The Lyricists
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The Lyricists

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"Okayplayer"

Transmittin Live! is the latest release from the Lyricists, a two MC-one DJ crew based in Port Huron, Michigan. Produced entirely by Baltimore’s DJ Excel, the album features guest spots from underground contemporaries such as Ilyas of Tanya Morgan and Braille and boasts a strong, if somewhat typical, sample-based sound that will be familiar and pleasing for fans of that ilk. Nothing about the release is particularly weak; songs like the energetic title track definitely move and show that this is a solid hip-hop group at its core. The main criticism might be that it isn’t always individualistic or distinct enough, sounding essentially like what you’d expect an underground hip-hop group with a guest spot from Braille to sound like. To be clear, that’s not really such a bad thing, only meaning that it’s not game-changing.

Jazz and soul records are at the heart of most of the tracks, with occasional turntable work and the very competent flows from Illtone and Rym-Benda providing the real point of focus. Surprisingly, between the jazzy vibes of excellent songs like “The Juggle” (featuring Canadian vocalist Khalel on the hook) and the interplay between MCs on “Transmittin Live!,” something in the formula seems more fitted for the West Coast underground. It is possible that this impression stems from Michigan’s sound usually being defined by the wintry atmospheres of Detroit, to the extent that anything with brighter tones can seem surprising.

Aside from tracks already mentioned, highlights include “Rules of Attraction,” a song about approaching women that is pretty much on point with its content, and “P.H., MI,” which is, of course, about the hometown and background. There are a couple of tracks that almost seem like novelties, except that they are compelling enough in their own right to warrant serious attention: “Bubbleguts,” while not for everyone, is one of the more thoughtful musical discussions on gastrointestinal function ever recorded, down to the “loose balloon sounds” and toilet flushes being scratched. Another track seems like it was intended to parody certain signatures of crunk, except that it’s done well enough to not wear thin as a mere parody.

The only track that seems padded out is the outro, “Big Ups!,” a nearly five-minute shout-out over a very skeletal beat that will only be of continuing interest if you know the people involved. It’s easy to understand why it’s there, it just goes on far longer than will be tolerable to the casual listener. Aside from that, Transmittin Live! is a solid listen - maybe a little average-sounding on the surface - but has got enough depth to satisfy and to suggest that interesting things will come from The Lyricists in the future.

- Justin Deremo - Justin Deremo


"RapReviews"

You don't hear much about Port Huron, Michigan, but hip hop group The Lyricists manage to put the city on the map with their newest EP, "Tranmsittin' Live! The Radio EP." Coming together in 1995, emcees Ill Tone and Ryme-Benda collaborated along with DJ Haus Diesel, thus forming the group. They boast their "rhymes to beats, beats to rhymes" chemistry as their production from Canadian producers Pro-Logic and Know-it-All completes The Lyricists. Since their debut album, "Outta Nowhere" and followed by a 2003 release of "Anti-Industry," The Lyricists are back with their latest EP, "Transmittin' Live!" with new production from DJ Excel of Bmore Original Records.

Within the first few minutes of listening to "Transmittin' Live!," it was apparent that The Lyricists are seasoned emcees who know how to keep their music real while keeping it entertaining. As their abilities to clearly express their views on what they seemed to know best, life and family values, permeates throughout the album, the jazzy, classic beat in "Juggling" is a perfect example of this. The Lyricists take it to a more personal level as they discuss the difficulties of juggling work and family, especially in the music industry as they say,

"Mixed with the work of nine to fives
My girl, my kid, the way we live just to get by
And to keep a steady balance is the biggest challenge
A man with the illest talents couldn't even imagine...
Didn't mean to put you in between a rock and a hard place
Can't explain I'm drawn to the knock and the hard bass
I know I'm trippin' like my shoes aren't laced
But what I'm asking is for patience because I'm average and multitasking"

"Reaction" takes Newton's Third Law of "for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction" to an entirely different level. After a long intro sampled from a movie, The Lyricists lay down the track to show the reasons why people react the way they do as they say, "Actions and reactions/don't be quick to judge/You may not know the hardships/people don't speak up." In yet another track about life's lessons, The Lyricists instill their knowledge about maturing in "Growing Up" featuring Braille and J. Pope as their message through their lyrics is nothing short of profound as they say,

"Growing up, living ignorant
With limited understanding
Imitating false images? Picture perfect
But when you look a little closer, man
You see the flaws all over
Follow the footsteps of fallen soldiers
It's like trying to leave a dehydrated horse in springs of water
You can't make 'em drink
But I'm gonna make you think
About the process of growth and the desire to obtain things"

Although The Lyricists maintain their seriousness about the issues affecting them directly, they still manage to keep us amused with their lightheartedness and humor as they let loose with their individual characters. "Bubbleguts" is a humorous track that discusses the glory and defeat of using the restroom, particularly going number two. The Lyricists tell their stories about their encounters with suddenly having to use the bathroom with the occasions of needing the restroom when it is occupied and using it at a public place such as a bar. Yes, it was foul, but still funny nonetheless. Also, "Rules of Attraction" is another witty track that breaks down the correct way to approach a female and eventually win her over. Their rules ranging from one to three are as follows:

� Never freeze when you see 'em from a distance.
� Move swift or confidence this instant.
� Don't let the dame get away, regret is worse than rejection any day, all day.

Looks like some good, sound advice.

"Transmittin' Live!" consists of all the core elements of hip hop that are desired by most enthusiasts. The Lyricists' talents are clearly reflected in each individual track as their sense of style, stellar verses, and character are seen throughout. Their flexibility in being able to change up their techniques and persona is something that few emcees can do and with this in mind, The Lyricists definitely have something special going on. The Lyricists are still in line to do production with their original producers, Pro-Logic and Know-it-All, for an upcoming EP for fans on the lookout. "Transmittin' Live!" maintains the perfect formula for a impressive hip hop album and reinforces the fact that classic, real hip hop is still in existence.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10 - Susan 'susiQ' Kim


"Baltimore City Paper"

By Brandon Soderburg | Posted 2/26/2009

Although Bmore Originals released the Lyricists' full-length L3 last year, Transmittin' Live is the Port Huron, Mich., underground act' first musical collaboration with DJ Excel. Excel's blueprint is the boom-bap you expect from a crew called the Lyricists, but one of Baltimore's most ubiquitous beat makers grabs some of club music's energy and avant production for the EP, too.

The titular track bumps like '90s New York, as metallic sci-fi sounds pulse and near-subliminal snippets&#151part Dilla Donuts style, part clipped Baltimore club vocal&#151of a blues singer tumble in the background. And it's all brought back to earth by worker-bee rhymes from Illtone and Rym-Benda, and pragmatic scratches from in-house DJ, Haus Diesel.

More than comfortable spitting hard-ass battle raps, the Lyricists' real success comes in knowing the right time to rein it in and chill-out. On "The Juggle," Illtone matches Excel's woozy strings by ungritting his teeth, and dropping the commanding boom. It makes a song about regret&#151"stress shows in the form of gray stubble"&#151palpable.

"Bubble Guts" employs their storytelling and simile spouting talents toward nothing more than a hilarious song about, well, taking a shit. The Lyricists trade lines back and forth&#151"Yo, my palms are sweaty from grippin' handicap rails/ Droppin' logs the size of white whales"&#151and DJ Haus Diesel punctuates the scat-rap with turntablism mimicking the sound of a diarrhea burst.

With Excel subtly stretching the boom-bap rap form to its limits, the Lyricists actively eschew the grotesque cliches of stubborn traditionalist hip-hop. In the past, the group has done some "rap sucks now" kvetching but, here, they trade it in for self-effacing humor and weary tales of maturation (hometown lament "P.H, MI." and "Grown Up"). - Brandon Soderburg


Discography

"Outta Nowhere"-2000
"Anti-Industry"-2003
"L3"-2005
"Get Heard or Die Tryin'"-2007
"Transmittin' Live! The Radio EP"-June 2009

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Bio

The chemistry shared between the team during their live performances brings out an extra energy that enhances the groups stage presence allowing the music and lyrics to speak for themselves.

In 2000, The Lyricists released their debut album titled "Outta Nowhere", in reference to their location in Michigan (Port Huron). After working hard to get their name known and promoting themselves, The Lyricists dropped their second release in 2003 titled "Anti-Industry". The title opposing the virtual machine which controls the state of hip-hop on a commercial level was the inspiration and motivation to their direction and sound they created. The groups next release, "L3" ('05), short for level 3, symbolizes their third time around on a professional production together as artists who continue to elevate.

You can hear The Lyricists on and in rotation on various internet radio stations from ..Smoothbeats.com.. out of Philadelphia to ..Vinylexchange.com.. out of San Francisco. Their music and products are available online at ..thelyricists.net.. and ..myspace.com/thelyricists... Downloadable MP3..s are also available through Itunes. Check out The Lyricists mixtape release, "Get Heard or Die Tryin", which came out in July 07' which is a mixture of new & old songs dating back to 2002 & the groups first time working with different producers. Since then, The Lyricists signed with an independent label out of Baltimore Maryland (Bmore Original Records) founded by DJ Excel. The Lyricists are set to release 3 Eps, and the first is Produced by DJ Excel titled "Transmittin' Live! The Radio EP". The other two Eps will be produced by their long time partners Know-it-All & Prologic in the following years. Hip-Hop fans can see The Lyricists perform live where they frequently tour throughout the Mid-West and Canada. Check their websites for upcoming events and news.

The Lyricists have shared the stage with other performers such as:

Rahzel "The Godfather Of Noise", The Executioners, J-Rocc of the World Famous Beat Junkies, Camp Lo, Cappadonna, Killa Priest of the Wu-Tang Clan, MC Juice, Proof of D12, Slum Village, One Be Lo, Reef the Lost Cauze, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Soul Position and A-Trak.