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The Album

Latyrx

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Album Review

Latyrx's first full-length release, The Album, was as sonically inventive as it was overlooked — which makes sense, since it was hardly ever in print during its first five years of existence. Enough people heard the record to make it something of an underground legend, but its potential influence wound up unfortunately limited, especially given how forward-looking the music on The Album is. It represents a major step for the Solesides (later Quannum) collective in replacing the Hieroglyphics as the Bay Area's most adventurous underground crew. Mates DJ Shadow and Blackalicious' Chief Xcel both produce several tracks on The Album, with Shadow helming the groundbreaking experiment "Latyrx" (which also provided the catalyst for an album release). Both MCs recorded individual raps, which were then laid on top of one another in separate audio channels. Since both are heard simultaneously, and aren't interacting, it's almost impossible to follow either Lateef's or Lyrics Born's individual flows, but it makes for a startling cumulative effect — it's vocal hip-hop as pure sonic texture. Nothing else is quite as avant-garde as "Latyrx," but there's a lot of highly progressive use made of electronics; the most attention-grabbing productions are built on spacy trip-hop beats, ambient synth textures, or burbling, minimal computer funk (with a couple of jazz-funk and dancehall-style cuts thrown in for good measure). Actually, despite the big-name backup, Lyrics Born produces the majority of the tracks on the album, and is just as responsible for its musical direction; he's also the more distinctive MC, growling, muttering, skanking like a reggae toaster, and half-singing his lines at times. Excellent early solo singles by both MCs ("The Quickening," "Balcony Beach," "Burnt Pride") sit alongside a few new offerings — disappointingly few, actually, since it takes live cuts, freestyles, and interludes just to pad The Album past 45 minutes. Still, its key tracks are nothing short of visionary, making it an essential listen.

Customer Reviews

Hard to give it 5 Stars

But I have to, because the tracks on this that work are more inventive and exciting than 99.99995% of hip hop out there. The title track still blows my mind, and is worth the price of the album alone. I can't say I love every song on here, but by and large they're edgy, creative, positive, and worth repeated listening. Buy this album, not just to be one of the few people privy to one of hip hop's best kept secrets but to hear something way ahead of its time.

Sickest album ever

This album is probably the greatest of all time. You don't even know what great rap sounds like until you've listened to this. Lyrics Born is a master vocalist, and Lateef gives this album such energy that it's hard to even conceive why this album was never insanely popular. My favorite songs are "Latyrx" and "Burnt Pride". If you want another Lateef-Lyrics Born collaboration, check out "Deep in the Jungle" by Blackalicious. Man, this album is just so d*** sick I can't even describe it. Buy at least ten copies, and hand them out to your friends. So sick.

Sick!!!!!

All of the reviews I read were helpful and I totally agree. I'm simply BLOWN AWAY by these guys. This is by far some of the best stuff I've ever heard. I myself am Mormon, so I guess I can't explain the stars reflecting in our corneas, hahaha, but I do know that this is some amazing stuff. By far, some of the most creative and inventive stuff I’ve ever heard. I’m gonna make sure to buy this album in a store too, just to have the cd. Tell your friends and spread the word about these guys if you’re reading this. I also recommend Audioslave to anybody reading this.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Davis, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s

Members of the prodigiously talented Solesides/Quannum collective, Latyrx went sorely underrecognized for their restlessly experimental brand of hip-hop. Their lone album was far too eccentric for the masses, but even in underground circles, it fell prey to poor distribution (it went out of print twice) and poor timing (Quannum mates DJ Shadow and Blackalicious hadn't yet secured their status with hip-hop fans). The name Latyrx was a combination of its members' performing monikers, Lateef the Truth...
Full Bio
The Album, Latyrx
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