The beauty of a cypher is that it gathers artists from different walks of life and allows them to share their fortes. In a hip-hop cypher, competitors and spectators alike gather to hear some of the hardest bars around. The nicest emcee goes home with the respect of onlookers and a metaphorical prize that comes with murdering everything on sight.

The 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards have potential to include some classic cyphers. This year’s contenders include David Banner, Treach, Remy Ma, T-Rex, and Tsu Surf.

But before the show airs, let's take a look back at some of the most memorable cyphers of the past years. We’ve comprised a list based on individual skill, lyrical content, and the group’s dominance.

A Cypher Defined: