The video above is everything I love about Dallas hip-hop nestled into one solid blank canvas for four different people to splatter over.

You may consider it a cypher, another one of those monolithic hip-hop pedestals that everyone who considers himself & herself a rapper must participate in. I however consider it something far more interesting — a case study on how evolved Dallas has become as a rap city after going years of being under the welcomed rule of thumb by DSR (if you weren’t truly in the know).

A.Dd+ are the city’s god kings at this point, holding on to an album that only exists in the walls of the metroplex until it breaks national. Dorrough may be its most visible member thanks to a breakthrough single, a colorful video from Dr. Teeth and a constant knack for adhering to the simple rules of club music no matter what region or nature — boastful, sort of sleazy and to the point. Dustin Cavazos and Slim Gravy may not have made an appearance here but I’ve seen -topic before, possibly in that massive Houston rap cypher that took place over the summer but he’s strong, wide-eyed and appreciative. The lone woman in the room – Sam Lao however might be the one thing that tells me Dallas knows exactly what it’s doing. The woman is literally waging a war with her ovaries, curly hair and nose ring, an oft-kilter flow here over PICNICTYME’s dark strings that attempts to balance itself before sitting up with a curved smile and a “oops, did I do that?” kind of splash.

This is Dallas, this was the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award Cypher. Vote for the good people now.