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May 05, 2010

Cynik Lethal


Representing "The City of Steel" Pittsburgh PA , this deadly philosopher wields many talents. A producer, artist, host & Dj,  Cynik Lethal has been on the come up all of his life. Surviving the streets of Pittsburgh's gangs, violence, temptations, and vices Cynik Lethal has drawn an impressive resume and garnered several accomplishments. 
Interview by - T.Mill (tmillonline.com)

You are now in the LC Experience...Welcome to "The Come Up."

The Come Up - If you had to sum up Pittsburgh in one word what would it be?

Cynik Lethal - If I had to sum up my wonderful city of Pittsburgh in one word it would be: Underfunded. The scene here as a whole could really use an influx of investors.

The Come Up - Your mother raised you on some of the greatest music of all time, even in the womb she played you Hendrix and Mozart.Who are your influences today that you grew up on as a child.

Cynik Lethal -  Some influences that directly affect my music today as an artist would be old KRS-One, Naughty By Nature, Tupac, and older Bone Thugs N Harmony. I also draw my influences from metal bands such as Slipknot, Pantera, Metallica, and Korn. As a producer, I am heavily influenced by the music behind Ludacris and Busta Rhymes, and I hope to one day produce for those two artists in particular...... Timbaland, Pharrell, and Just Blaze as well as old-school Kid Capri, Dj Premiere, Rick Ruben, and Pete Rock with CL Smooth were producers I paid heavy attention to when learning my craft.

For video footage, click HERE


The Come Up - After winning so many beat battles, what can you say is the key to winning.
(Click HERE to check out the Beat Battles.)

Cynik Lethal - The key to winning battles is not to challenge your opponent, but rather to challenge yourself. Your challenger can be the greatest producer of all time, but his aim at the end of the day is to be better than you. If you've worked hard to be better than yourself already, it really comes down to whether your opponent has challenged himself to the same degree. The best advice I could give to anyone interested in battling is to just try to better yourself, and focus less on the win and more on achieving a greater level of experience and skill. Once you've reached a certain level, the wins will take care of themselves. 

The Come Up - Over the years there's been sort of an epidemic or influx of producers and beat makers, how do you stay relevant and original. In other words, what makes you stand out.

Cynik Lethal - What makes me stand out from other people who call themselves producers or beatmakers is that I do not try to imitate what is considered to be "Hot". Real producers aren't told what is hot, we tell you. My aim is to be innovative rather than imitative, although with the amount of music that is in existence today, it is often becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

The Come Up - Why should an artist work with you?

Cynik Lethal - An Artist should only work with me if they are interested in cutting through the swath of obscurity that plagues the industry. If you want something that sounds good, but doesn't sound like everything else that was ever made and/or on the radio at the moment of it's conception, then I recommend doing business with Cynik Lethal. If you are more interested in making good music than what is going to sell to zombies, ((even though it's my personal belief that good music sells itself anyway)), come fuck with me.

The Come Up - The black history project, Tell us about that.
(Click HERE to preview "The black history project.")

Cynik Lethal - Hahahaha, The Black History Project...... I was younger, 19, and I had just been studying and selling production out of two studios that both went under due to bad management on both occasions (it's not an easy thing to do, owning a studio), but I had the opportunity to purchase a Triton Le and some cakewalk software from one of those studios. I was at a point in my life where I was fresh out of high school, at risk every minute of every day in an environment filled with hustlers and corrupt murderous cops, and I came to the point where I realized that it was as though the odds were stacked against myself and my squad from the jump, with our futures seemingly death or jail or mediocrity with no real escape. I had been hunting for some legendary producers I had heard about while coming up, and was fortunate enough to get hooked up with one of them by the name of Caz Lamar, who had worked with The Mel-Man, Dr. Dre, and Gerald Levert. I played him some of my amateur music and he recognized some potential in me. I was fortunate enough that he took the time to teach me real production and fine tune my musical theory. Throughout our studies, he introduced me to a document known as "Let's Make A Slave" featuring a figure named Willie Lynch. That document in it's entirety can be viewed here >> http://www.angelfire.com/ne/savedbygrace/lynch.html.
I suddenly had a new perspective on the issues I and my people deal with every day of our lives, and coincidentally I could not find a rapper who could rhyme properly over the music that Caz and I had developed, due to the mindstates of the artists I had at my disposal at the time. I decided to open my mouth, and I didn't care how dangerous what I said on the beats was because I wasn't really intending to put it out like a rapper, more so just to showcase the production. I decided to focus on the modern effects of psychological and physical slavery rather than focus merely on the past. It became about living in modern society while fully aware of it's history. Thus The Black History Project was born, an alternative to every perspective that was currently on the market at the time. We eventually ended up winning Cd of the Year at the Pittsburgh HipHop Awards for that disc, and I gained a ton of experience and resources from the whole project, and it generated a genre of politically and socially conscious rap in my city that came to and is still coming to the forefront of our scene, and I believe it will eventually leak onto the national scene like acid, corroding and eliminating the sucker shit that we are so often exposed to throughout our travels.

The Come Up - For the producers trying to come up, whats your advice on how they can make money in such a high demand high turnover business.

Cynik Lethal - Well, the best way to make money in a flooded industry is to compete. Who's the best warrior in a land where everyone has swords and wants to be a knight? The one who takes heads.

The Come Up - What was your favorite performance out of all the great artists you've opened for and performed with.

Cynik Lethal - My favorite performance out of all the artists that I've opened for had to be Bone Thugs N Harmony, the first time I opened for them, which was in 2006. There were about a little over 1000 people packed into this theatre, the whole place was blazin' up, I had just gotten off stage and came out to the rowdy-ass crowd, and I remember buying everyone at the bar a shot for coming out to support local hiphop, real rap, and what I considered to be some of the greatest rap music of all time.  I remember the whole crowd was chilled out cuz they did "Keep on Smokin'/Weed Man" while sparkin' onstage, then they just exploded into "East 1999", which is one of my favorite jams from them. Only Lazy, Krazy, and Wish were doin shows at that time, but everyone loves those dudes so it was all cool, and the place went crazy. We got to roll backstage and and meet them afterward, and they turned out to be some of the coolest muthafuckaz I ever met at a show. So that, I'd have to say, was one of my favorites.

Click HERE to check out that performance.

The Come Up - What artists would you like to work with & what does it take to work with you?

Cynik Lethal -  I like to work with artists who actually study and know music. Primarily, I work with rappers, singers, and bands. I also like to and would like to do more work for other industries as well, such as theme music for TV, video games, and movies. What does it take to work with me? Good work ethic, passion for the project, and a budget is nice start...... I also prefer to work with artists who are more interested in creating, obtaining, or experimenting with a new sound, rather than trying to just grab a radio hit. But to move through the industry and make continuous money, you need to be flexible, so the bottom line always is the bottom line, if you know what I mean. I also prefer to work with artists that aren't talking that bullshit. If you are glorifying, idolizing, uncreative or unskilled, chances are I'm not interested in doing business, and chances also are that you are probably someone that could use some learning. Just because an artist has money doesn't necessarily mean I will want to contribute to the poisoning of the minds of the people. I like artists that have strong promotional teams. I might do work with someone just because I like their music and the project would be mutually beneficial for both parties. There's a lot of variables when dealing with people in this industry, I've found.

The Come Up - What's on the come up for you this year and how can we support it.

Cynik Lethal - This summer is all about production for me, so it isn't as flashy as when I drop a project. I'm focused on winning more beat battles, because it creates hot production for my arsenal and to sell. I'll probably drop a single or two myself before October, which you will be able to keep track of via twitter.com/cyniklethal and youtube.com/cyniklethal. I'm working with a well-known producer from my city on my new project, so be on the lookout for my name, because we're going to go hard with the internet campaign this time around and do shows in more cities, whereas the Black History Project was sold more in Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh. I'm working on a bunch of projects for other artists as well, all of which are new to you, because the world is not yet familiar with the PGHHipHop scene, but by this time next year, you will be, thanks to major names comin' out of my city drawing attention to our scene like Formula 412, Jasiri X, Boaz, Wiz Khalifa, CommonWealth Family, Kellee Maize, Real Deal of Grind Time fame, and myself. The lead singer of Crave is even from our city. The Mel-Man is from our city. Aftermath was started in our city. Our producers are ill. You're going to love us. Support the rise of Beat Battles in your city and the awareness of these events, because it's these events that are letting the hot shit rise to the top. Three good ones to check out via youtube are Red Bull Big Tune, Weapons of Mass Production, and the Producer Swap Meet in Atlanta. Keep your eyes open for my new project, which is going to be called Cynik Lethal: American Power. I can't wait to re-introduce you to the real shit you used to love.

Thanks to Cynik for entering the LC Experience.