A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2001
On his first full album, Lyrikally Insane in 1999, Portland-based rapper Syko (Skilled Young Kreative Organism) incorporated what appeared to be an actual voicemail from Cellophane Square record store. The message politely informed him that the store could continue selling his ’98 Warpath EP project on consignment, but because of shopper complaints, he needed to replace the explicit artwork on the cover with something more PG rated. For the most part, Lyrikally Insane was hardcore gangsta rap, with a couple of notable exceptions. “When It Comes Down To It” took some experimental, artistic chances, and it showed Syko’s more creative, less destructive side. Another cut that stood out to me was “Famboshis” with its pleasant, addicting beat and the confessional tone of the track.
His second album in 2001 was titled Sykotherapy, and for this one Syko hooked up with famous Seattle producer D-Sane and his rap label Street Level Records, which already had success with Byrdie, I.K., and label marquee group F.T.S. aka Full Time Soldiers. The album art for Sykotherapy is unsettling. Syko, dressed in a hospital psyche-ward gown aims his best thousand-yard stare at the camera while writing in a huge three ring binder.
Byrdie features on four different tracks, “This World Of Mine,” “Ain’t S*** Changed,” “Chozen,” and “I Just Wanna,” which has a hook from honey-voiced local star Wanz. The emotional “I’m Goin Thru It” explains some of the circumstances that cause people to stay trapped in the game. “I’m goin through it man, keeping a pistol close, because it’s my life that I cherish the most,” goes the chorus. The album finishes with “End Game,” sampling the famous “greed” speech by Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street.
After Sykotherapy, he continued making music. In 2004, famous thizz-popper Mac Dre put out Syko’s album called Amerikkkan Syko. Syko was not just a rapper, but also an accomplished producer, and he made dozens of beats throughout the 2000s and 2010s. One of his last projects was creating three beats for former Full Time Soldier J-Dub’s album Envy Breeds Contempt in 2014. Syko, real name Theophilus Adams, passed away in 2018. Written by Novocaine132