SOTL x Lyriciss [interview]
We here at SOTL pride ourselves on building relationships with the artists outside of a gmail inbox and a zshare link. One of the artists we’ve come to know well is co-resident Robert Bailey, best known as Lyriciss. Ask any of the people making moves from around the area and they’ll tell you, this guy has been pushing forward non-stop. An old-school, east coast hip-hop flow mixed with a DC flavor, laced by shrewd, astute lyrics, Lyriciss has over the past few months built up a lengthy resume: numerous blogsites, mixtapes, shows in DC & NYC, collaborations prominent artists, and features on nationally recognized websites, radio shows, magazines, and now StartOfTheLine.
SOTL: Mr. Robert Bailey, how you doing?
LYRICISS: I’m good man
SOTL: What’s on your mind?
LYRICISS: I need some new jeans and some new sneakers. My shoe game is wiz-zack.
SOTL: I hear you man. I’m rocking some chucks cause they’re so cheap.
LYRICISS: I ain’t had no vicious shoes ever. I always loved Jordans and shit like that, but my family was too broke to get em for me and I always looked younger than my actual age, so jobs wouldn’t hire me.
SOTL: The shoes I usually spent a lot of money on were cleats for soccer
LYRICISS: Word. I’d get expensive-ass shit for football, only cause my father cared about that shit.
SOTL: How long did you play football?
LYRICISS: 8 years. Got some trophies and tendonitis in my right knee for life as a result.
SOTL: So what are you up to nowadays?
LYRICISS: Just more work. Can’t ask for much more than that though. Work reaps benefits and progress. Music and my daughter, all I need.
SOTL: Those seem like some good principles to live by, that what with the economy and all. You politic much? How ’bout some Palin?
LYRICISS: Yeah, but the broad is dumb. I don’t need Miss Alaska runnin’ the US! I need somebody that’s gon save my life…FOR REAL! You know McCain ain’t gonna do it…that bastard can’t remember what he had for breakfast. Yeah, I’d get the bop from her all day but that’s beside the point.
SOTL: You got a lot of love for “The Hope.”
LYRICISS: Craaaazy love. It’s amazing to me. It’s not even what I really wanted to put out. It’s a mash-up of the random tracks I did over 2 years. Not to say I feel it’s wack, but when Voice Of The Metro drops, you’ll hear somethin different…tracks even more thought out and executed stronger, which was why i leaked “The Willie Lynch Chip”. The first thing people say when they hear that is “Wow, I didn’t expect that from you”, because “The Hope” didn’t quite have anything that conceptual or heavy like that. Wholetime, songs like that are the kind I have stashed. I got at least 10 rhymebooks filled up with songs and verses, if not more.
SOTL: I’m glad to hear you’re still into writing your rhymes down. All I hear nowadays is people saying “I thought it up and two seconds later I had it memorized; I don’t write shit cause I ain’t got time.”
LYRICISS: Man, to me, that’s bullshit. I know Jay does it; I’m not convinced on Wayne, even though it would explain why he strays off topic so much. I write all my rhymes, whether in a book or my BlackBerry. I can’t even remember my rhymes until I record em and listen to em repeatedly.
SOTL: When did you start rhyming?
LYRICISS: When i was 9. I’d take songs i heard on the radio and put my own rhymes over them, then i started battling in middle school. Kept that going through high school, started recording at 16. I’m 20 now, so that’s 11 years for me. I been in love with hip-hop since a baby. Moms got all the classic albums: LL, Dre,Snoop, Jay, Wu-Tang, Nas, Kool Moe Dee, Heavy D…she got it all, and still mixed in some rock and R&B.
SOTL: You got any favorites?
LYRICISS: Man…hmm…hard to pick favorites, joe…I love it all. There were certain songs that as soon as they hit me though, they remind me of why I love hip-hop: “Luchini” by Camp Lo, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” by Nas, “It Takes Two” by Rob Base. So many songs that just take me back. “Microphone Fiend” by Rakim.
Download: Lyriciss — Willie Lynch Chip
SOTL: Willie Lynch Chip — that started after watching a Preacher speak?
LYRICISS: Yeah, my cousin in NYC had this DVD with a preacher speaking about how every black person in the U.S. is born with the “Willie Lynch chip” implanted in us, forcing us to be against our own people. Very deep video. I didn’t even finish watching before I said, “young, I’mma make a song about this”.
SOTL: You have any specific instances in your life that you drew off?
Lyriciss: I’ve had certain instances where it’s played a role in my life, like with the second verse, but I basically spoke from the other side. I’m pretty light. It was more of a creative experience writing the song
SOTL: What I drew from the track though was that in the past, the self-hate may have been more juxtaposed, more obvious, but it still thrives today, and not even just in the African-American community, but among all the minorities.
LYRICISS: Yeah, that’s what made the second and third verse easy. I have a lot of dark-skinned friends and I’m cool with a lot of females, so I know their standpoints on some things, not to say it applies to ALL, but there are some that feel the way I wrote it in the song. And yeah, and sometimes, it’s not even the minorities. Sometimes it’s reversed. It’s wild. Everybody loves to say “aw, you’re hating, they’re hating, hater this, hater that”, but “The Willie Lynch Chip” shows what hate REALLY is…whether hatred of another man or hatred of self.
Download: Lyriciss — Blue Collar Chronicles
SOTL: Blue Collar Chronicles — All that shit REALLY happened to you?
LYRICISS: All of it. Man…ALL of it! It’s wild, but you know…retail gets like that.
SOTL: Whats the worst it got?
LYRICISS: The wildest people in the world are customers in grocery stores and electronic stores. Man, the dude that bought his kid a game that was rated “M”…let me tell you this, right. Dude bought the game, it’s around Christmas time. He NEVER said he was buying it for a kid. Bought the game, went on his way. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Dude comes back to the store 2 days later, “Why’d you let me buy this game for my kid? There’s all types of obscenities, blah blah blah”. I tell him “well, you just came in and bought the game…what did you expect? Not to mention, they have a game rating and details right there on the back of the game to let you know what kind of game it is” Dude gets even MORE upset. Talking about meet him outside. Got THIS close to taking off my work shirt and meeting him out there. But I needed that check, so I let it go.
SOTL: So let me get this straight: the dude thought the video game was to violent for his kid, went to return it and decided trying to fight the dude that sold it to him would be the best way to rectify the situation. And people say video games and hip-hop are the problems.
LYRICISS: Young…Start Of The Line…DMG…Truth Is The New Hate…BONG! Man…I can’t say too much on it right now, but be on the lookout for what’s about to happen. SOTL will always be first to know what’s happening with DeLorean Music Group. Guaranteed.
SOTL: Truth is the new Hate. Expand.
LYRICISS: Well, simply put, in this day and age, you can tell a man the harsh truth because you care about them and their first reaction will be “man, you just hating!” So the new philosophy is “Truth Is The New Hate”. If I have to be a “hater” to speak the truth, so be it, but moms ain’t make me no liar, I know that much.
SOTL: What’s the track that’s closest to your heart that you’ve ever recorded or written and haven’t put out yet?
LYRICISS: Hard to call. There’s a song I wrote where I spoke on a lot of industry people that I knew called “No Secrets”, basically giving my side of the story on the situation with Prolific Ent. and the whole 43ntourage thing, because people got some things misconstrued and think that I went about things in one way when that’s not even the case, but that’s not really too personal. “You & Me” on The Hope mixtape. That was a deep one for me. Three females that each played a pivotal role in my life.
SOTL: There anything else you wanted to say that we didn’t touch on?
LYRICISS: DJs, support the scene! The artists are playing their part, making good music and moving it in the streets and on the internet. Bring it to the airwaves so this city can respect what’s going on like they’re supposed to.
SOTL: Appreciate you takin the time homie.
LYRICISS: No problem, man. Thanks for letting me speak to the people. Peace & Hip-Hop. G’yone