Lyrikill restocks golden era hip-hop, New Orleans style

Photo by Byron Craig

Photo by Byron Craig

In 2011, New Orleans MC and Soundclash co-founder Lyrikill earned a NOLA Hip-Hop Award for his album More Heart, More Sole, an honor preceded by his 2010 nomination for Best Hip-Hop Artist at OffBeat’s Best of the Beat Awards. Though now based in Dallas, the rapper maintains strong ties to the hip-hop community in his hometown, thanks in no small part to his role as co-founder of the legacied SOUNDclash showcase. He continues to record his music with Prospek in New Orleans because that’s where he’s most comfortable. Now, he’s back with Restock, a mix of new material and remastered legacy content and thoughts on a rap renaissance.

“[Los Angeles MC] Murs told me around ’03 that once a major city pops commercially, the eyes open to the city’s indie local talent.  I feel like the major movements here created the landscape where creatives like PJ Morton, Tank & The Bangas, 3D Na’tee, Alfred Banks, etc., can flourish because people know how electric and talented the people of New Orleans are,” he says. “I don’t feel that art is any different as it has been.  It’s just that, now, eyes from everywhere are looking.”

Steadfastly opposed to the notion that New Orleans is not a place to find lyrical hip-hop, he cites artists like Jay Electronica and 3D Na’tee for pushing the bounds. “What I love are the MCs you could actually find in a small spot on a Thursday staying true to the original elements. Guys like Paasky, Dangafield, Ton Toe, or A. Levy–I’ve seen all these guys put in work and progress, representing N.O. all over the world.”

For his latest, he enlists a variety of independently based Louisiana artists to showcase what he calls “classic lyricism and conscious subject matter.”

“New Orleans is the birthplace of American music,” he says.  “Nothing can compare to being able to yell ‘who plays trumpet?’ on a random street and have people respond.  The entire community is that of humbleness and love.  Its a very reciprocal place–if you give to it, it gives back tenfold.”