BLOG: XXL‘s Dream Cyphers

Last week when BET broadcast their annual Hip Hop Awards, fans everywhere couldn’t help but marvel at the network’s pre-taped rap cyphers. From Busta Rhymes to Skillz, several MCs participated in cyphers where they kicked wicked rhymes over a loop of James Brown’s “The Big Payback.” The legendary DJ Premier spun the record and provided scratches in between verses. While Eminem, Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf clearly had the best cypher, XXL is already looking forward to next year. We’d love to see crew cyphers from Roc Nation (Jay-Z, J. Cole and Jay Electronica), G-Unit, the Diplomats and Vado, Wu-Tang Clan, The Ruff Ryders and of course Young Money.

While having our own cypher (no rapping, just journalistic debate) a few days ago about BET, we decided that our staff would conceive our dream cyphers and let you see them. The only criteria we had when coming up with these, none of our dream would include deceased hip-hop legends. Take a look at what we came up and then send in your own list of dream rap cyphers. Look for us to take the conversation to Twitter as well @xxlstaff.

Staff Member: Jayson Rodriguez, Executive Editor
Dream Participants: Nas, J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, and Big Daddy Kane.
Instrumental: LL Cool J’s “Ill Bomb.”

Staff Member: Carl Chery, Digital Content Director
Dream Participants: Nas, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill and Andre 3000.
Instrumental: Group Home’s “Living Proof.”

Staff Member: Jesse Gissen, Digital News Editor
Dream Participants: Ghostface Killah, E-40, Kool Keith, Cam’ron, Lil B and Mixtape Weezy.
Instrumental: Ultramagnetic MC’s Ego Trippin.

Staff Member: Mariel Concepcion, Deputy Editor
Dream Participants: Jay-Z, Nas, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Diddy and Kanye West.
Instrumental: Rakim’s “Know the Ledge”

Staff Member: Mark Lelinwalla, Senior Editor
Dream Participants: T.I., OutKast, Ludacris, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross.
Instrumental: Puff Daddy’s “Young G’z.”

Staff Member: Adam Fleischer, Music Editor
Dream Participants: Eminem, Nas, Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Saigon, Joe Budden
Instrumental: Gang Starr’s “All 4 Tha Cash”

Staff Member: Ralph Bristout, Editorial Assistant
Dream Participants: J. Cole, Nas, Kanye West, Andre 3000, and Scarface.
Instrumental: Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C.”

Staff Member: Shaheem Reid, Editor-At-Large
Dream Participants: Jadakiss, Lloyd Banks, Fabolous, Rakim, LL Cool J and KRS-One.
Instrumental: Raekwon’s “Verbal Intercourse.”

Who would be in your dream cypher? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Jayce

    I’d like to see Bone Thugs-N-Harmony do a tongue twisting cypher!!!

    • RJ II

      Great pick

  • http://facebook marcel45

    Young Jeezy, Dmx, Nas, Eminem, Lloyd Banks
    Instrumental: Mobb Deep’s Hell on Earth

  • Father Al

    Jay Electronica, MF DooM, Ghostface, Sean Price, Jay-Z

  • RastaMan

    Dream Cypher: J Cole, Lupe, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Common.
    Instrumental: L.E.S, Wyldfyer’s “Black Republican”.

    • CJA

      Fuck yeah!

  • Centrum AZZ

    Lupe Fiasco, B.O.B., Eminem

    Kill that shit

  • Nick

    DOOM, Earl Sweatshirt, Eminem, Andre 3000, and Jay Z

  • mike4282

    Outkast, Em & Royce, Llyod banks, Krazie & Bizzy, Jadakiss Instrumental: DMX’s Flesh of my flesh, Blood of my blood OR The Lox’s We gon make it.

  • Chris

    eminem, lloyd banks, drake, fab, wayne, j cole

  • digisnacks

    method man
    lloyd banks
    ghostface killah
    mf doom
    you dont need a instrumental jus have premier so his thing like always it dont get no betta

  • Myles

    Mos Def, KanYe West, Black Thought,Earl Sweatshirt, OutKast,Lauren Hill, Nas,Slug, Murs, Sage Francis

  • d rhyme

    Ghostface,Kanye,the Game,Stat Quo
    Instrumental-I Really mean it

  • jesterxxl

    DMX, Xzibit, Eminem, Ice Cube & Nas
    Instrumental: 2Pac’s ‘Hail Mary’ mixed with Biggie’s ‘Hypnotize’

  • Mr Gratiot

    Juelz, Busta, Banks, Emenim, Royce, LL Cool J, Andrea 3000

  • MassAppeal

    nas dmx redman
    jcole tyler the creator currensy
    otis instrumental


    None of the xxl staff puts EM in their dream cypher cause he would have smoked your favorite rapper! My dream cypher would be :
    The four best rappers on the mic,no doubt

  • dwhitters

    Eminem, (if he wasnt dead) Biggie, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Immortal Technique

  • Lyrical

    Lupe, Kendirck Lamar, Charles Hamilton, Blu & Quest(up and coming rapper)

    Jay-Z & Big L 7 minute instrumental

  • bsm

    gucci, don trip, kanye west,

  • Hyde

    Big L, Tupac, Biggie, and Big Pun Over Otis Beat

  • http://xxl BIGED

    tech n9ne , brotha lynch hung, styles p , rakim, ….over cypress hill’s illusions……fuck wit that!!!!!!!!

  • Bernard

    Chino XL, Big L, Earl Sweatshirt, Royce 5’9 and Sticky Fingaz to Redman’s the Goodness.

  • D90

    Horseshoe G.A.N.G
    Kid Vishis
    Tech N9ne
    Sean Price



    over the benjamins beat. Call it the “Legends Alive Freestyle”.

  • brand-new

    I’d like to see, Eminem, R.A. The Rugged Man, Kool G Rap and Canibuss over just a simple DJ Premier beat. They would all give Em a run for the money.

  • Tyrannical T

    Nas, Hov, Em, T.I., and Black Thought

  • JY


    In that order to the Shook Ones instrumental

    For the KING of N.Y


  • RIchnga

    Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Will Smith, and Mark Wahlberg

  • TicNitty706

    Canibus, K-Rino, Eminem, & Rakim
    Beat: Protect Ya Neck

    Brother Ali, T-KASH, KRS-One, GZA, & Common
    Beat: Get By

    Treach, Big Daddy Kane, Twista, Krayzie Bone, & Kool G Rap
    Beat: Thuggish Ruggish Bone

    Lupe Fiasco, The Game, Cee-Lo, Obie Trice, & Co$$
    Beat: My Summer Vacation

  • thegameloki

    GAME , JAY-Z ,JADAKISS , DRAKE , ROZAY , EM and KANYE would be flowing over JADA’S WE GONNA MAKE IT ……. PEACE

  • dutch luchiano

    Jay-z, nas, styles p, currensy, cassidy, royce da 5’9, andre 3000, and bun b. over the flashing lights instrumental.niiiiiceeee

  • dutch luchiano

    Fabolous, lloyd banks, joe budden, vado, juelz santana, corey gunz, and mickey factz over the i wanna rock instrumental

  • Bloody B

    My dream cypher
    Trae The Truth
    Tech N9ne
    Busta Rhymes
    Brotha Lynch
    Wu-Tang Clan
    Big L (if he were still alive) R.I.P

  • Zuru

    Dream Cypher: Tupac, Biggie, Big L, Big Pun(Deadly Combination) & NaS … a man can only dream

  • Elton Jones

    Yelawolf, Twista, Tech N9ne, Busta Rhymes, Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone. I christen this cypher “Try To Keep Up.” lol.

    Beat: “Twisted Heat”

  • TripleOG

    Dream Cypher: DMX, Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem and the Carter 2/ Dedication Weezy

  • TripleOG

    Cypher 2: Cole, Kendrick, Drake, Fab, Banks, Young Crhis

  • SIN

    DREAM CYPHER: ROC NATION!!! J Cole, Jay Z, Kanye, and Jay Electronica
    Instro: Anything by JUST BLAZE!!!

  • SIN

    DREAM CYPHER pt.2: Fab, Nicki, Jadakiss, Styles P, and CyHi
    Instro: “Unbelievable” by Notorious B.I.G

  • SIN

    Last one…
    SHOW & PROVE CYPHER: J Cole, Drake, Wale, Big Sean, Wiz, and B.o.B
    Instro: “Guess Who’s Back” by Scarface or “Its On” by Jay Z & Seigal

  • ihiphop

    lil b
    soulja boy
    waka flocka
    gucci mane

  • DUKE

    My Dream Cypher would be

    Jay Electronica

    Over Raekwon’s “Verbal Intercourse” beat for the first 4 mins and then the beat would switch to Just Blaze’s “Exhibit A” beat

  • A Hale

    Nas, Eminem, J. Cole, Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye

    To “All Of The Lights” (that’s all I can think of at the moment)

  • scott

    eminem, nas, kanye west, lupe fiasco, j cole, kendrick lamar, big krit, wale, and royce da 5’9
    instrumental: so appaled by kanye west

  • AndreThaGiant


    over d12 devils night

  • SoloNater

    Nas, Tech N9ne, E40,Bone Thugs, Mystikal, and Tpain

    • SoloNater

      over tupacs me n my girlfriend


    Cypher 1:

    Ice Cube, Scarface, Beanie Sigel, Bun B and Kool G. Rap
    Beat: “Flatline” from Sigel’s B.Coming album

    Cypher 2:

    Tech9ne, Busta, Twista, Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone
    Beat: “Murder” from UGK Ridin Dirty album

    Cypher 3:

    Jadakiss, Raekwon, Ghostface, Styles P, and Big L
    Beat: “Special Delivery” from G-Dep COG album

    Cypher 4:

    K-rino, Rakim, Jay Electronica, Andre 3000 and KRS-One
    Beat: “Know the Ledge” from Rakim

    Cypher 5:

    Nas, Jay-Z, DMX (97-00 era), Big Pun(1st album era), and Biggie Smalls
    Beat: Drop a Gem on Em from Mobb Deep

    Cypher 6:

    Crooked I, Eminem, Canibus, Royce and Redman
    Beat: “Triumph” from Wu-Tang Forever

    Cypher Finale:

    2pac by himself (6-9 minutes of real spit from the G.O.A.T.)

    Beat: Shed so many tears from 2pac

    I could die happy right aftrer seeing all these cyphers…….

  • Kyle

    Kanye west, tyler the creator, outkast, asher roth, eminem

  • Jon

    Nas, Pusha T, Mos Def, J Cole, and Talib Kweli to the beat of “Rewind” from Stillmatic

  • Jon

    New School Rappers

    Wale, Cudi, Drake, J Cole, Mac Miller, Meek Mill to the beat of “Class President” from The High Life

  • matt Coogan

    Big L Nas Biggie Mac Miller Kendrick Lamar J cole

    instrumental the panties- mos def

  • igotacos

    em,nas,kanye,scarface, andre 3000, mf doom, lauryn hill,and lil b for comedic effect

  • A.O.N

    Instrumental: It’s been a long time by Rakim
    Dream Participants: 2pac, Pun, Nas, Rakim (Even though he already spit to it), Joe Budden

    And don’t hate cuz some artists is dead, thats why its called a “dream” cypher

  • L

    Canibus, K-Rino, Jay Electronica, DMX, Eminem

  • canadafan

    chino xl , crooked i , tyler the creator ,eminem ,and andre 3000 , over xzibits paparazi instrumental

  • Mario

    Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Drake, and Kanye West.
    Fucks wit me!

    • Mario

      Tyler, The Creator, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Drake, and Kanye West.
      Fucks wit me!

  • carlos garcia

    j.cole,eminem.andre 300,nas,mos def,black thought and lupe fiasco

  • Chris

    first off…
    West Coast: Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Game, Kendrick Lamar, Kurupt, WC, Xzibit & Crooked I

    Dream Team: Tupac, Eazy-E, Biggie, Big L, Eminem, Chuck D

  • canadasmost

    chino xl, crooked i , tyler the creator ,eminem , and andre 3000, over xzibits paparazi instrumental .


    Eminem, J. Cole, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Lloyd Banks, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco, and Nas


    Kanye,Earl Sweatshirt,Ludacris,EMINEM, Jay-z, J. Cole, and to top it off BIGGIE SMALLS BACK FROM THE GRAVE

    BEAT: C.R.E.A.M.

  • James Klein

    1). Earl Sweatshirt
    2). Mac Miller
    3). Kendrick Lamar
    4). Tyler The Creator
    5). XV
    6). Jarren Benton

  • De

    Eminem, Kanye West, Common, Jadakiss, Wayne, Wale, Mos Def, Nas, Cory Gunz, and Andre 3K

    On that “Ignorant Shit track” – Wayne and Drake

  • william



    Shout out to everybody who shouted out Earl Sweatshirt.

    Cory Gunz Tech 9 Yellawolf Twista Em
    -Jayz “the orginator”

    Talib Kendrick Lamar Big Krit Mos Def Black Thought Common
    -Drake “Drake Trust Issues”

    Styles P Beanie Siegel Scarface Prodigy Kool G Rap
    -Krs “Criminal Mindned”

    -Fab Nas Jadakiss Ghostface Phonte Jayz
    Mobb Deep Right Back

  • Banx

    Big K.R.I.T
    Don Trip

  • Banx

    2pac and Biggie

  • gal

    dre, snoop dogg, eminem, 50 cent, Game, kendrick lamar

    dr.dre foundation ..

  • rhamilton

    eminem,royce,pusha,black thought,rae,ghost,gza,ras kass,krs-
    one beat:symphony,i ain’t no joke and Dre’s xxplosive

  • oskamadison

    Rakim, G Rap, Kane and KRS One over “Just Rhymin’With Biz”

  • jOwn

    dream cypher would be Jay Electronica, Action Bronson, Kosha Dillz, Rza, Eminem, DMX

  • Mota

    eminem, black thought, p.o.r.n. , andre 3000, busta rhymes, method man, and common… Killa shit!!!

  • sickcipher

    Diabolic, Eminem, Immortal Technique, Mos Def, Talib Kweli.

    Killing Fields (Nero Remix) Instrumental by Outerspace

  • Peace

    Jay Electronica, Pharoahe Monch,Raekwon,Nas,Rakim.

    Over Blackstar – Thieves in the Night or Over Jay-Z – Public Service Announcement (Interlude)

  • Blake

    Tech N9ne!! He’s A Fuckin Beast!!

  • derek

    Cole, Kayne, Talib, Nas, Em

  • willie

    eminem,tyler the creator, DMX, crooked i

  • willie

    eminem,copywrite,ice cube,DMX,

  • Shawn Griffin

    OddFuture Cypher-Earl Sweatshirt,Domo Genesis,Hodgy Beats Left Brain
    and Tyler the Creator

    The Dynamic Duo Cypher-Mobb Deep and Meth and Red

    West Coast Cypher-The Game,Kendrick Lamar,Snoop Dogg and Daz and Kurupt.

    Southern Lyricists Cypher-Bun B,Scarface,Killer Mike,Trae the Truth Z-ro Chamillionaire and Cee Lo Green

    Lupe Fiasco,Dmx,Los,Charles Hamilton,Asher Roth and J.cole

    Dream Team Cypher-Nas,Jay Electronica,Outkast,Lauryn Hill,KanYe West and Hov

  • Zoe

    My dream cypher would be: Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, Currency, Fabolous, and Lupe Fiasco…
    Beat: Jayz u don’t know what you’re doing.

  • brian

    Nas seems to be the hands down favortive (I would agree)
    whole heartedly as well, to round my off would be Nas, Big Boi, Hurricane Game, and for ol skool flavor Das Efx instrumental anything Dr. Dre follow me on twitter @harmonepxress

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  • pedro

    charles hamilton, skyzoo, jay electronica, rakim, nas

  • Kouhei Iino

    REALIZE !!!!!

  • kb

    Vinnie Paz, Tech N9ne, Crooked I, Hopsin, Ill Bill

  • k

    Method Man, Redman, Young Zee, Chali 2na

  • Bundles

    Lloyd Banks, Loso, Juelz, Cassidy, Jada on mobb deep “fuck you”

  • Vick

    Cassidy, Em, Kurupt, Xzibit

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