By: Ray Dixon, Founder & CEO
The Ounce is proud to announce our sponsorship of The Lab Cyphers, a DC-based, weekly Hip-hop show. The Lab supports lyrical artistry through offering an interactive and spontaneous platform for emcees to showcase their abilities, network and gain exposure. Amassing nearly 10,000 Instagram followers in just under 2 years, The Lab is dedicated to producing and sharing authentic cypher content with its viewers.
Live music is commonly performed at venues throughout The District. Outside of local concerts and festivals, however, Hip-hop generally is not among the genres that is readily experienced live and in free-flowing fashion as an artist or fan. Co-creators, Chris “06Chris” Cole and Jason “Tos” Santos and their team are focused on facilitating experiences that organically stimulate creativity and collaboration.
Make no mistake about it, love for the art and sport of hip-hop drives The Lab. When asked why he does what he does, 06Chris remarked, “I just love Hip-hop. And this is needed.” The Lab’s entire team shares the sentiment, as evidenced by their jaw-dropping 10-hour rap cypher at this year’s National Cannabis Festival (2019).
Undeniably inspired by Big Tigger and his 1999-2005 rebranded rendition of BET’s Rap City (Basement), the show’s host(s) never utilize pre-written material. Outside of the newly installed Artist Spotlight segment, The Lab will continue encouraging guest emcees to also craft bars in the moment.
“I think a lot of people are scared of messing up, but it’s part of the process of getting better at it. Either way, we rappin’. –Tos
“Sometimes people came through and you know…you could tell they wrote that s—. That’s cool and all, but that’s not really what we’re trying to accomplish.” –06Chris
Lab and Ounce team members have been working closely leading up to the show’s return (December 5th, 2019). At a recent creative session, Tos recalled the show’s inception and early occurrences.
“I had this idea back in 2017. We planned the whole thing and pulled it off in 6 weeks. Me and 06 would just meet up and vibe out…you know, roll up and play some beats. That’s really how it all got started. We invited 4 emcees to the first recording and 15 people showed up! We had to figure who was who real quick.”
Through late arrivals, no shows, lack of funding, lack of man power and various other roadblocks and circumstances, The Lab persisted in airing weekly until the show came to a halt 5 months ago. They made it known that support was (and still is) needed from donors and local businesses in order to continue the show’s production. Though they received some support initially, it was not nearly enough to resume The Cypher. Co-creators, 06Chris and Tos were faced with tough decisions regarding the future of The Lab.
It was ultimately decided to resume The Lab, with some changes, of course. The show will air monthly rather than weekly, and as previously mentioned, an Artist Spotlight segment will be integrated. Monthly show tickets will be made available through The Ounce’s online shop. All proceeds go towards continued programming and supporting local, striving artists.
When asked what they look forward to most upon the show’s re-launch, multiple Lab team members highlighted reciprocity and continuity. Join us in showing appreciation for all that The Lab does for artists and the community at large!
Follow The Lab Cyphers on Instagram: @TheLabCyphers
Purchase tickets for the return show on December 5th!