Lateef: In Process

Lateef first rose to prominence during the late-’90s indie hip-hop boom that stretched both coasts and redefined both the cultural and artistic parameters of the genre. Though the East Coast and West Coast variants shared many things in common – a distrust of the music industry, DIY values and a focus on craftsmanship – the biggest difference was that while the East Coast was focused on persona, their West Coast brethren were more concerned with formal innovation. As part of Latyrx, alongside fellow Bay Area emcee Lyrics Born, Lateef embodied this sense of playful invention. His rhyme schemes were technical and twisting, a thick lattice of metaphor and alliteration, while DJ Shadow supplied a large swath of the group’s sweeping, mercurial production on ‘97’s landmark debut, The Album. Since that time, Lateef has become a bit of a journeyman – cutting tracks for Fatboy Slim and French electro duo General Elektriks, while teaming up with noted West Coast DJs D-Sharp and Z-Trip for a series of mixtapes.

"Truth At Sea (Mixed by DJ D Sharp, Produced by Somehow At Sea)" Lateef the Truthspeaker

Truth at Sea doesn’t so much mark a radical departure as it updates the emcee’s formula for 2011. The mixtape oscillates between edgy dance tunes, ‘80s electro-funk throwbacks and Lateef’s chunky, experimental hip-hop. Lateef is clearly the star with his mixture of socio-conscious raps and slinky, at-times mocking vocal work, but Lyrics Born also lends his considerable talents. It’s a continuous blend that builds momentum and bends in unexpected directions over its 40-minute running time.

In addition to offering the full mixtape, we also sent a film crew to Oakland to capture the making of Truth At Sea. It’s the first edition of our new In Process series, where we go behind-the-scenes and examine the creative process that informs some of your favorite works of art. It’s a revealing look at one of the Bay Area’s most cherished and versatile emcees. – Sam Chennault

"Truth At Sea (Mixed by DJ D Sharp, Produced by Somehow At Sea)" Lateef the Truthspeaker


Anonymous said...

Excited from Kauai!!

ExtraMedium said...

Great to hear new material from Lateef

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