Latyrx: Still Deft And Defiant After Two Decades | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Latyrx: Still Deft And Defiant After Two Decades

Play associated audio

It's been 17 years between albums for the Bay Area alt-rap duo Latyrx. Oakland-born Lateef Daumont is a Black Panther's son who raps as Lateef the Truthspeaker, while Tokyo-born Tom Shimura, a banker's son, raps as Lyrics Born. In 1996, they collaborated on The Album, a gorgeous and contemplative record. Then, they went their solo ways for almost two decades. Now, finally, they've brought forth what is hands-down the alt-rap album of the year.

Thumbing its nose at know-nothings who still believe that rapping isn't music, Latyrx's The Second Album is launched by two rabble-rousing speeches that are musical in themselves.

The new album works to vary the rappers' contrasting flows — not just with basic beats, but with a wealth of melodic elements. These come mostly from the West Coast hip-hop underground. But two remarkable tracks were produced by tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus; the liquid "Watershed Moment" evokes the elixir of life in more ways than one.

Latyrx's members aren't kids anymore -- The Second Album is what we inevitably call "mature." But for Latyrx, maturity is an occasion for fresh invention, from a song where rumors about a lost cat kick off an anti-terrorism initiative to a gun control number in which patriots in powdered wigs load their muskets one bullet at a time.

Lateef is the activist firebrand; Lyrics Born the one-step-at-a-time philosopher of moderation and what he calls "entrepreneurial spirit." But both make it their business to look forward. The Second Album is life-affirming, with a force few artists in any genre can match.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

For Wintry Weather, An Especially Cold And Snowy Tale

This week we celebrated not only Christmas, but also the solstice — the shortest day of the year. In honor of this wintry weather, author Edward Carey recommends his favorite winter fairy tale.
NPR

Nutmeg Spice Has A Secret Story That Isn't So Nice

Nutmeg is a feel-good holiday spice. But it once caused serious bloodshed and may have even been a reason the Dutch were willing to part with Manhattan in the 1600s.
WAMU 88.5

Special Prosecutors Should Handle Civilian Shootings By Police, Holmes Norton Says

Norton says mayors and governors could stem anger over civilian shootings by police by appointing special prosecutors to handle them.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #MuslimApologies Grew Out Of Both Anger And Whimsy

Maha Hilal helped launch #MuslimApologies partly as a rebuttal to the more earnest hashtag, #NotInOurName. She tells Audie Cornish how it reflects a divisive conversation in the Muslim community.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.