HH Improv Cease 044Cipha Sounds and his Tribe Called Yes take Hip Hop personally

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He’s most commonly known for his role as one of the hosts of Hot 97’s (WQHT-FM) morning drive.

In addition to his gigs as radio persona and disc jockey both on the station where hip hop lives and beyond, Cipha Sounds passionately pursues the art of improvised stand-up on the side. He began his love affair with improv initially to sharpen his skills on-air, but after having so much fun with his classes, a vision for something bigger spawned organically.


That vision has come to fruition in the form of Cipha’s weekly improvised stand-up comedy show dubbed Take It Personal. Going down every Friday at the UCB theatre on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Take It Personal serves as a session of sketches made up entirely on the spot, hosted by Cipha, and performed by him and his comedic clan, A Tribe Called Yes. The funnymen’s (and women’s) skits are based on factual narrations delivered by Cipha’s special hip hop-affiliated guest of the evening, as well as the assistance of audience members who e-mail in their suggestions for comedic inspiration prior to the evening’s festivities.

This week, Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s own Lil Cease took center stage to share some of his own anecdotes to prime the improvisers comic creativity.

As Cease stepped into the spotlight, you could tell he wasn’t too sure what he signed himself up for, but as the evening progressed, and the wine started to settle into his system, his demeanor became a lot more playful.

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Upon introducing Lil Cease to the audience, Cipha reminded them about the days he toured with Lil Kim, and the incidents of hazing he endured by her and the Junior M.A.F.I.A. members. In particular, he mentioned getting barraged by their chants of “Fuck you, DJ” when a record skipped as he worked the wheels. And he would think to himself, “But I’m with you!”

Cipha’s therapy session took a turn to one of many fantastic stories Cease told, this one being of the day he was supposed to meet Michael Jackson. Unfortunately for him, one Notorious B.I.G. made him stay in the car, and roll up weed while he went in to record with MJ. He recalled his disappointment stating “One minute I’m about to meet MJ, and the next I’m sittin in the car rollin up weed.” He was particularly excited to ask the King of Pop if he, too, smoked.

Cease’s anecdote of almost meeting Michael turned into a sketch of George Washington going through a time warp. Except in this version, our first president was a stoner.

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After the first round of skits, Cipha asked Lil Cease to elaborate on Biggie’s reference to him in “Long Kiss Goodnight:

“I used to be as strong as Ripple be, til Lil Cease crippled me”

After dropping that line to the crowd, Cipha asked Cease – “How did you cripple Biggie?”

He proceeded to enlighten the audience on a day where the two of them were enjoying a blunt walk in Brooklyn, when a few boys in blue saw Biggie put it out. They were arrested, and biggie’s Lexus was impounded. Once they were released, they went to pick it up the next day, and to their dismay, it wouldn’t start; so they had it towed back to Jersey where they went to pick up a loaner, which happened to be an aluminum van. Mid-story, Cease revealed that even though Biggie had a license, he actually couldn’t drive. So, Cease held it down behind the wheel as usual, despite being in a whip he felt was unfit for two rap stars. Just when they probably thought things couldn’t get worse, the two got involved in a pretty serious car accident, leaving Cease with missing teeth, and B.I.G. with a serious leg injury. Even with a limp, Biggie insisted that it was nothin.

Every detail of Cease’s stories the Tribe took and ran with, re-creating them and cohesively building off of them throughout the entire hour of hilarity that ensued. If you wanna know how, you’re just going to have to see for yourself on your next free Friday night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB). The comedy commences promptly at 9pm, and you will not be disappointed. Besides…we know that Basketball Wives star Tami Roman and co-founder of VICE Suroosh Alvi weren’t.

Shout out to Cipha and all of his tribesmen (and women) for another successful edition of Take It Personal, namely Lydia Hensler, Phill Jackson, Shaun Diston, Christian Capozzoli, D’arcy Carden and Neil Casey.

For those in the New York Metropolitan area, you can purchase your tickets to Take It Personal here.

P.S. Be sure to keep your eyes out for Lil Cease and the Junior M.A.F.I.A. Dons – forthcoming Riding For The King release, and check out their latest single “We Party” here.

Written by: Alana Johnson (@TheLadyLana)

Photos by: Daniel Vasquez (danieljvasquez.com)