When first encountering Syntax Strange's juxtaposition of acoustics, boom bap, and unforgiving staccato flow, you just might wonder, "what the hell is that cat talking about?" The understatement of the week would be to say that he rhymes for people who listen to lyrics, not just hear music. Syntax's rapid-fire vocabulary is off-the-wall, spitting platonic--no, intergalactic-level transcendence above the frivolous topics of others on the microphone. Catch him and his cohorts at the Awaken show on October 31, at Deno's Sports Bar & Grill. After the jump he tells us a little about who he is, where to catch his show and the truth about why his music isn't for everyone.
Where'd your name come from? I came up with SYNTAX back in 1994. The idea to use it for a name came to mind when I remembered in computer class in grade school. if you typed the wrong series of characters on the computer screen you would get "syntax error". I figured what I say and write, my style of rhyming was definitely "strange" in comparison to those in my immediate surroundings. So I added the "STRANGE" later on. Syntax also denotes "order" (as opposed to chaos). So you can say it means "strange speech", strange order", or "strange way", etc.
What's the most common misconception people have about you as an artist? I really don't get a lot of misconceptions as an artist. I pretty much lay it out on the table who I am and what I'm about, and when people hear my material they are like "yeah that makes sense." Meaning my music matches who I am as a person, so people kinda know to expect something out of the ordinary.
In your MySpace manifesto of who Syntax Strange is not, you strike down a lot of the symbols of today's rap scene... southern rap in particular. You catch any flak about that? I haven't caught any flack as of yet. I really don't expect it. Selling crack and gang banging transcends the southern rap scene tremendously. I explain that these images are not a part of my persona, so one will not hear the glorification of these aspects of reality within my material.
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Seems like you'd rather pee in the mainstream than be in it. Why? The "mainstream" meaning commercial radio which I do not listen to. (PEACE to EZ Eddie D on 89.3!) The radio for the most part gives me a very grim feeling. It's like celebrating mental death and mental slavery. It's a shame to me. I am a person who naturally deals with the root of a situation. Some say, "It's only music." I have heard artists who I truly admire and hold in high regards say that. If you research, music is the cornerstone of any culture.
Your lexicon is way out there. Do you find that a lot of peeps just don't get you? The ones who are supposed to get me will. My formula is like I run a restaurant with all exotic foods and other weird shit to eat. I present whatever it is I decided to cook. If you like it, you will consume the entire meal, compliment the chef, and come back for more. The recipe won't change. You already know where to go get a hamburger or a chicken sandwich but you come to my spot for that ol' otha shit.
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Tell me about the "Darklight Illustrious" album. The DARKLIGHT ILLUSTRIOUS aka THE DARKLIGHT ILL is a compilation of tracks I did over a period of time in the early 2000's recorded at my man's SIR KUTTA's (DK) spot "The Kernal's Cove." (Good Times, man!!!) The tracks are raw and ill. I did most of the beats on there. I have a track by Steve Wick called "Lord and Master" and one by DJ Remode called "144,000" Rhymez on there. It also has some instrumental stuff on it. It got good responses.
Who are your favorite local artists/producers to work with? Yo so far I primarily work with SPEWCATIACLISM and our crew which is DIELEX KEMPOSED or DK for short. But I would love to branch out with other dope cats in DFW. I'm feelin my man PRIESTTD's production...it's very ill with no cure. I'm also working with SOMATIC from El Paso, TX, now residing in the 8-1-7 and is now DK. Also PEACE to Heir MAX who is also now DK. I finally get to work with him.
What should be we be on the lookout for from you? I am currently re-releasing STRANGE DOCTRINEZ including some more older tracks as well as some brand new-ish I've been dealing with. You can get that on the hand to hand tip! Also be on the look out for the SOMATICSYNTAX project which is coming out very dope so far. And i'm also writing to PRIESTTD's "EXOTIC TOOLZ" album which is all instrumentals. The project is called SCYFER NTRFCE NGAGE ( Cipher Interface Engage). I mentioned to him over the phone that I would sound so ill to his beats... He was like, "Take the whole album and write to it." That was our first conversation ever. Also be on the lookout for STRANGECOX which is myself and my wife Femcee supreme Neeky Devero. I'm also on a compilation called "Psycufski Synfonies" released on Drehzlock 44 Records outta West Berlin, Germany. The track is called "Sick Shit Reprezentaz" and it features a my man HyPerAktiv (Berlin) who is also terminally ill with no cure on the beats and rhymes.
When peeps hit Dino's on Halloween for the Awaken show, what exactly should they walk in there prepared for? Yo come prepared to have mad fun and listen to and see some live dope ass Underground Hip Hop outta the 8-1-7! That dark shit! All my B-Boys and B-Girls come out break. It's gonna be a dope show I guarantee. It'll be more than just musical stimulation to enjoy. Mad cheap to get in. Bring extra loot to drink and buy new music. A lot of DK artist will have their cd's there. --Quia Querisma