that this is NOT cool.

This one is dedicated to anyone who has suffered from alcoholism, addiction, and/or dual diagnosis.. you are welcome to holler at me anytime..

Methadone (Hip Hop Against Drug Abuse)
Produced by: Necro
Mixed by: D-Wiz
Cover by: Señor Gigio

Permanent Scars (Final Fantasy Instrumental)

2 Mello is a multi-faceted producer who samples retro Nintendo games. I was immediately interested upon discovering his Final Fantasy- the 3-6 Chambers project.. (he flipped Wu Tang acapellas over Final Fantasy samples!) He also has Nas x Castlevania, Jay-Z x Chrono Trigger, and the full instrumental version for each project!! WHAT!? A beat from the FF batch served as the perfect, beautifully melancholic soundscape for some painful-ass bars I was chiseling when I lost my older brother this past July. This instrumental truly saved my damn sanity.

I present to you Permanent Scars. Props to 2 Mello. Mixed by DWiz. Pic by Sarah Arnold.

R.O.T.C. Official Newsletter

I have started the Official R.O.T.C. Newsletter!! If you don’t know by now, Return of the Cypher is where Hip Hop culture resides in the SF Bay Area!! Every Sunday evening at the historic Boom Boom Room in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, we facilitate an organic, top-tier cypher, backed by our in-house live band. The event celebrated its 5 years anniversary this past summer, and the movement is showing no signs of slowing down.. please come through!! Please sign-up here!!

 

Never Be Famous

Brand New Banger by Sticky Ricardo featuring Kensho Kuma!! “Never Be Famous” is scheduled to appear on Sticky Ricardo’s upcoming “Sticks and Stones” debut album; his project will also have appearance from the legendary Killarmy clique. This track is about being content with accepting that you’ll never “blow-up” by so-called “industry” standards and is written from the perspective of an independent artist dealing with everyday trials and tribulations. The graphic was created by Jane the Message and is modeled after the Japanese Doraemon font.

Never Be Famous Verse 1: “Yeah, rappers talm ’bout, getting more Prada/ your boy’s independent, shipping out product/ never sold hella units, gotta day job/ I’m performing at the local shows, on my days off/ yeah, use my vacation, for oversea tours/ I’m flirting with a mermaid, on foreign seashores/ hi! getting more supporters, more than before/ but we can’t buy a house or afford the decor/ and we blame one percenters and white older heads/ but I’m more evil when I’m outta bipolar meds/ ughh, Lithium, Depakote in pill cabinet/ but I hate feeling numb, rather feel passionate/ ’bout everything in life, success to the failure/ you talk a good one homie, let’s see you wager/ running with the immigrants, Mexican neighbors/ know the Japones is raw and get’s only greater/ invest my Bitcoin, in Vivranium/ and hire more teachers and librarians/ I don’t give a shit if I don’t rock in a stadium/ but tired of the students getting shot in the cranium/”

Chorus (repeat x 2): “I ain’t even tripping that I’ll never be famous/ ’cause I murder everything, when I hit the stages/ nothing but my real life, written on the pages/ we’ll be here forever, ’cause the way we flows ageless/”

Never Be Famous Verse 2: “My beautiful masseuse got me feeling great/ I’m on a cruise boat with friends and we grilling steak/ if you, talk shit my killers will seal your fate/ ughh, jets and helicopters on my real estate/ I got every pair of Nikes, that were ever made/ at the venues in your city, my records getting played/ Kendrick called last night, and asked for a feature/ my photo shoots packed with some Japanese divas/ (wake yo ass up!) damn, back to my real life/ what I do for a living doesn’t even feel right/ trapped in a meeting writing verses in my head/ I should be out touring in Europe, but instead/ my bitch of a boss, writing me a reprimand/ if I get one more, I’m fired so I’m stressing fam/ lemme get you tea, ah! mix it with some Diprivan/ kill all the cameras, return with some weapons (blam!)/ I ain’t even serious, my dreams and my nightmares/ always influence the rhyme schemes that I write here/ we respected for the way we rep on the mic/ but we speak for real people with some regular lives/”

Chorus (repeat x 2):

Kensho Kuma featured on Rikinish’s Debut Album

Rikinish is a Japanese MC, producer, nomadic teacher, and R.O.T.C. regular; this past week, his debut album Everyday, was released through Orikami Records in France. Please be sure to support the official release!! Yours truly is featured alongside R.O.T.C.’s Jane the Message on a song titled “the Game.”

I am currently working on the “Lyricist ov the Lineage” project, which features new, old, and collaborative tracks.. I am going to compile 60-70 minutes worth of music, and have my uncle DJ Kevvy Kev mix it.. this one is the latest addition to the line-up thus far. Please be sure to check out the whole playlist.

Kensho Kuma “the Game” verse: “Not a freestyler/ want my name mentioned in the same sentence as a legendary writer/ Ernest Hemingway/ cats get resentful that they could never ever step in Kensho’s way/ I’m like Marley Marl, dropping science and math/ a lotta obstacles, popping up in my path/ but we separate, propaganda and facts/ and decisions get made properly with the stats/ yeah, you know the vulture type/ decent at rapping, but always acting stupid and can’t rep the culture right/ scene’s fulla punks frontin’ like millionaires/ but the foul stench of poverty is still in the air/ Kuma! developers be the villains in here/ leaving families without homes and children in tears/ regardless of era, I’m doing my thang/ I’m remembering Oakland, before them bike lanes/ yeah, snitching, literally meant you died/ now everything is vegan and gentrified/ feeling like kamikaze, sent to die/ and fuck pain, ’cause your boy been desensitized/”

“the Game” Chorus: “The game that we playing, life that we living/ we’ll be spitting raw, ’til the very last inning/ the mics we are gripping, the crowds we control/ the rules and traditions, we vowed to uphold/ the game that we playing, life that we living/ we’ll be spitting raw, ’til the very last inning/ anytime you see us on the stage, we wreck it/ it’s Kensho Kuma, Rikinish, and Jane the Message/”

Eyez Flash in $ Signz (2007)

The solo project I’m currently working on, Lineage ov the Lyricist, will be comprised of new, old, and collaborative tracks.. Songs will be regularly uploaded to this playlist here.. I am aiming to upload a minimum of two songs per month. This one will be a lot less formal than my previous releases, and once I have more than enough material, it will be handed over to my uncle Kevvy Kev to be mixed.

Here is a track that I completed back in 2007. Eyez Flash in $ Signz chronicles my awkward relationship with money.. hey, I’ve been an globetrotting independent artist all my adult life. $ has never been a stable variable in my lifestyle. It’s produced by Infamous Mobb affiliate Darb and scratches were done by longtime collaborator DJ Icewater. I asked for Premier type scratched on the chorus, and he absolutely murders it..

ROTC MC’s featured on Cloud NI9E’s 12 Sentence Story

A select infantry of Return of the Cypher MC’s, myself, Denero, Slice IX, Unlearn the World, and Spread Fox, are featured on Japanese producer Cloud NI9E‘s brand new 12 Sentence Story album. Cloud NI9E is one of my main producers, tour DJ, and frequent collaborators, and is stationed in Tokyo, Japan. The 12 Sentence Story has a jazzy, downtempo vibe to it, but of course my squadron of MC’s bring that Bay Area rawness!!

Cloud NI9E- 12 Sentence Story Puchase here from Introducing!! Label

Lineage ov the Lyricist… New Project!!

I am proud to announce the Lineage ov the Lyricist project.. this one is going to be a lot less formal than my previous solo and group albums.. I will regularly add tracks, brand new and old unreleased material, to this playlist; some songs will be original material from selected producers, and others will be verses over instrumentals I like. Once I have more than enough material, I will edit it to about 60 to 70 minutes total, and then hand it over to R.O.T.C.’s DJ Kevvy Kev to mix.

The first track I’m presenting to you is Oriental Rugs. It’s available for FREE download!! The next track for the Lineage ov the Lyricist will be available in several weeks!!

Kuma Oriental Rugs Verse: “To the Asian parent, I’m a screw-up/ to the Rap listener, I’m that dude you trust/ on and off mics, online or real life/ no tattoos on my face, just scars from real knives/ could follow the trends, but that wouldn’t feel right/ civilized gentleman, but I can still fight/ Honoring the protocol, we don’t desert henchmen/ never leave our fingerprints up on the murder weapon/ twenty years in music, consider it a blessing/ and I learned a whole lot from Too Short and Living Legends/ This Jap can’t, pass a CAT scan/ but I been paying dues since the days of Tascam/ was still a teen when I first performed in Japan/ started writing in 二ヵ国語 for all of my fans/ I’m the head Jap in charge, making ancestors proud/ praying 南橋法蓮芸協, please answer me now/ lotta close friends around me are cancerous now/ fiending for some inner peace, but knock a clan member out/ Blow! a lot of phonies, glorifying thug shit/ I’d rather read, Toni Morrison’s Beloved/”

Brand New 2nd Floor Samurais Track

I am proud to present a brand new 2nd Floor Samurais banger.. “Why You Do It” was produced by Japanese turntablist pioneer DJ $HIN of Turntable Troopers Entertainment. It was recorded amidst our Asia tour last year in Osaka, Japan. DJ $HIN runs the Skratch Labo DJ school.. if you’re in Kansai and you’re interested in becoming a DJ, this is mos def the place to check out!! It’s a comfortable environment with more hi-tech gadgets than I can explain..

 

Kensho Kuma Verse 1: “Got ma game from the smugglers turned businessmen/ it’s a deeper cognition that my words get you in/ yeah the 2nd floor image now worth dividends/ so my circle hella small ’cause the turf listening/ for the intel, hmmm how they get that foreign doe?/ how they tour overseas? what? they was poor before/ how they popping Dom P, and they pouring more?/ you can closely watch, but nothing I’m recording for/ coming with a price tag or sold through an auction/ the weight of the entire world I hold for my squadron/ kamikaze diary, told through my doctrine/ I rep perseverance, we don’t fold when we boxed in/ the broke kids happy with headlining local gigs/ the Samurais on 2nd floor be on some global shit/ monetize, don’t you forgot what the focus is/and  we trust only family, not no associates/”

 

Here is a 2nd Floor Samurais music video which was also shot in Japan last year…