Myka Nyne
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Myka Nyne

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"Urb 1969 Review"

The forgotten pioneer of alternative L.A. hip hop is back with another heavily concept-driven effort. The album is dedicated to the year of Myka’s birth, and it chronicles some of the many period influences that formed his eclectic style as an MC. As always, Myka steers toward jazz, funk, and soul oriented production, although in this case he leans more heavily toward the latter two for obvious reasons. He even throws a bit of disco flavor into the retro sound stew with “To the Sky,” where one of the more impressive examples of his intricate, carefully-crafted lyricism can be found. On “Options” he teams up with former groupmate Aceyalone to deliver tag-team rhymes over James Brownish horn hits. The laid-back ambling drums of “Monte Carlo” are reminiscent of Issac Hayes’ Shaft theme, while the melancholy electric guitar riff on the title track conjures up images of the psychedelic rock movement – that’s if Myka’s listing of rockers, cultural figures, and events from the era don’t already do it for you. Myka also bares some of his personal memories on tracks like “Cadillac Nights,” on which he free associates various moments of nostalgia involving Cadillacs, including an awkward fumbling in the backseat of an El Dorado with his first girlfriend. Another interesting thing about the track is that Myka delivers his lyrics as a spoken word poem, similar in style to artists from the time such as the Last Poets or Gil Scott Heron. Myka seems to have a bottomless well full of ideas and concepts. He’s successfully brought another of them one to life with this one. - Urb

"IGN: 1969 Review"

Myka 9, best known for his stint in the ground-breaking Los Angeles crew Freestyle Fellowship, has been chipping away on the DL for a number of years now, both as a solo artist and part of various spur-of-the-moment crews (Haiku D'Etat, for example). With his latest effort, however, he may just have dropped his magnum opus (at least to date). Taking elements of what he has experimented with in the past—classic R&B, spoken word theatrics, jazz riffing, street corner dysphemisms—Myka has tossed it all together under the auspicious beat making of Factor and emerged with a near-brilliant offering that fully encapsulates what rap music is all about.

1969 is packed with 15 tracks that alternately pay homage to the griots and the jazz greats while putting a modern day street spin on the blueprint; this ain't no half-stepping, gangsta slanging, ringtone bullshucky, instead this is 100% pure uncut dope. Throughout the duration of this album Myka and company reveal an expansive and rich understanding that showcases the outer limits of the genre and further proves that rap is much, much, much more than thug verite, iced out materialism, and throwaway pop hits.

Those who have been weaned on the ADD single oriented rap that rules the pop charts and awards show circuit these days may find this album difficult to swallow. But true heads will quickly realize that it's well worth taking the time to let the music thoroughly wrap itself around your ears. Myka kicks out so many different vocal stylings throughout the course of the proceedings that he's like 10 emcees rolled up into one and repeated listens will continue to reveal new styles and wonderful linguistic tricks ranging from pursed lip utterances, rolling tongue dexterity, silky crooning, and so on.

Myka kicks things off with a smoothed out, yet rugged offering in the form of "Real Song", which quickly morphs into the more down-tempo, butter soaked warmth of "Inner Knowing." But it's the raw jazz and Negro spiritual stylings (thanks to rolling stand-up basslines, trumpet, and haunting background vocals) on "Soul Beat" that really reaches out and grabs you by the ears.

Adopting a thoroughly infectious sing-song delivery on "Snake Bite", Myka spins his lyrics in a melodious nature that weaves, bobs, and swerves like a silk scarf being tossed around in a light breeze. Meanwhile, pulsing strings accentuate his steady cadence on "To The Sky", which takes the old Silver Connection disco hit "Fly Robin Fly" refrain and reworks it into a more rugged, front stoop styled steeze. Things go full-tilt when fellow Freestyle and Haiku crony Aceyalone pops up on the snappy "Options", which takes jazzy organ and emphatic vocal punches and uplift's the duo's tag-team into a wonderful collaboration. Speaking of guests, Myka keeps it light having, in addition to his pal Acey, only Busdriver (on the bugged out and stripped down "Chopper") and Awol One & Gel Roc (on the rolling "91 Octane").

Two of the left-of-center standouts on the album are "Cadillac Nights", which veers strongly into spoken word territory as Myka extols the virtues of the king of pimp mobiles. The track is heart felt and warm as he details his love affair with the luxury vehicle reminiscing about first dates to hotbox sessions. Then there's "Liberty", which on first glance is a smoldering trumpet laced instrumental. But the longer you listen you realize that Myka is scatting his brains out, letting his words bleed and bend over the elastic rhythm, sounding like an organic (and quite mutated) musical instrument. It's the most hypnotic track on the album and showcases his intense verbal fluidity. Elsewhere Myka drops a history lesson in regards to age-old forms of rhythm on "Hand Bone" and then twists up the famous ATCQ "El Segundo" refrain on "Monte Carlo" into "I left my passport in Monte Carlo."

In a day and age where Auto Tune, quick fix beats, and superficial rhymeschemes seem to rule the scene 1969 emerges as that rarest of rap offerings, one that focuses on the craft and rich history of the artform, reminding you that while this is ultimately music of the streets, it has strong ties to gospel, soul, jazz, blues, and most importantly the spoken word. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, Myka 9 has dropped one of the best, most expansive, and deeply rooted rap albums to hit the scene in quite some time. This is the real deal teeming with pure griot ingenuity. - IGN

"Okayplayer 1969 review"

Ask Myka 9 of Freestyle Fellowship why he rhymes so melodically fast and he will probably tell you that he is simply translating the rhythms of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker into the flutterings of complex, internal rhymes. His fifth solo album, 1969, pays tribute not only to the Santa Monica based rapper’s birth year, but also to that very blend of singing and canorous rapping that has stabilized him as a West Coast legend of underground Hip-Hop.

Forgot to mention that Myka 9 is an acquired taste, meaning for every hooded backpacker who appreciates the ethic dedicated to crafting such intricate rhyme schemes, there is a Hip Hop dilettante who sees a Myka 9 sixteen as an off-pitch cluster of unintelligible phrases. So a song like “Inner Knowing” may be heralded for its interlocking rhythms by one group, but dismissed by the other for its esoteric content. Myka 9’s delivery is a hit or miss formula that allows him to shine on tracks like the steamy “Good Old Smokey (My Kanine),” but falter on cuts like the ominous “Elevated.”

Myka reconnects with his long-time Freestyle Fellowship comrade, Aceyalone, on “Options,” a classic drum heavy bar-share. In “Snake Bite,” Myka’s flow is undeniably lyrical as he starts the first verse, “Minute by minute it’s a in the tide venom and the emergency clinic then shows/ ‘Cause they’re identified as the type that’ll strike by the left through your clothes,” with internal rhymes popping up anew each listen. For the most part, the songs on 1969 reflect years of a tested veteran’s honed craft.

The goodness of 1969 lies in how long it takes listeners to accept Myka 9’s off-kilter rhyme style. It’s very original yet admittedly unorthodox, so the level of Myka 9’s success really depends on the background of the consumer. If it’s any consolation, just the leap out of the ordinary itself is a minor victory.

- Sidik Fofana -


Freestyle Fellowship

* To Whom It May Concern… (1991)
* Innercity Griots (1993)
* Temptations (2001)
* Version 2.0: To Whom It May Concern, Remixes (2001)
* Innercity Griots Instrumentals (2002)
* Shockadoom (2001)
* Temptations (2002)
Haiku D'Etat

* Haiku D'Etat (1999)
* Coup de Theatre (2004)

* It's All Love (American Nightmare) (1999) (as Mikah Nine)
* Timetable (2001) (as Mikah 9)
* A Work in Progress (2003) (as Myka Nyne)
* Citrus Sessions, Vol. 1 (2006) (as Myka Nyne)
* 1969 (2009)

[edit] Magic Heart Genies

* Heartifact (2008)



Legendary Freestyle Fellowship cofounder Myka 9 and Fake Four Records are readying a hip-hop release infused with soul, funk, and even disco for 2009 called 1969. Not since 1993's "Park Bench People", a classic joint detailing Myka's own struggle with homelessness, has this LA emcee created such a personal and poignant songs. 1969, the year of Myka's birth, is a nostalgic trip filled with references to the culture and sounds of Motown, hippies, psychedelics, choppers and Cadillacs-- images that surrounded him throughout his early childhood. Guest appearances on 1969 include his Project Blowed comrades Aceyalone, Busdriver, and Awol One.

Myka's passionate lyrics and intense flow are a perfect match with prolific Canadian track master Factor, who has worked with the likes of Sadat x, Moka Only, Awol One, Shape shifters, and Living legends.

Myka 9 holds a distinctive place in hip-hop history. As a teenager, he got his start ghost writing lyrics for larger acts such as NWA and The Posse and collaborating with major label acts such as The Wailers and Carmen Carter. In 1991, his melodic rap style and improvisational lyrical talents were demonstrated on Freestyle Fellowship's debut album "To Whom It May Concern".

As one of the founders of Freestyle Fellowship, Myka shared rapping duties with Aceyalone, Self Jupiter and PEACE. By 1993 the "Fellowship" was signed to 4th and B'way (the hip hop subsidiary of Island Records) and released their landmark album "Innercity Griots." Although the Fellowship quietly disbanded after 2002's "Temptations" all the members continue to work on a variety of solo and group projects with and without each other.