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LGU is proud to present our recent interview with Tybox. The Mendocino county MC is influenced by the likes of hip-hop staples Aesop Rock and MF Doom, as well as modern intellectuals including Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dr. Cornel West. His vast interests and intellect are embedded in the artist’s bold lyricism and knack for selecting original, complimentary production. After receiving the chance to speak with Tybox, we discussed the artist’s achievements, his upcoming project, and much more.

LGU
I’m not sure if you remember, but I first met you a while back at a show for Chuuwee video shoot/show.

Tybox

Hmm, I’m not sure I remember that specifically. Was it in Sacramento?

LGU
No it was in Chico. The cops came and busted it. I’m pretty sure Abstract was in handcuffs at one point.

Tybox
Oh, okay. Yeah. *Laughs* That was at my house. That was a crazy day.

LGU
Yeah, a few minutes after the cops came they booted us out. But, I’ve also seen you perform at another show with Chuuwee at LaSalle’s and most recently at the Senator with Iamsu.

Tybox
Word up, I’m glad you got to catch those shows. Yeah I’m a frequent collaborator with Chuuwee I guess. We move in the same circles.

LGU
Yeah they were tight.

Tybox
Did you ever catch any of my shows with the Dynamics?

LGU
No, I haven’t. Who are the Dynamics? I’m green to them.

Tybox
Ah, it’s all good. They were a band that I played with last year, originally a funk/R&B band with a singer. I started sitting in on shows with them and then eventually became their frontman. Some of the members graduated last semester, so the band is no longer together, but I did a lot of shows with them in 2012

LGU
I’m bummed I missed out. If you have any of the music online, I’d love to check it out.

Tybox
I might. I’ll see if I can find some. We did a fair number of recordings but nothing “official.”

LGU
Right on. Your performance at the Senator had some heavy Egyptian influences, if I’m correct?

Tybox
Yeah indeed. It all kinda just came together that way in the days coming up to the show. I come from a theatre background and I always like to add different things to the live show to keep things cohesive.

LGU
It gave each track more meaning and made a story out of your performance. It was really dope.

Tybox
This past show was influenced by some coincidences. I was looking for something to add to the show and I was cleaning my room one day, and this statue fell off of my dresser and hit me on the head. It was a statue of the Eqyptian god Anubis that my best friend had brought back from Egypt as a gift for me. I started looking into the significance of Anubis and found the Egyptian Book of Gates, which is the story of what happens when Ra descends into the night. I thought that was a really cool idea so I folded it into my show.

LGU
That’s a great metaphor for getting good ideas, with this one literally hitting you on the head.

Tybox
*Laughs* Yeah it actually hurt a lot. That thing is heavy. I was really happy with how it all turned out

LGU
Definitely. It got real live too when you dropped your “Brand New Guys” remix with Lynguistix. Do you have any shows planned soon?

Tybox
*Laughs* Yeah I had to drop that joint. I knew that ‘six would bring a ton of energy to the live show which is super important. It’s always fun to get crazy on stage with the homes.

LGU
Ya he was getting down in the crowd, getting everyone rowdy.

Tybox
And, yeah, I have a big show coming up real soon that I’m just trying to finalize details for before I announce it officially. All I can really say is that its going to be the release party for my new album and it will probably be late November or early December.

LGU
Can’t wait to hear more when it’s official.

Tybox
I will definitely keep you posted

LGU
You grew up in Mendocino, correct?

Tybox
Yeah I grew up in Ukiah, CA, which is in Mendocino County. It’s really beautiful there, lots of redwood trees, and a gorgeous valley.

LGU
What brought you to Chico from Ukiah?

Tybox
School did, mostly. I had applied to a bunch of schools and Chico State was really trying to get me to come up here. They offered me some pretty amazing scholarships so I took them up.

LGU
Were they music related scholarships?

Tybox
No, not at all. They were for engineering actually. When I first applied my major was computer engineering. In my first year I knew I didn’t want to do that, but I had to have a technical major to get the scholarship, so I settled on Applied Computer Graphics, which is what my degree is in. Music was always a passion of mine but I didn’t get really serious about it until a few years into my college career.

LGU
Are you through with school?

Tybox
*Laughs* It’s complicated. I graduated and walked in 2010. It actually turned out though that I needed a few more units to make it official so I am taking those courses now. It will be really official at the end of this semester.

LGU
Did you finish your album Idol Hands around the same time you graduated?

Tybox
Yeah, it was around that same time. That music was all done long beforehand and it was originally going to be a kinda throwaway mixture. I had done so many collaborations in the year or so before that joint came out, I just wanted to put it all together and drop something. But even now I have no idea what to call my projects really. “Mixtapes,” “albums,” “EPs,” whatever title folks want to attach. It seems like the lines are really blurring at this point.

LGU
I agree. For some reason I associate mixtapes with being free and albums costing money. Even though it’s not necessarily true at all. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?

Tybox
Yeah I understand that. I think that’s kinda the root of how it started, but it’s definitely getting all twisted. On a lot of mixtapes people rap over other people’s beats. I don’t really like to do that very often, so all my projects that come out have original beats for the most part. I am currently finishing up a project called The Sunset Limited which has been in the works for so long now it’s crazy. A collaborative joint with a producer named Trax. It’s in the final touches now.

LGU
And then your release party later this year?

Tybox
Yes, indeed.

LGU
An album, a release party, and “officially” graduating. Pretty solid winter.

Tybox
Yeah, I’m trying to finish this one out strong. Also working on the next project which I hope will come out much quicker and will probably be a digital only type situation. But The Sunset Limited only has one feature on it, so I have been getting back in to collaborative mode and making some songs with all the talented artists out here. I was just featured on Big Slim’s mixtape,s F Words & N Bombs. We got a joint on there called “Helmets.” I got a joint in the works with these cats from Belgium called Losco, a super talented group of producers. You should peep their Soundcloud.
LGU
I definitely will. All this sounds great. Look forward to checking this all out. What influences did you draw from for Sunset?

Tybox
The initial idea came from the play of the same title, written by Cormac McCarthy, who wrote the book “No Country for Old Men.” I read the play and was so inspired I decided to name my project after it because I always like to touch on similar themes; faith, human nature, suicide, love, tragedy.

LGU
His book “The Road” is really great too.

Tybox
I haven’t read that one, but I think I did hear about it. He’s a great writer.

LGU
Definitely. Have you planned a release date for Sunset? Or will it coincide strictly with the party.

Tybox
I had planned one but it kept getting pushed back, so it will probably coincide with the party and all get finalized at once. It’s been a long road.

LGU
For sure.

Tybox
*Laughs* But very worth it. I can’t wait to get it out there. I was so lucky to link up with an extraordinary artist named Chuma Hill from Spain. I sought him out on the internet and he agreed to do the artwork for the album and it came out spectacular. Absolutely inspirational artist.

LGU
Who is he?

Tybox
He’s an artist that I found online through a group of graphic design blogs that I’m into. as soon as I saw his work i was blown away so i sent him an email and asked if he would be interested in working together. He found my music online and we got to work. Here is his site. http://www.highteenred.com/
LGU
All of this news sounds really exciting. What really inspires your work the most?

Tybox
I’m inspired by lots of things, current events, american society, artists of all genres. I’m inspired by anything that makes people think critically about their surroundings.

LGU
Who inspires you the most?

Tybox
I have always been really inspired by the abstract. I have always loved the lyrical plasticity of artists like Aesop Rock and DOOM, the many syllables of Rakim, and Elzhi, the conviction of Black Thought and Immortal Technique. I’m also really inspired by the great thinkers and scientists of our day like Michio Kaku and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dr. Cornel West always has great things to say. I think Banksy is doing a great job at being globally relevant and always politically keen, and of course DILLA is the greatest producer.

LGU
Those are all extremely talented individuals.

Tybox
Yeah the list is endless. *Laughs* Everybody.

LGU
If you had to make a mixtape of other people’s music right now, could you name a few tracks off of it?

Tybox
Hm thats hard. *Laughs* My last youtube favorites are probably a good indication.
1. Slick Rick – “Street Talkin'” ft Outkast
2. Aesop Rock – “Battery”
3. Sean Price – “BBQ Sauce”
4. Bootsy Collins – “I’d Rather Be With You”
5. Michael Jackson – “They Don’t Care About Us”
*Laughs* I don’t know if that would be a very cohesive mixtape, but those are all good songs.

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