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Latyrx is back 'The challenge has been about spiritually reconnecting on what Latyrx is.' Latyrx' 'The Album' was one of the craziest euhm...albums we heard at the time- 1997. The tag-team rapid-fire raps, the interaction between both emcees and the old school instrumentals with a futuristic twist -a few by DJ Shadow- got our teen minds in a hypnosis and our legs in a b-boy stance. Althoug they never quit the game, it took Bay Area's Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker fifteen years to release another project together: 'Disconnection' EP, followed by 'The Second Album' in 2013...


Lyrics Born, you said about the Latyrx comeback: 'we were picking up easily where we left off.' Was it really that easy for you after so many years?

Lyrics Born: It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The writing process took a little time to work out, but the chemistry was still there. Once we got into a rhythm, everything started to click. It's like riding a bike. The first couple of songs we wrote were a little wobbly, but soon we were doing 360's with no hands. Endo's and shit.

What was the trigger to make a Latyrx album again, Lateef? The collabo song on your latest solo album 'Firewire'?

Lateef: Not really. Lyrics Born and I have done a lot of songs together. It was actually a show put together by the 'Jazz Mafia' at the Mezzanine in San Francisco. The response, the enthusiasm from the crowd and the band made us realize that we should do another record as soon as possible.

The press release of 'Disconnection' reads 'A lot has transpired in hip-hop since the Bay Area rap duo Latyrx released their 1997 critically acclaimed debut LP'. What are some of the most remarkable changes for you?

Lateef: The tempo has increased generally and the sound has evolved both through the decades, from the 60's/70's to the 80's/90's. But probably the biggest change in music is just how much more dynamic music is now. When you hear it on big speakers, it's huge. The frequencies are just much more dynamic. Which is awesome.

By releasing solo albums you stayed in touch with the music business, so it's not really a 'culture shock' to come back as a duo right?

Lyrics Born: Not really. I haven't really been out of the 'album cycle' since the first album. The challenge has been more about leaving our solo platforms behind and spiritually reconnecting on what Latyrx 'is'. I don't think we ever really conceptually 'fit in' as a group with the world at large. And yet ironically that always seemed to work for us, so we decided to keep being an obstruction. (laughs)


Why the title 'Disconnection'?

Lyrics Born: I think it has to do with how far we've pulled away from the music world, how polarized the world is in general now, despite all the shared methods of information and how it's gathered. And how far Lateef and I have come individually only to get back on board the mothership.

A lot of people will be happy about the comeback, DoseOne (Why?) for one. He once said 'I use the term very cautiously in life at large, but much of their excellence was before its time.

Lateef: It's funny, but you never know it's 'history' you're making, while you are making it. We always just tried to push ourselves, and each other, as artists. We just tried to be creative and do things we had never done -or heard done- before.

Did you want to stay ahead of your time with the new album?

Lyrics Born: I don't know. I think it's mostly our job to direct people's attention to the broad possibilities still available in the world. To be slaves to our imagination. Music has become so conservative and predictable, I just don't think we're being of service as artists if we don't explore. I still feel there's so much more that can be done artistically and have major fun doing it.

'Before it's time' is something we also link with Amp Live...

Lateef: We've known Amp for a looooong time. Always had a ton of mutual respect, and enjoyed each others work. He's a very talented producer, and we are lucky to have worked with him as much as we have.

In our latest interview with Amp he said the following about recording with emcees and their writing habits: ' Eligh's really tedious, he writes and rewrites untill everything is just right, The Grouch usually has his stuff on point already, so it's mostly finished, Zumbi is a bit of both...' What are you both like?

Lateef: Lyrics Born is very conceptual as a writer. His stuff is very clever and often subtle and strong at the same time. He can also be very funny both personally and with his writing. He is technical and open to new ideas and directions, which makes writing with him very fun.

Lyrics Born: Lateef is down for anything, which is rare in a writing partner. He is also open to writing and re-writing, which I have to remember is important. Once I write a song I'm usually done, but in a group setting you have to go as long or short as necessary to complete the song.


Where do you get your inspiration mostly?

Lateef: Life. Life experiences which extends into art, conversations, feelings. Just everything.

How's Quannum? Has it become the label you had in mind in the nineties?

Lateef: I don't think 'labels' are what we envisioned them to be in the nineties! The entire industry is completely different now. Quannum still exists, but it is more of a platform available to artists. As a label, Quannum isn't always necessary in today's music market. Heck, labels aren't always necessary in today's market.

How's DJ Shadow?

Lateef: Shadow is a really good friend. He produced 'Say What You Want' on my solo album, 'FireWire', and is producing a track on the Latyrx album. He and I also occasionally do shows together, and Latyrx is doing a New Year's show with him as well.

Lateef, you worked with Fatboy Slim, how was that?

Lateef: Awesome. Norman is a great person and a talented producer. He's one of the nicest, fairest, most generous people I've ever met.

You performed at Google?

Lateef: Yes.

I suppose you have Android phones?

Lateef: No.


'Lady Don't Tek No' is described as 'one of the only feminist-affirming club bangers in hip-hop history'. Hip-hop is often referred to as sexist music, in your opinion, how friendly is hip-hop towards women?

Lyrics Born: Ray Charles said very simply, if you want women to like your music you must praise them. I couldn't agree more. I think we hoist unrealistic pressure and expectations on women in our society, and then to further beat them down in art, which, in my opinion should be the one place that people can find escape and sanctuary is a bit of a betrayal. I'm extremely proud of those songs we've done, and want to continue to create art that paints a more complete picture of what women mean and have meant to us.

Who are some of your fav female emcees?

Lateef: Through the years: Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Roxanne Shante, Bahamadia, Eve, Missy Elliot. Right now: Josie Stingray, Hopie Spitshard, Aima the Dreamer, K-Flay, Rapsody, Nikki Ménage.

Lyrics Born: Minnie Riperton, Diana Ross, Joanie Mitchell, Latifah, Nikki Giovanni, Badu, Alanis, Missy, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Marcia Griffiths, Ledisi, Feist, Santigold, MIA, Asha Putli, Norah Jones, Anita Baker, Fiona Apple...

Lyrics Born, your first book is in stores now. It's a 90-pages collection of tweets about the Bay Area. the concept is pretty unique. Where did the idea come from?

The fans! What started as just an occasional humorous tweet caught fire on Twitter and Facebook and they suggested I compile them into a book. Two years later and some brilliant artwork by Eddie Colla, we had self published digital and paperback versions. We blew through our first printing, we're almost through our second now, and we just inked a digi distro deal with with Inscribe. It's been amazing so far.

In four words: how would you describe the Bay Area?

Lateef: Beautiful, diverse, musical, future.

Lyrics Born: Quirky, polarized, artistic, independent.

After the EP, what's next for you guys?

Lateef: The second Latyrx album! Then, more music!

Lyrics Born: The second album and major touring, starting with Galactic in February!


POSTED 12|03|2012
conducted by cpf

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