Blueprint Live and Colab presents
Back in 1995, Bay Area rap was at the big-ballin’ peak of the mobb music craze, LA was chronically gripped in a G-funk indo smoke haze, Atlanta was enjoying its Southernplayalistic days, and NYC was entering a shiny-suit phase. There was no frame of reference for two lyrical emcees experimenting with the tonality and resonance of rhyme patterns.
This was uncharted territory. The pairing of Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker into Latyrx was “an accident,” LB recalls. Both emcees were solo artists, but when LB heard the pre-Endtroducing DJ Shadow beat which would become Latyrx’ eponymous debut single, his reaction was, “Oh my God, I gotta get on this.”
“Latyrx” was a syllabic tour de force which began with two dissonant voices — one gruff and bassy, the other higher-pitched and trebly, both hella fluid — it transmogrified into a harmonic convergence of doubled verses simultaneously assaulting eardrums. Undeniably, it was great… but weird. “It was ill,” Lateef recalls. “We really felt like we had something unlike anyone else had done,” he adds.
Latyrx’ first and thusfar, only, full-length, 1997’s Latyrx: the Album, “set the tone for what Solesides and Quannum would do,” LB recalls, while 1998’s Muzappers Re-Mixes EP spawned one of the only feminist-affirming club bangers in hip-hop history, “Lady Don’t Tek No.”
Though Latyrx never officially broke up, after Muzappers, both members followed their chosen paths to considerable solo success. Yet no matter how much acclaim each attained individually, the notion of someday making another Latyrx record was always present. “It’s probably the number one thing I got asked about in my career,” LB says.