Back in 1995, Bay Area rap was at the big-ballin' peak of the mobb music craze, LA was chronically gripped in a G-funk indo smoke haze, Atlanta was enjoying its Southernplayalistic days, and NYC was entering a shiny-suit phase. There was no frame of reference for two lyrical emcees experimenting with the tonality and resonance of rhyme patterns.
This was uncharted territory.
The pairing of Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker into Latyrx was "an accident," LB recalls. Both emcees were solo artists, but when LB heard the pre-Endtroducing DJ Shadow beat which would become Latyrx' eponymous debut single, his reaction was, "Oh my God, I gotta get on this."
"Latyrx" was a syllabic tour de force which began with two dissonant voices -- one gruff and bassy, the other higher-pitched and trebly, both hella fluid -- it transmogrified into a harmonic convergence of doubled verses simultaneously assaulting eardrums. Undeniably, it was great... but weird. "It was ill," Lateef recalls. "We really felt like we had something unlike anyone else had done," he adds.