Published Sep 22, 2009While older fans carry on wallowing in discussions about whether or not hip-hop is truly dead, a whole new crop of artists are out there simply doing what they do, generating music based on an increasingly widening set of influences that may not always square with self-professed purists. With their self-titled debut EP, Peg City's the Lytics offer up a cross-pollinational affair that speaks directly to an iPod generation of music enthusiasts that care less about classification and more about snatching the best of what comes their way. The group manage to create something for everyone, reflecting on around-the-way girls over the bristling melodic groove of "Big City Sound Girls," breaking down the importance of fly kicks, backed by the appropriately '80s synth pop styling of "Checkin' Out My Pumas," and serving up some Wyclef-style life lessons on "Stay Humble." Solid, straight-ahead beats-and-rhymes hip-hop receives equal face time via cuts like "I'm Here" and "On Point," but it's hard to compete with the club-ready drum & bass bombast of "Smoke (Pretty Young Tings)." It all comes together quite nicely, and in a way that should feel natural to many that have grown up in and around the country's major urban centres.
Stylistically, have the group always been about melding really varied musical influences into hip-hop?
A-Nice: To be completely honest, we've been making music for a long time and we draw from a lot of different kinds of musical acts. So, where as we started off doing music on Dilla beats and stuff like that, at the same time we listen to all different kinds of music. When you have different influences from all over the map it's kind of hard for that not to get inside the music in some way. It's not that we don't look at ourselves as just a hip-hop group, but it's like we even came up with this idea that we don't even want to use the term "hip-hop" anymore. We just wanna go by "good music"; we were even thinking of coining the term "boom box music."
The group have been building since 2003. Is this really the first release?
Ya, this is the first release. [Before this] we kinda just took old instrumentals, like old Dilla instrumentals, or Premier and Pete Rock instrumentals, and did our songs overtop of them. It was never anything like, "let's get it all over the internet and put it on YouTube." It started off as something that was fun, and eventually people encouraged us to take it seriously. Plus, we all live together, and [producer] B-flat was in the basement the entire time just making beats, and he's been working with other dudes around the city. When you grow up around that, especially when it's someone you look up to, you start thinking, "I wanna be able to do that one day." (Independent)