It’s Cypher season. Hip-hop artist and philanthropist HighTyde is always busy, especially this time of year. His heavily valued time is split touring, directing and editing music videos, designing promotional content, and producing for a number of artists. He’s also hard at work planning his annual charity concert Project Cypher. The event benefits special needs children and their families.
Heading into its fourth year, Project Cypher 4 takes place May 20 at Shakespeare’s in Kalamazoo, MI. While HighTyde’s plate remains heaped year around, just below the home-cooked gravy of #PC4 sits his recently released new LP ‘The NewTyded States of America: The Sequel’ hosted by Prezidential Poe.
LiquidAE.com got HighTyde to sit his plate down for a moment to discuss his album and more in part 1 of our 2-part interview. Enjoy!
LiquiAE.com: HighTyde, what to you is hip-hop’s national anthem? And why should we all be standing up for it when it’s played?
HighTyde: To me hip-hop’s national anthem will always be “Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty By Nature. To me that has always been the definitive anthem. It not only respects hip-hop, but it’s a celebration of the culture. It’s catchy, it’s pop, it’s real life, it’s edgy, it’s club, it’s what hip-hop means to me.
LiquidAE.com: What type of anthem have you created with ‘The NewTyded States of America: The Sequel’?
HighTyde: With NTSoA2, I’ve just been blessed to expand on the continuing legacy of the first ‘The NewTyded States of Americal’. When you listen to both albums back to back, you’re watching the country go from great, to maybe not so great, but you’re experiencing emotions the way I’m experiencing them. I like to refer to it as “Hip-hop’s first Road Trip”. I touch on things from religion, to high school bullying, friendship and Love, to hatred and ignorance. I was incredibly blessed to have so many artists join me on this project. Artists like underground sensations Token and The Jokerr, as well as local artists like Ckyttlez and Nemoniq.
LiquidAE.com: How should we be behaving when we hear it?
HighTyde: I definitely feel there will be at least one song for everyone on this album. I plan to start working on finishing up the trilogy with ‘The NewTyded States of America 3’.
LiquidAE.com: Our country’s been…troubled recently. Lots of people saying they want to move elsewhere. What advantages come with being a citizen of the NewTyded State of America?
HighTyde: In essence, it’s allowing everyone to be free, to express an opinion, to have fun and enjoy life even through the tragic times that America has been facing. It’s me saying to everyone it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to be a unique individual, and no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, the NTSoA accepts and welcomes you.
LiquidAE.com: We felt right at home listening to the new album. The first thing I noticed is your flow’s been modified since its predecessor. Can you explain the technique changes you’ve made to your rhyme style?
HighTyde: I think with any artist – whether it be a painter, a musician, or whatever, with time, with experience, we all make modifications and improve. That’s just part of the learning process of becoming better at our craft. As far as my particular flow, I don’t know if I necessarily changed or modified it. I just toned it up, and spoke from the heart. I left the music itself justify the path I was going to take this time around.
LiquidAE.com: Okay. With that being said, though, how are you saying things differently?
HighTyde: I think it all comes down to being more of an open book, being brutally honest with myself and just laying it all out on the table. It’s less about partying and trying to feel good, and more about speaking on what’s going on in the world around us.
LiquidAE.com: Your music catalog has gotten deep. Why should people keep listening to your music?
HighTyde: Because it’s fun, plain and simple. Regardless of the tone I’m just an upbeat person. I could be talking about some of the most vile stuff happening in the world today, but just the way I talk about it may give you a whole different perspective on it. Plus I tend to be this black sheep of the hip-hop world where I tend to vibe on topics that aren’t “the norm”. I just try to express my thoughts through music in a way that the everyday person can relate to.
LiquidAE.com: The album of yours I really related to was ‘Two Dates and a Dash’. Given what that title meant which is the info that appears on your gravestone, I feel like because of that it was slept on. Do you feel at times you can be creatively intimidating, and maybe confusing?
HighTyde: Absolutely, but that can be such a blessing. In a world where anyone can be a hip-hop artist today, it’s okay to be different and maybe even a little “confusing”. When I went to school, if you were different, you were labeled as weird or strange. Now I’m seeing it as being unique and being a pioneer. And hey, sometimes you have to be a little bit out of the box just to separate yourself from the pack.
LiquidAE.com: HighTyde, are you willing to simplify your points for greater understanding via the casual listener?
HighTyde: This is a discussion that any artist should have with themselves. Personally, I don’t think points should have to be simplified, but rather just making sure your point is made. I think it takes something like 3 seconds of a song for you to either hook a listener in, or lose them. So you really have to not only wow them, but you have to make your point rock solid from the start. I think people tend to think the more you simplify your music, the more you’re dumbing it down, and that’s a very fine line to walk for any artist. | By Mr. Joe Walker, produced by The Liquidation Committee
Liquid Arts & Entertainment is committed to presenting engaging conversations with top artists. We hope you enjoyed this interview with HighTyde.
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