Local Lookout : The Lytics

The Lytics are a local hip hop treat; their music is energetic, lively and optimistic. Their catchy songs range from the electro-inspired dance beats of “Smoke! Pretty Young Things,” to the more mellow “Big City Sound Girl” or to combinations of the two in “Stay Humble.” What is their secret recipe for success? According to MC B-Flat, “You just blend a bunch of things together and hope it tastes good!”

Keeping it in the family, the Lytics lineup includes MCs B-Flat, A-Nice, Ashy and cousin Munga, with DJ Action Rick accompanying their lyrical stylings. The group officially formed in 2003 although that doesn’t account for the years they lived together making their own music and creating informally. “I’ve always been into making beats, making instrumentals and writing songs,” MC B-Flat explained, “We started working together and it’s been pretty cool.”

The Lytics’ self-titled debut finally dropped in September, and along with rapping and producing they also record their own music. “The recording process goes smooth; we usually do most of our stuff in house. We actually set up a little studio in the basement where me and Munga live and we have another one that our parents let us set up in their basement,” MC B-Flat explains.

The album showcases a variety of different musical styles and lyrical flows. Some songs have catchy hooks and, in others, the MCs sing a chorus or two. And, in contrast to the mindless posturing found in Top-40 hip hop, The Lytics’ lyrics are often overtly sincere. MC B-Flat believes that their style is “definitely influenced by stuff that’s going on now in different genres. The jump-off would be early to mid-’90s hip hop, but it is experimental from there.”

In order to promote the album and continue to please audiences, the Lytics plan on touring extensively this year. Indeed, the next month will find the boys touring Canada and performing at industry festivals. “We hope to be pretty busy, playing a few gigs in the States, if at all possible, and we are definitely going to play some shows in Europe later in the year,” MC B-Flat says.
Before they leave town they have at least one more show, however, at The Pyramid Cabaret on Feb. 4. The Lytics are well known for their animated performances, which inevitably warm up cold winter nights. According to MC B-Flat, anyone attending their shows “can expect a lot of high energy and a good time. I mean so far, so good, right?”

If their ambitious touring schedule wasn’t enough to keep the Lytics busy, they also have their first music video coming out shortly. The Lytics don’t use gangster rap personae to mask their belief in family or community and this approach helped when it came time to shoot the low-budget video. Using guerilla-style techniques, the Lytics got access to the Lo Pub for a limited time, then used facebook to contact local fans and invite them to come down and take part in the video. MC described how they had the venue for six hours, yet the shoot lasted 10. Streams of people poured in to “start celebrating their Saturday night,” as they scrambled to finish their exhausting day.

“It’s probably going to be another month before its ready to go, but it looks good,” MC B-Flat explains. “I thought the video process was going to be super glamorous, I thought it was going to be really cool [ . . . ] and it would be really exciting, but 10 hours later, you’re sitting there in the same seat that you were before. [ . . . ] There is nothing fun or glamorous about filming a video, unless you’re the director. For everybody else, it’s pretty boring.”

MC B-Flat said the best part of the day was seeing all of the people — many of whom he didn’t know — come out to support them and volunteer for the duration of the shoot.

The Lytics are hoping to start work on a second video shortly and B-Flat hinted that they are also planning something special for us at the University of Manitoba campus as well.
“I want to let people know that there is new stuff coming out relatively soon and we are looking forward to maybe getting to do something at the U of M. You know, a little bit bigger to show everybody what’s going on there. That will be cool.”

The Lytics play The Pyramid Cabaret on Feb. 4 with The Freshest from Vancouver.