The FNC 1-Year Anniversary Cipher (MUSIC EVENT FEATURE)

Buffalo’s underground Hip Hop scene is beyond my hopes and dreams. The venues are locally-owned and welcoming, the attendees are invested and electric, and the bars are prime cut.

Cue The Dopeness Project’s homegrown and fully mobile event: The Friday Night Ciphers, or FNC. Hosted by their signature artist Cashis Green, yours truly has attended two ciphers in the past; the performers I’ve witnessed rival top artists and sizzle with the intensity of grassroots living; the grittiness that we come to love from our favorite rappers, before the fame and status. When the hunger is not only real, but personified.

This is the atmosphere at every FNC I’ve been to, across three separate and very different venues. From Trend Up in downtown Buffalo’s Market Arcade, to the most recent cipher held at Big Fella in the East Side, Cashis & Shantelle Massey (founder of The Dopeness Project) work closely with local business owners to bring dope talent, Buffalo business, and positive creative outlets to the people of my city.

When I first met this dynamic duo, Shantelle was busy preparing to go live on social media while Cashis was chopping it up with Giovanni Centauri, the owner of Trend Up. The two of them are incredibly inviting, with a warmness that reminds you of your favorite relative that comes to visit between their dream crafting. The type of Get Up And Go-getters (should out to GUAGGI!) that inspire you well before you even thought about your own dreams. They truly bring a personal touch of love and dedication to The Culture of Hip Hop; literal embodiments of KRS-ONE’s infamous line, “You don’t do Hip Hop; you ARE Hip Hop.”

Cashis & Shantelle are the Heart and Soul of The Dopeness Project, but the Body and the Mind belong to abstracts much bigger than them–the community of dragons and lyrical alchemists that form the FNC regulars, as well as the listeners looking to turn up are the quintessential lifeblood and vessel for this grassroots movement. And the pair of musical entrepreneurs are definitely woke to that reality.

The roster at Friday night’s one year anniversary cipher was packed with the basest and purest of minerals needed for a nutritious barfest; opening up the cypher was none other than Cashis Green, a humble yet dope visual artist as well as wordsmith; a lyricist only known by the moniker “The Cap” followed a hard act with even harder bars; next up was the beast with the mic Dmas; followed by the god, Dutchess with scintillating syllable work; newcomer, L-Fon-C rocked the mic like a vet; K Mack came with his incredible verbal attack; before Prxfet (pronounced “profit”… or is it “prophet”?) completed the Ring of Fire, rendering the cipher to cinders.

These poetic talents went two rounds, building a trust only those beautifully burning from passion can manifest—THIS was Hip Hop, alive and well, kicking it like a phoenix in a fitted. This was community at its finest, and it’s only been one year!

And what a year it’s been; as I said before, I have been to two other FNCs, and this one ignored the Fire Marshalls’ codes of conduct, bar none. Part of this was because of the atmosphere of the environment; Big Fella, a locally-owned bar in the East Side of Buffalo was as welcoming as it was chill. What looks like a house with neon signs from the outside turns into a laidback, three-room business. Jade, the General Manager and Owner, hopes to work with more local artists and members of the nearby and surrounding communities to service every special event need, granting her guests not only the space to create memories but drink specials as well. The only rule is to respect the space and everyone in it; you don’t want to upset the guard dog!

Big Fella is located at 1202 E. Delavan Ave, and though they aren’t open every day they do accept reservations for the space; simply call them at (716) 894-8949. Ask for Jade.

Following the two round cypher was a featured listening of Cashis’ upcoming project, but sadly I wasn’t able to stay for the full event. Duty and family calls—sometimes the line is only hot for a few minutes. But every call is answered by the dutiful. Until next time, FNC.


Mini-Profiles (w/ hotlinks!):

-Cashis Green, Rapper, Visual Artist, Mogul-To-Be; FB: Cash is., IG: @cashisgreen, SC: cashis_green
-Shantelle Massey, Founder, Visionary, Intellectual Powerhouse; FB: The Dopeness Project, IG: @the_dopeness_project, TWTR: @dopenessproject
-Prxfet, Rapper, Dragon, All-Around Bad Dude; FB: Prxfet, IG: @prxfet_, SC: PRXFET
-Captain, Rapper, X-Man, Lyrical Assassin; TWTR: @clairvgeneius, IG: @clairvgeneius, SC: Gene-ius Ink
-Dmas, Rapper, Flow Artist, Top Knotch; FB: Dmas Music, IG: @dmasmusicology, SC: Dmas Musicology
-Dutchess, Rapper, Lyricist, Spoken Wordsmith; FB: Royal Dutch, IG: @inhale_dutchess
-L-Fon-C, Rapper, Producer-in-Training, Night Owl; FB: L-Fon-C, IG: @lfoncee
-K Mack, Rapper, Freestyle Master, Class of One; FB: Kenny Macadellic, IG: @kmacadellic, TWTR: @kmac97446861, SC: Kmac

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