Skillz Responds To BET’s Cypher Invite, Preps New Album

Skillz will go down in history as the first rapper to hi-jack an entire television network and win.

The veteran MC from Virginia released a “direct-to-web” version of BET’s popular rhyme “Cypher“replete with punchlines like “I’ll pull your card like Gambit/ Make it so easy a cave man can understand it…”

The couplets were punctuated with costume changes, a dramatic pause to apply chap stick (brrrr!) and finally a not so subtle whisper to the network’s honcho:

“Shout [to] BET and Debra Lee cuz she bossy/Next time you want some Skillz in your Cypher…call m

Well it wasn’t a phone call but who uses those in the age of Twitter? BET ’s Executive Vice President Stephen Hill immediately took to the social network and wrote, “Stunned @SkillzVa is OFFICIALLY in next year’s cypher! here’s why,” linking to the clip.

With more marketing saavy than your average rapper (or record executive for that matter) this is just the latest in a series of moves for the MC who has made his yearly “Wrap-Ups” and “True Hip-Hop Confessions” hip-hop staples. And the timing couldn’t be better. His next solo album, We Need More Skillz, is coming out on October 26th and his mixtape with DJ Jazzy Jeff and J. Period, Infamous Quotes is available for download now.

In this exclusive we discuss the method to his madness and why exactly the world needs more Skillz.

TUD: What made you go out and create your won version of BET’s “Cypher”?

Skillz: When I did it, the goal was for [Stephen Hill] to see it. Either him or Debra Lee. I wanted them to see why I should have been in it. I think a lot of people might overlook me. I’ve always been under rated and that’s cool. And anytime something happens with me in my career people say “oh, that’s a good look for Skillz.” They don’t even expect it anymore.”Oh, Skillz’ joint on 106 and Park, he’s number 3!” They don’t even expect to see me in certain places but I’m always there. I’m not one of these new kids; I’m not Cali Swag or Roscoe Dash. But I’m not Melly Mel either. I’m somewhere right in the middle where I could still put out quality music and people will still appreciate it. Just when you start thinking that I don’t got it [I put out] a “Call Me Crazy” or “Owe Me For Real.” I’m from that era, that’s what I do. If I haven’t learned anything, I’ve learned how to create a buzz. Even if it’s not for a long time. I’ve learned how to create something and make you pay attention to it and the average person will say “damn, that’s a good ass idea.” If you think of anything major that I’ve been a part in the last few years, it was just a good idea. The “Wrap Ups”, the “Hip Hop Confessions,” when you listen to the mixtape you’ll get the idea behind that. I just have to have good ideas a lot more often than Drake. I’m not going to get the same accolades [as him]. I’m not going to stand in the peanut gallery and hate on Drake like “he got it easy.” I worked for this shit. But I know that if Drake comes into the radio station and does one drop with Funk Master Flex and he freestyles, I have to do a better freestyle and do a drop for every DJ there. That’s the only way I’m going to get recognized.

So are you going to take BET up on the offer?

Skillz: I definitely would not pass up a chance to be on television, on one of the biggest networks of our generation. I don’t take those kind of looks likely. Even if I would have been in the Cypher, I only got 16 bars to make this happen, to make everybody talk about me tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, in my Cypher I went a little long because I could but I’m sure Stephen Hill would take me up on it. We’ve crossed paths a couple times. He knows who I am when he sees me but maybe he just didn’t make that connection. Through the power of Twitter I got him to pay attention. It worked.FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE.