R. Ray Robinson’s ARRRISE AND GRIND CYPHER Ch.3: Alia Zin, Zane One & More
This article is dedicated to everyone who participated in The ARRRISE AND GRIND Hip Hop Cypher Chapter 3. It was also sponsored by arrriseandgrindproductions. Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is R. Ray Robinson, the founder of The ARRRISE AND GRIND Hip Hop series and head of arrriseandgrindproductions. I am writing this article regarding the music video production. Let me cook (let me explain).
Before I begin, I state this. “I will not! I repeat! I will not be the crazy hip hop fanatic and content creator that screws over the real emcee but will respect them! More on this later.
The Arrrise and Grind Cypher Ch.3 was a spectacular musical event. The event was where some of the best underground rappers from across southern California came together to demonstrate their talents and skills on the mic during the session! Brace yourself! Because you are now about to witness the strength of “Real Hip Hop.”
The ARRRISE AND GRIND HIP HOP CYPHER. CH. 3 event was held on two days. The first day was on Sunday, June 4th of 2023 at Ziba Studio in Irvine, Ca (Orange County). The second event was on the following Sunday, June 11th of 2023 at Neon Sound in Los Angeles (Los Angeles County). While at these locations, the artists who attended the location deliver their bars on the mic. These two combined days of shooting are what made the cypher into a beautiful music video production.
For directing and co-shooting this music video project, I was inspired by Nipsey Hussle’s Hustle and Motivate , H-D’s Ghetto Sunday, City High’s What Would You Do, and many hip hop cyphers on Youtube both old, and new. These were my main influences that helped me stay the course on the creati0n and production of this project.
In classic hip-hop fashion for cyphers, each rapper would be huddled in a circle, then one artist would walk into the center circle rapping their verse on the mic. After that rapper finishes rapping for a few minutes or less, the next artist would go and rap on the mic, and so on and so forth until everyone was done. With this cypher, all the rappers of the Arrrise and Grind Cypher Ch. 3 were excited to participate and do exactly that. However, they were most excited to represent themselves as true emcees. All the rappers had their own unique styles and flow. Some had deep voices. Others were smooth. Others were aggressive with it. All in all, everyone was dope.
The artists who were in attendance were Alia Zin, Zane One, J Soulstice, Tanjint Wiggy, Ali Khan Bey, Sterlyngram, Khzzari. 4expandthemind and Marlon D. On the first day of
production which was June 4th. We began shooting with Khzzari and Marlon D. On the second day, June 11th, we shot Alia Zin, Zane One, J Soulstice, Tanjint Wiggy, Ali Khan Bey, Sterlyngram, and Expandthemind. Let us begin with Alia Zin.
Alia Zin. One of the dopest (coolest, greatest) artists I’ve heard in recent years and a rap goddess in her own right coming straight outta Los Angeles, CA. Having and working with Alia Zin on the cypher was not only great, but having her grace the mic for the second time was astonishing and a blessing to say the least. She was featured on thesecond ARRRISE AND GRIND CYPHER and killed the audience softly with her chill, smooth lyrics. On Cypher 3, she delivers more of an aggressive approach that is more raw, hardcore and dope. Her bombastic bars are gonna keep audiences’ heads ringing. When people watch the video, they may even get a sense of that old school 90s underground boom bap vibe that she delivers on the mic. This is also due to the type of beat that I placed her on.
Having Alia on cypher 3 made me want to experiment with the type of beat that I knew she could body on the mic. Although the second cypher I had her on a more calming and relaxed beat, I wanted to give her a more boom bap beat that she could rap over. She did indeed body the mic with the new beat. With the help of a great sound engineer, beat producer and friend known as Solarious, I made sure that I personally had her on one of his hardcore underground, boom bap beats along with Zane One (more on Zane later respectfully).
When Alia performed, she delivers like a champion MC. Each verse she spit was great. There are too many great lyrics that she raps on the mic. One of my favorite verses from her was, “Uh oh I’m double douching up on the beat. “of course, I enjoyed her whole part on the cypher but this portion of her lyrics I enjoyed because she makes rapping look so easy. She’s truly engaged in being a real master of ceremony but she’s delightfully having fun with it as if it is merely kids’ stuff to her. She’s double douching on the beat and rapping into the ear waves and hearts of many audiences in her performance.
It is always a pleasure working with Alia Zin. She has come a long way from previously being featured on The Cypher Effect, AllHipHop, and VH1 signed, among other major platforms. Not only that but, she has carved a piece of hip hop history in her own right by staying true to herself and laying down bars after bars, or rather, double douching on beats. She continues to prove that she is a rapper that the world needs to take a listen to as she is a rap goddess in her own right blessing us all with her lyrical skills.
Getting Zane One, a veteran of rap music, and a member of the legendary West Coast underground rap collective known as The Tunnel Rats was cool. No. Scratch that. That’s a typo. Getting Zane One aka Zane Reynosa aka Zigga Zane, aka The L.A. Woman was spectacular. Getting Zane One, aka the Whittier, California OG (Original Goddess), aka the “Holly Holm of underground Hip Hop,” aka, “The Preacher’s daughter of underground Hip Hop,” aka the first Lady of the Tunnel Rats was a massive honor. Getting her on cypher 3 was not just for the culture of hip hop and underground rap music, but also as a fan of the Tunnel Rats myself, was an honor. I kept telling myself, if this production and event could just get one legendary rapper, one rapper from the past, one rapper from the 90s and 2000s to rock center stage on the mic, then that’d be fantastic. At first, I didn’t think that it’d be possible. But within time, we were able to work with Zane One, the legendary chosen one, the one and only.
Since we were able to get Zane on the project, I already knew she was going to deliver bars. However, I wanted to make sure that I personally gave her the right beat to make her lyrical prowess a masterpiece. And so, I did, and she delivered a masterful performance. I remember watching an interview on the Rap Sheet Podcast on Youtube, where she spoke about wanting more hardcore beats and many producers would not give her any for many different reasons. For me, I did the complete opposite. My philosophy was that greatness can come anywhere no matter what your creed, spirituality, gender/sex, ethnic origin, or past experiences were. In other words, if a legend wants a super-dope, bomb-ass beat, we get the legend a super-dope, bomb-ass beat. So, acting as not just the director and sponsor but also head producer of thisproject that I am, I worked with my homie Solarious, one of the other main producers and sound engineer of the project to not only have one of his beats on Alia Zin’s part, but also to have it on Zane One’s as well.
On her part, Zigga Zane does not disappoint. She delivers a powerful performance with her gritty, lyrical, and raw bars speaking on much. Her performance is also great too because it is nice to see her produce something new into the here and now; it is nice to see her produce something more recent. I enjoy many of her lyrics. One of my favorites on the cypher of hers is, “Silly goose her lips are loose…” which I think is cool, creative, and interesting to say the least. Her part on the cypher is a head banger for real.
Also, as a fan of hip hop and as a fan of the Tunnel Rats, I want audience members to feel her lyrical prowess and energy. More specifically, when getting Zane on cypher 3, I want fellow Tunnel Rats’ fans (and possible band members) to have the same or similar feelings when they first listened to her and her cousin Jurny Big’s hardcore track, Got What It Takes, a song by the Tunnel Rats, to resonate over with our cypher project. It’dbe cool if people had a similar feeling when they watch her part on our music video cypher we worked on together. If not, I just know that audience members will be in for a treat once they hear her dope rhymes. After 20-plus years, Zane One still represents the Tunnel Rats, and all the great and exciting things of what hip hop and rap is still to this
day to the fullest. Even after the cypher, she has plans to come out with new music for the future.
One of the last couple of times that I did speak to Zane, she did express to me that she wanted to have the same beat on a potential new song for a new album. She wanted there to be an expansion of the song from the cypher to be featured on a new unreleased album in the future. I agreed. Not only did I agree but I thought that she had a fantastic idea to do that. She was essentially onto something. I agreed also because I felt that she can offer something new and dope to past, present, and future fans alike, including fans like me. She has performed this cypher track live a couple of times in Los Angeles. One of the events that she performed the track was with Alia Zin at a show in LA in 2023. The other time was at the 29th Project Blowed event by herself at Los Globos on Wednesday, December 27th, 2023. If she does release a new album or better yet, when she (possibly) comes out with her new album, people should look forward to hearing the album version. People should also listen to her new album entirely. I know I will be. People should also look forward to hearing her perform new music at future live shows as well. She’s always been the big homie. God bless her soul and I hope more people check out her music.
It was chill having J Soulstice again rock the mic for the 3rd time. The rapper representing Pamona, CA on our cypher delivers very real, relaxed, and soothing bars, that are unique to say the least.
Much like Alia Zin, it was a massive honor and blessing having J Soulstice partake in the cypher again. This is now his 3rd cypher that he has a feature on, and he brings the chill, laid-back vibes, and memorable lyrics to the table. After Alia and Zane, J Soulstice steps to the mic. I had J Soulstice be placed with a beat that he’d rap over created by our other producer known as B Noize hailing all the way from Colombia. When I first heard it, I knew that it belonged to J Soulstice. I kept telling myself, “I can picture J Soulstice on this beat.” And soon enough, he would be a perfect fit for it because of his persona and very relaxing bars.
J Soulstice puts so much energy and drive into his work. One of my favorite verses from his is, “When you defend the culture with your art you stay relevant.” I personally enjoy this part of his rap, and it made me cry. It was so great because it can resonate with those of us who all enjoy hip hop. We are all artists and creatives that enjoy hip hop. We care about the culture just as much as the next hip hop fan. Because we care so much for it, we want to make sure that it carries on for years to come, even if it means that we must defend it by bringing people back to the roots of it all. J Soulstice’s verses really personify and bring out what makes hip hop so fun to enjoy. His lyrics bring out the best of the boom bap and roots of rap on the mic. His verse is also great because it’s for the spirit and culture of hip hop entirely.
If people enjoy rap and hip hop, then keep an eye out for J Soulstice. I say this once and I’ll say it again. He enjoys the spirit of hip hop just as much as any hardcore hip hop fan. We all love the culture and spirit of Hip Hop. It is a part of us all. This is one reason I had J Soulstice come back. This is also a reason why we all are a part of the cypher because we want to share with the world something special through rap form. Having J Soulstice’s thoughts and his own perspectives in raw rap form delivers all of this to the audience in this music video cypher. His lyrics stay very, very true to rap music and the culture.
Both J Soulstice and Alia Zin are also incredible emcees that I feel could rock alongside mainstream artists to this day. If there ever was a cypher in the future where it would feature Kendrick Lamar, Logic, Asap Rocky, Joey Badass, and Nyck Caution, I could totally see J Soulstice and Alia Zin rocking the mic alongside these greats as they are both great. With our 3rd cypher, viewers will get a taste of J Soulstice’s rhymes that reign supreme.
J Soulstice being somewhat of a veteran on this 3rd cypher, has been a blessing. Each time I work with him, I experience something completely new and exciting from his raps. Who knows. Maybe in the future, he can be a part of future cyphers as the talented king that he is.
Tanjint Wiggy went hard. Much like everyone on the cypher, it was a blessing to have Tanjint Wiggy’s rhymes on the cypher as well. Not only is it a blessing to have a dope underground rapper like him on our 3rd cypher, but it is also super dope to have a rapper who is also into video games, comic books, and other pop culture and so-called nerd related topics. Tanjint’s video game and comic book bars are beautiful, brainy, and bombastic all at the same time. I mean, of course they are. After all, he is identified as a Nerd-rap MC coming straight out of the Inland Empire, more specifically, San Bernardino, CA. It’s also great that he comes from there since the only other rapper that I know that is making wavges in music from that area that I know about is Doggystyleeee.
Tanjint Wiggy, On the mic, raps very fast and furiously speaking on much pop culture references, video game references and comic book references. He also has a dab of swag while doing so as well.
There were many verses that I enjoyed from his part. One verse was, “Radioactivity,” to “Marvel got that Latinx,” to, “…nobody bring me down this nerd-life I live, c’mon.” I truly enjoy these verses for so many reasons. One being that Tanjint is comfortable being a rapper who likes nerd culture or nerd related topics. The second being that he can rap about nerd related things and can make it sound cool, lovable, and likeable. 3, he’s comfortable in his own skin doing so. 4, I knew of many of the references he was speaking about, and I hope many viewers do too.
As a person who also would be identified as a nerd, the one who attends Comicon, Anime Expo, reads manga, and watches Dragon Ball Z and Naruto, I can relate to Tanjint Wiggy. As someone who plays a ton of video games like the Street Fighter series, Project Justice (and Rival Schools), Tony Hawk Underground, the GTA series, Power Stone 1 & 2, Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom 1 & 2 and such, I’d recommend Tanjint to many fans interested in nerd topics mixed with real hip hop. Tanjint Wiggy is a breath of fresh air for all nerds into rap music alike. Nerd topics don’t just stretch to mainstream rappers like Wu Tang Clan, David Banner, Playboi Carti, Kanye West, Eminem, Doja Cat, Megan Thee Stallion, Joey Badass, Logic and Drake. They also stretch to underground emcees such as MF Doom (RIP), Sammus (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo), MC Frontalot, MC Router, and Tanjint Wiggy as well. Tanjint Wiggy makes listening to Marvel comic references, or video game references fun. He can be a fan of Deadpool and MF Doom all at once which is dope. These were the reasons to why I had him rock the mic on the Cypher ch. 3. For those nerds that have been looked down upon, say no more. Tanjint Wiggy drops nerdcore-bars on this music video production.
Tanjint is very different and experimental which was one of the other main reasons to why I had to invite him on cypher 3. There is always a saying of the real hip hop and what is identified as real hip hop. However, hip hop has always been about being different and being comfortable in your own creativity and artistry as we are all indeed different. In other words, there is no one way to do rap music. You just do it. There are so many different styles, so many different forms and such and when I heard Tanjint perform live I just had to get him on this cypher, and he did not disappoint.
Not just at local rap concerts but, hopefully one of these days, Tanjint Wiggy can not only perform on hip hop stages, but he can also perform at major comic book conventions such as Comicon, Wondercon, Anime expo, and such if he has not already done so by now. That would be a site to see.
Tanjint has no plans of stopping his musical journey. He performs at many concerts and shows and we’re looking forward to hearing more of his nerd raps. The bars are blessed with this one.
ALI KHAN BEY
It was great to have brought back Ali Khan Bey for the 3rd cypher. The artist reps Los Angeles, CA. Much like J Soulstice, Ali Khan Bey is also the only other artist to be featured on all three of The ARRRISE AND GRIND cyphers. With Ali Khan Bey, he delivers very cool and rhythmic rhymes on the mic. His passion and energy for music is not like many. One of my favorite lines from Ali Khan Bey was, “When my EP drop, they gon’ see he’s hot.” While we wait for his EP, audience members can get glimpse of how super-dope and amazing his lyrics truly are on cypher 3. Watching Ali Khan Bey from Cypher 1 all the way to cypher 3, I can totally state that the viewer is in surprise to seeing this artist be amazing on the mic. Each time Ali Khan Bey has performed on our cyphers, his work has only gotten better and better.
What I can also say about Ali khan Bey is that he takes his craft very seriously on the microphone. His smooth-toned voice and personality compliments his lyrics in every way shape and form. The audience will get a great show with Ali Khan Bey’s bars and then some.
It was great having Sterlyn aka Sterlyngram aka WavGodCelestial on the project. Hailing from Carson, CA, he originally was doing production assistant work on our second cypher and was supposed to be featured on it as a rapper himself. After the second cypher, he would step in to drop bars off camera. I originally wanted to have him featured on The ARRRISE AND GRIND CYPHER CH. 2, but we ran out of time. Thankfully however, for this project for cypher 3, I wanted him to deliver on the mic this time. And he did so with exquisite timing.
Along with Ali Khan Bey, I have Sterlyngram perform on the same “Be True” instrumental by HK. Also, much like Ali Khan Bey, Sterlyngram has a fantastic verse to deliver on the mic. One of my favorite lyrics was when he rapped, “Income that’s comin’ in…” which I enjoyed and related. His bars also come in great when listening to his part.
When rapping over the beat, I truly enjoy Sterlyngram’s energy. When he raps, it feels like he is having the time of his life rapping over the beat while sending flavor into the ears of the listener.
It was such a remarkable pleasure having Khzzari on the cypher ch., 3. Much like J Soulstice, Alia Zin, and Ali Khan Bey, Khzzari also makes his return on the mic delivering masterful work. He originally first appeared on our second cypher to deliver dope bars and is doing the same for cypher 3.
Khzzari’s lyrical skill is unmatched. He is a super dope emcee representing Long Beach, CA for this project. He has been making music for quite some time now. On shooting at Ziba Photo studio for the cypher, Khzzari gave off a very chill, laid back and psychedelic and creative cypher verse. His voice is so smooth and chill that it gets people going.
Khzzari raps over Tk’s beat blast down and he shows that he is the perfect emcee to do so with his lyrical skills. One of my favorite lyrics from Khzzari was, “What’s a king to a God?” This verse was great because it brings up a question and leads to having the audience know that you don’t need a crown or a money to be one. Khzzari shows that he is a king on the mic in his own right and perfectly shows it when rapping on cypher 3. His lyrics of, “Thug life in my pencil,” is another favorite of mine too. check out Khzzari, the super dope king lyricist and artist on our cypher spitting amazing bars.
It was great having expandthemind on the cypher. Like Tanjint Wiggy, Expandthemind (Expand The Mind) was also very experimental with expanding his lyrical prowess and bars. When rapping, Expandthemind also brought a lot of emotion and personality to his rhymes making him unique. When listening, it feels like he’s a rapper from the 90s taking center stage on the mic in present day. He all in all also just sounds like a very experimental groundbreaking rapper as well. One of my favorite lyrics from Expandthemind was, ‘I pop turntables on a Friday night…” which made it interesting to listen to more of his bars. Expandthemind expands his level of creativity and artistry on the mic by popping dope rhymes to the viewer.
Along with being a dope emcee, it was also great having Exandthemind around the actual set. The guy is great and truly means well. He was somewhat of a comedian on set as well. I say this because he was brightening up everyone’s day with his sparkling and comedic personality. If he wasn’t rapping, he was making a bunch of jokes and hip-hop references all throughout our session of the making of cypher 3. He’s not just a great rapper but a great friend too. Also, when he wasn’t rapping, he was joking, and when he wasn’t joking, he was just down right bringing positive vibes to the event. Because of him, the cypher 3 was also able to get Marlon D to come rock the mic as well.
Finally, we had to get Marlon D on the project of the cypher. I was in discussion with Expand The Mind with acquiring more diverse groups of artists from different parts of Socal and he recommended me Marlon D. Marlon D hit me up quick and the rest was history.
Marlon D along with Khzzari performed at Ziba Studio. Marlon delivered a great and raw performance on center stage. When watching his show, it feels like a mixture of a dope battle rapper rapping on the Oscar award winning film 8 mile (2002) mixed with something that one can see on a live theatrical stage.
Marlon’s bars themselves were very raw and very real. When listening to his verse, he brings out the aggression and the very best of himself when performing. One of the best lyrics that he had that I enjoyed are, “I’m all about peace and love,” because although this rapper can deliver the realness and rawness, he is all about bringing good vibes to the viewer and those around him that he works with. Marlon’s prowess is harnessed on the microphone brilliantly, and it shows considering that he has been a dope rapper since 2005 to present day, now repping Oxnard, California. More of his music to come.
I found the homie Solarious at the right place at the right time through mutual friends. Before he acted as our sound engineer and producer, I spoke with Solarious about music. We spoke for hours and hours regarding our passion for hip hop. Within our conversation I hired him on bord of this project to act as our sound engineer and one of the producers. Soon, we discussed what we wanted to accomplish for this project. When he agreed to the job as the sound engineer and being one of our producers to assist us all with some beats, the rest was history. Working with Solarious was a remarkable honor as his skills with mixing and mastering are just as fantastic as his beats. He is like no other. He is indeed a king at what he does. Because of this, there is a possible chance that we plan another cypher in the future.
LA.G. & CINEMATIC RADEO
My partners in crime for shooting this project go out to Andy Garcia aka LA.G. and Cinematic Radeo. For our project, I had them assist me with the filming of the project making sure we got all the right angles and the best shots of each rapper we worked with. It was a pleasure working with them and they too are both kings in what they do.
I’ve said it so many times all throughout this article. It was a massive honor and blessing to work with each artist that has been a part of this project. I remember one time rap legend MC Serch once said, “I will not. I will not be the Jew who screws over the Black man!” Although I am not MC Serch, a Jewish American rapper of 3rd Bass from New York, and one of the many people to have brought Nas to the world as he acted as his manager once, I am a hip hop fan. I wanted to be as respectful and as courteous to each artist as I most possibly could be. There were indeed ups and downs on this project. I’m not gonna lie. However, what I can say is that I am very happy that we were able to accomplish this project together. It was fantastic working with Alia Zin, Zane One, J Soulstice, Tanjint Wiggy, Ali Khan Bey, Sterlyngram, Khzzari, Expandthemind, Marlon D., Coma, Solarious, Cinematic Radeo, Andrew Garcia aka LA.G and everyone else apart of this project. I also want to give a special shout out to working with the fantastic Laiilo aka @ladylaiilo, and Jay aka @yojaylightmeup for helping me out with the project (more specifically the postproduction portion). Despite the ups and downs, despite the good and bad, we as artists can’t take away that we were creating something special for the world to see. We created something special such as this hip hop cypher music video where we were able to get featured on a major publication and more. In the future, I have plans to have an all-female cypher or a cypher with mainstream rappers (it can also still be all female or male and female). Whatever the case may be, it was a pleasure working with everyone. The ARRRISE AND GRIND Cypher Ch. 3 is out now on Youtube entitled, “The Arrrise & Grind Cypher ch 3: Alia Zin, Zane One, J Soulstice, Tanjint Wiggy, & More (2023-2024). It is also on other social media platforms. Check out our story for the culture and spirit of real hip hop.
Rappers: Alia Zin aka @aliaxzin, Zane One aka @zanemarie, J Souls9ce aka @j_souls9ce, Ali Khan Bey aka @greatkhanseven, Sterlyngram aka @sterlyngram, Khzzari aka @khzzari, 4expandthemind aka @4expandthemind7, Marlon D aka @mdlens.
Sound Eangineer: Solarious
Camera Shooters: R. Ray Robinson aka arrriseandgrindprod1, Andrew Garcia aka oﬃcial. Lag aka LA.G, Cinema9c radeo aka@cinema9cradeo.
Producers: Solarious, B Noize aka @bnoizemusic, @isodope_beats, Coma aka kev_coma aka Kevin Tan, TK, HK.
Thanks: Jay aka Jaylightmeup & Laiilo aka Ladylaiilo