Latryx perform at Pagoda Lounge in San Jose on Saturday, April 28.
It’s been 15 years since Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truthspeaker recorded together as Latryx. But after performing on each other’s solo releases, they’re back in the studio for a new Latryx album, and they’ve signed on the South Bay’s most successful hip-hop crew the Bangerz to produce some of the tracks. Latryx will also be taking a break from recording to perform at the Pagoda in San Jose on April 28, with the Bangerz’s Paolo “Cutso” Bello opening with his first-ever solo performance.
The collaboration isn’t too surprising when you consider how many connections there were between the East Bay duo and the Bangerz. Some were more abstract, like DJ Mike Wong, aka Mike Relm. He has toured with both Lyrics Born and Lateef, and also directed the video for the Bangerz’s song “Devastating Stereo,” which featured the Jabbawockeez dance crew. It was their collaboration with the Jabbawockeez, of course, that originally got the Bangerz national attention, on the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew.
But the Bangerz also know Lyrics Born and Lateef from the Bay Area scene, and have opened for them. It got to the point, Bello tells me, where “Me and Lyrics Born made a connection after running into each other hundreds of times.”
Bello has been the main liaison for the Bangerz in the studio, recording and working on arrangements with Latryx, and then getting feedback and ideas from Dominic “Goldenchyld” Cueto and the rest of the tight-knit group. Bello says Latryx have been easy to work with and very open-minded (“it was like homies hanging out in the studio”), but everyone knows that a high bar was set by the group’s groundbreaking 1997 debut.
“I try to really get crazy with them, because we have a lot to live up to,” he says.