It’s been 16 long years since Bay Area rappers and producers Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born, who together make up Latyrx, released their critically acclaimed The Album, widely regarded as a seminal work in the West Coast underground hip-hop scene of the mid to late 1990s. Now, the technically lauded duo are preparing to release a long awaited follow up, The Second Album, due out November 5th with an extraordinary roster of guest artists and producers from groups and collectives that reads like a modern day music festival line-up, including Tune Yards, Anticon, Living Colour, The Decemberists, Blackalicious, and more.
Latyrx have always been known for creating a sonic landscape that’s ahead of their time, displaying the unique chemistry that makes them a singularity. Says Lateef, “The so-called ‘rules’ about what music ‘should’ sound nowadays are different, less rigid. There seems to be a more open sense of what is acceptable and a real feeling of urgency for something new and fresh in terms of sound.” As musicians who have never followed the rules (their self-titled track from their 1997 self-titled album features both emcees rapping different lyrics simultaneously,) it’s almost as if the world is catching up to Latyrx’ modus operandi. Lyrics Born describes the album as “deliberate jibberish; it’s very eclectic, mature, nonsensical imaginative, poetic, organic, synthetic, but all smackin.”
As part of the Solesides collective in 1996, which also included DJ Shadow and members of Blackalicious, Lateef and Lyrics Born’s work exemplified the adventurous, progressive and electronic influences of their underground movement and helped shape alternative hip-hop sound and culture. The duo followed up the success of The Album with the Muzapper’s Mixes EP, which contained what has been referred to as the “one of the only feminist-affirming club bangers in hip-hop history,” the track “Lady Don’t Tek No,” and went on to numerous subsequent solo projects and collaborations, including a combined number of over 8 solo albums, 3 EP’s, 10 mixtapes, dozens of guest appearances and production work, over 1000 shows, and 1 book. After 16 years of fans begging and pleading for a reunion, Lyrics Born and Lateef are proud to bring their unique experimental tone and rhyme patterns back to the forefront with the release of their aptly titled sophomore album entitled, The Second Album. Old fans will rejoice to hear that their favorite duo continue to push the envelope of rhythmic syncopation and vocal patterns while new fans will discover what they’ve been missing this whole time.