Sixteen long hip-hop years ago Bay Area duo Latyrx (Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker) released their highly innovative, critically-acclaimed full length debut The Album. And now in late 2013 the hip-hop power-duo, who've separately enjoyed highly prolific and successful individual careers over the past decade and a half, have finally reunited to record and release the long overdue follow up: The Second Album which arrived in Amoeba on November 5th.
In celebration of this recommended new album, that was released via Latyramid and is also available in vinyl format, they will be doing a special Bay Area concert tomorrow night at the Independent in San Francisco - on a bill also featuring album contributors Forrest Day and Gift of Gab (as host), plus Aaron Axelsen. With a wide variety of producers including Amp Live from Zion I, Jel from Anticon, tUnE-yArDs, the Decemberists' Chris Funk, and Forrest Day, plus such select mic guests as fellow Solesides/Quannum collective member the Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, Zion I's Zumbi, and LA emcee Busdriver - Lyrics Born and Lateef have concocted a richly diverse album that, while sonically quite different from its predecessor (more alt-rap than roots and experimental hip-hop), is one of the better and more adventurous hip-hop releases of 2013. "It’s very eclectic, mature, nonsensical imaginative, poetic, organic, synthetic," summed up Lyrics Born of the album in a pre-release description of the anticipated new album. This week I caught up with the two busy members of Latyrx via email to ask them each four questions. Their responses appear below immediately following the video for the new album track "Exclamation Point" that was produced by and also features on vocals Forrest Day.
LiveWIre contains countless shout outs to "The Town" including mentions of Interstate 580, SoulBeat TV, and Skyline High School. In fact the East Oakland born & raised emcee even arranged a Skyline High School rap reunion of sorts on the new album's lead single "Oakland" which features cameos from two fellow alumni of the Oakland high school: Del the Funky Homosapien and The Grouch.
One morning last month I caught up with Lateef at World Ground Coffee cafe on MacArthur in East Oakland's Laurel District where he was grabbing a hot drink before heading out on the road, along with fellow Solesides/Quannum member Lyrics Born, to travel up to the North West to do some shows. The two emcees, who as well as having their own individual careers collaborate together as Latryx, (but had not in a long while) had just done two nights of "reunion" shows at The Independent in San Francisco along with such other local artists as Bayonics, Honor Roll, and Hopie Spitshard. "Awesome" was how Lateef described those two shows. In addition to being one of the founding members of the Solesides crew/hip-hop collective that morphed into Quannum Projects Lateef is also part of The Maroons (with Chief Xcel) and has another side career recording with Fatboy Slim. He told me that he and Lyrics Born were busy working on the long overdue follow up Latryx project - that he and Lyrics Born, along with some help from individuals like DJ Shadow and Chief XCel, began almost two full decades ago - but haven't released anything new in over a dozen years with the exception of a few new bits on a mixtape CD (and now a download for sale on LB's site) Latryical Madness Vol 1 mixed by DJ Zeph . "We are about six songs into it [new Latryx album] right now with production on there by Amp Live, Cut Chemist, the Bangerz [formerly Finger Bangerz] are on there doing some stuff. And a few other cats as well: DJ Shadow and [Dan the] Automator is supposed to give us some stuff. And Chief Xcel is supposed to give us some stuff. We've got a bunch of stuff," he said.
Photos by Kaitlin Layher
Words by Spenser Russell-Snyder
In this week 20 years ago, the first Amoeba Music opened on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, CA! I'm sure none of you need a history lesson, but just in case you do, head over to our "History" page and educate yourself on all that is Amoeba Music! On Sunday, November 14th, Amoeba Berkeley had a birthday blowout celebration featuring in-store performances, DJs, prizes, cookies, and a 20% off used item sale! Here are some pictures from throughout the day:
Kicking off the day at noon was Amoeba Berkeley floorperson Kyle, who spun old time rock 'n' roll, garage, blues, and soul records.
The Berkeley store's Grace had people spinning the prize wheel all day! Also at the prize table, we held an hourly raffle, with all proceeds going to The Berkeley Free Clinic. Prizes from the raffles included "Lunchbox" amp from ZT Amplifiers, a year's worth of Peets Coffee, a $100 Amoeba gift certificate, plus other rad items!
If you are in the Bay Area today put a stop at Amoeba Music in Berkeley at the top of your to-do list! All day today, Sunday, November 14th, the famed East Bay Amoeba store that opened 20 years ago this month is celebrating with a big sale and non-stop entertainment. In addition to 20% off all used items and lots of other enticing store bargains and goodies (EG gift bags for customers who purchase over $20 + Amoeba Prize Wheel with fabulous prizes such as a collectible lunchbox amp from ZT Amplifiers or limited edition Amoeba 20th Birthday T-shirts) there will be non-stop music by DJs and other performers.
DJs include party rocker and turntable wrecker DJ Pam The Funkstress of The Coup, who, as you can see from the concert clip above, is an amazing DJ to witness live. Her set begins at 3pm today. Other spin masters today include two current Amoeba Berkeley staffers JoNasty (noon) and DJ Inti (at 1pm he will spin an exclusive "dollar bin" set), and two former Amoeba Berkeley staffers, DJ Platurn (6pm is when the famed Oakland Fader DJ kicks off the day's closing set) and DoseOne. Anticon's DoseOne (born Adam Drucker and a renowned emcee) is such an incredibly gifted & multi-talented individual. His DJ set starts at 2pm and is followed by a meet/greeting/signing session. In concert with his groups Themselves and Subtle he often simultaneously raps as he plays synth, sampler, and/or keyboard.