How The Nike Airmax Cypher Went Down: Blu Lace 16 Speaks

Earlier this month a team of three rappers took part in the Nike Airmax Cypher that was recorded in Westlands, Nairobi at the sportswear’s flagship store in the country. Cyphers are a staple of hip hop and companies such as Hennessy have always sponsored the artistic pursuit as part of their marketing campaigns. The Kenyan Vibe team reached out to one of the rappers involved in the cypher Blu Lace 16.

Here is what he had to say to us about his experience. 

How did you manage to bag a spot on the Nike-sponsored cypher, Blu Lace 16? Were you forced to bribe someone, or are you just that good?

Firstly, thank you for your interest in my journey to the Nike-sponsored cypher. I can confidently say that I didn’t bribe anyone to get there; rather, it was my hard work and dedication to my craft that earned me a spot.

I’ve spent countless hours perfecting my skills, performing at local events, and networking with industry professionals. All of these efforts ultimately paid off when I got noticed by the organizers of the NIKE Airmax Cypher.

I believe that if you truly love what you do and put in the work, the universe will conspire to make your dreams come true. And I’m grateful that mine did with the Nike Airmax cypher.

So, to answer your question, I didn’t have to bribe anyone. I’m just that good and I worked my way to get noticed.

Can you describe your artistic process in preparing for the cypher?  How was it working with the other two rappers on the cypher? What did you think of their lyricism and how did you feel about it in comparison to your own? What did you enjoy most about working with them?

In preparation for the Nike Air Max Cypher, I focused on crafting my lyrics and delivery to ensure that they would resonate with the audience and complement the overall vibe of the event. I spent a lot of time practicing my verses, experimenting with different flows, and working on my stage presence to make sure that I would give a memorable performance. When it came time to work with the other two rappers on the cypher, XXL Bandit and Groovy Jo, I was excited to collaborate with artists who bring a different sound to the table. It was interesting to hear their diverse lyricism, which was different from mine yet shared some similarities. However, my focus was not on comparing our styles, but on working together to create an unforgettable performance. What I enjoyed most about working with XXL Bandit and Groovy Jo was the chemistry we developed during rehearsals and on stage. We had a great rapport and were able to bounce off each other’s energy to create a dynamic and entertaining show.

What was the most memorable moment for you during the audio recording and filming of the cypher? Who are some of the members of the technical team involved- producers, sound engineers, videographers, etc.? Did anything interesting happen behind the scenes?
The most memorable moment for me during the audio recording and filming of the Nike Air Max Cypher was the reaction I received from the crowd. As soon as I started performing, I could feel the energy in the room, and it was amazing to see people vibing to my music and getting into the performance. That’s what made it all worth it for me – knowing that I was connecting with the audience and making an impact.

Enos Olik served as executive director and DJ Monzo kept the energy high throughout the show. Behind the scenes, there was a lot of interaction with fans, which was great. Overall, it was an incredible experience working with such a talented team and connecting with so many fans.

We all know the Nike brand is synonymous with excellence. How has your involvement with the Nike cypher helped elevate your career as a rapper? Did you get a chance to meet any of the Nike executives while filming the cypher? If so, what was that experience like?
My involvement with the Nike Air Max Cypher has been a tremendous boost to my career as a rapper. Being featured in such a high-profile event and getting exposure through the Pulse Live social media pages has helped me to broaden my reach and connect with new fans. It’s an honor to be associated with the Nike brand, which is synonymous with excellence and quality.

While filming the cypher, unfortunately, there weren’t any Nike executives on site. However, the experience was still incredible, and I was able to work with an amazing team of professionals who helped bring the event to life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been involved.

Can you talk about any challenges you faced while filming the cypher and how you overcame them? Can you also mention the crew and cast involved in the filming, as well as the location of the shoot? Additionally, how were the final list of fans in attendance on the day of the shoot selected?

I didn’t face any significant challenges while filming the Nike Air Max Cypher. The crew and cast were very involved and creative, coming up with ideas to make the event a success. The location for the shoot was at the Nike store in Westgate mall, which was a great spot to film the event. As for the fans in attendance, there wasn’t a final list of attendees. It was a “come one, come all” type of event, and fans just showed up. It was an amazing experience to perform in front of such an energetic and supportive crowd.

The hip-hop industry is highly competitive. How do you plan to stay relevant and stand out in the industry following your appearance on the cypher?

As you mentioned, the hip-hop industry is highly competitive, but I plan to stay relevant and stand out by keeping it consistent with my music and creatively marketing my sound. I’m always working on new music and staying on top of my game. Following my appearance on the Nike Air Max Cypher, I have a lot of good music to share in the near future, and I plan to continue pushing myself to create unique and engaging content that resonates with my fans. At the end of the day, it’s all about putting in the work and staying true to my craft, and I’m excited to see where my music takes me next.

We all know that fame comes with its own set of challenges. How have you been coping with the newfound attention and spotlight since the cypher?

I just keep it cool, and I use the newfound attention as leverage to push my music to more people. I try to stay focused on my craft and not let fame distract me from my goals. At the same time, I also make sure to take care of myself mentally and physically, and surround myself with a support system of friends and family who keep me grounded. It’s all about finding a balance and staying true to myself and my art.

We can’t talk about music without mentioning money. Did you receive any monetary compensation for your participation in the cypher, and how has that impacted your career?

The compensation I received has had a significant impact on my career. It has allowed me to invest in my music and brand, ensuring continuous improvement. With the financial support, I have been able to take my career to new heights and make strategic moves towards achieving my goals.

Finally, are there any shoutouts you would like to give to the people who helped bring the cypher to life, such as the production team or the other rappers involved

I would like to give a big shoutout to my manager for all the work he’s put in, DJ Monzo for the beats and mix, Rachael and Leah from Pulse Live Kenya and the entire Pulse team, Enos Olik and his team for the visuals, and of course, the other artists involved in the cypher, Xxl Bandit and Groovy Jo. It was truly a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without them.