The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Cipha Sounds

Cipha Sounds is tired. And he has every right to be after hosting his daily morning show on Sirius Satellite Radio, “The Cipha Sounds Effect,” and running over to the MTV studios to tape three shows for the network, he collapses on the velvety red couch in the green room, adjusts his traditional navy blue Yankee fitted, and flashes a playful smile to everyone in the room.

Cipha Sounds is one of the most ambitious and dedicated artists in the music industry. He got his start by helping out his friend, DJ Riz, with a show at Adelphi University’s radio station.
He got introduced to Funkmaster Flex and his Flip Squad Crew here and started DJing at clubs with the well-established disc jockey.

Cipha developed a good relationship with Flex who asked him to join him on his nighttime show on Hot 97. After nearly five years Cipha was honored with having his own spot on Hot 97, which he still holds today airing Saturdays from noon to four, and got to display his own personality.

Cipha Sounds has a good ear for new music. He knows what will move people and as a DJ that’s one of the most important skills. He is credited with playing songs by Sean Paul, Eminem, The Clipse and a slew of other groups before any other DJ would dare to touch them.

“I can’t put it into words,” Cipha says. “It’s just my thing. Some people know how to bake and some people know how to drive cars really well. I just have an ear for talent.”

Following the foot steps of other hip hop artists such as Jay-Z (who he had actually worked with at Def Jam Records), Cipha, used his passion for music and ability to spot the next big thing and started his own management and production company, Jack Move Inc., in 2003.

“There’s more to do in the music business than just make music,” Cipha says. “It’s all under the umbrella of music. You may look at it as all different jobs, I look at it as all the same job.”

The company helped the group Nina Sky gain mainstream popularity and become a hit in the clubs. Currently the company is working on releasing an album for a new rap artist, Daytona, who Cipha Sounds says makes “swagger” music.
“You just look at him and you just feel cool, he’s like the Fonz,” he says of Daytona.

In April, Cipha will be celebrating his one year anniversary as the newest addition to the MTV VJ family. It took some time for him to adjust from speaking to a radio audience to addressing his viewers in front of the television.

“On radio everything is with your voice,” he says. “Every action you’re trying to portray. If you’re trying to act happy you have to sound happy. Smiling doesn’t matter. It’s all vocal. So I had to get used to visual body movements and camera angles.”
After hiding behind the airwaves in a radio studio, Cipha is now dealing with a new form of fame, being recognized on the streets. He finds his new found fame as recognition for all of his hard work.

His relaxed and playful attitude makes him approachable and down to earth and luckily for his fans, he wants to talk to them. “I’m a regular person,” he says bluntly. “I’m just on tv.”

Previously, people who had seen him performing at clubs would recognize him but now he’s the face of Sucker Free on MTV which airs weekdays at 3pm. As much as TRL had Carson Daly tell the world the most listened to songs in the country, Sucker Free can be seen as breath of fresh air as the source for today’s best hip hop music.

Along with his two radio shows and Sucker Free, Cipha has become one of the trusted voices in hip hop when it comes to who you should be looking out for.

Cipha will get a chance to be on the big screen again. Previously featured as DJ Dusk in the 2002 Spike Lee movie “25th Hour,” he will get a chance to show off his acting skills in “The Doorman.”

He will also be releasing a DJ album with more dance style songs rather than hard street rap.

Influenced by early ’90s hip hop groups such as De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest, inspired by revolutionary groups such as Outkast, and respecting legends such as Sting and Dr. Dre (saying he’d love to work with Dre because he’s like a “scientist” in the studio), Cipha is looking to make big crossover records. “I want to make big songs that move the world, not just big songs of the day.”

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