Every Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., the spirit of Boston hip-hop comes alive right in its center as the Downtown Crossing T stop plays host to the Subway Cipher. A cipher is one of hip-hop’s oldest practices: a literal circle of rappers, poets, and listeners who gather to trade freestyle rap verses, rhymes, and knowledge.
Justice Born, who began organizing the cipher on Easter Sunday of last year, spearheads the Wreck Shop Movement. An acronym for “When Raw Elements Combine Kinetically, Start Helping Other People,” the Wreck Shop collective is a group of artists, poets, DJs, producers, and creatives who all share the common goal of providing a supportive community for like-minded individuals. Many who attend the Subway Cipher support and identify with Wreck Shop, while some are just people who drop in to share their talents.
“The ultimate goal is to inspire,” Born said. “Hip-hop is originally a movement for the people, and we’re trying to bring it back to that. It’s why we come to a subway station that’s heavily concentrated with people.”