Photo: Sid Shyne
Sid Shyne is going from a fan of his favorite artists to their contemporary.
The Atlanta rapper, who has only been in the hip-hop sphere for a few years, went from listening to his city’s new wave artists like Father or Chicago’s LUCKI, to touring twice with the latter and bringing the energy for others on various road trips, night after night. The high beaming instrumentals he uses in much of his music, as evident on songs like “YOSHIMITSU” or “FAKE LOVE,” often feature warped synths and heavy drums, making for incredibly sprightly in-person shows. He says it is very important to him and what makes him stand out in an already-crowded modern hip-hop landscape.
During a recent interview with BET, Sid Shyne discusses his come-up in Atlanta, his latest music, the importance on his live performances, and the inspiration he fielded from artists from the ATL and across the country.
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BET: You’re currently on the Real Raw Tour with JALEEL! How’s that going so far?
Sid Shyne: I’ve been on tour, pretty much for the last month and a half, but I just got home. So I've been at the crib for like five days, like a break in the tour. But I got a show tonight in Atlanta so I'm just getting ready for that.
It's cool. We only had two days so far, it just started. So it’ll be Atlanta tonight, L.A. was crazy and the energy in L.A. was top tier.
BET: You’re from Atlanta. How did being from there get you into even thinking about doing music?
Sid Shyne: I just feel like we have the culture, bro. Growing up in Atlanta, it's like, bro, you growing up seeing people like Young Thug, Migos early on. I remember, I was probably in middle school or maybe elementary school when The Migos started popping off and they’re from Gwinnett which is where I'm from. So n****s pop off and seeing n****s like Lil Yachty when I'm a freshman in high school. It just shows you it was possible. So it always felt attainable. Just like that. I've seen so many people from my city do what I wanted to do.
BET: You put on quite a live show. I’ve seen highlights from them on social media a bunch of times. Why does it mean a lot to you to put on such a hype show for fans?
Sid Shyne: Man, I love that question because I really put a lot of effort into my live shows. And I think that comes from just like – I feel like in my genre of hip-hop in general – It's a lot of lazy performances. Yeah. Me personally, I always loved watching performances on YouTube. I'd be watching Michael Jackson, performances from the 80s and s**t. That's the type of s**t that interests me. So I'm like, I want to be like this n***a. I want to put on the craziest show. I want people to come to my shows; it'd be an experience they remember for the rest of their lives. So I really put 100 percent [into it]. Me and my DJ be backstage cooking up new transitions and new intros. It's an art in itself, a whole nother art, apart from the music – especially because my music is so up tempo and it's damn near you definitely have to come to a show to really get the full experience.
BET: I want to discuss your two most recent projects, Poison Ivy (May) and Dreams Unlocked (January). What was your creative process behind each?
Sid Shyne: I'll start with Dreams Unlocked because that was like the full-length project. That dreams unlocked concept was just a concept I had since late 2021 because I had put out my project Midnight Fantasy, which was my last full project in the summer of 2021. The concept of Midnight Fantasy was like the fantasy of achieving your dreams. So Dreams Unlocked, I felt like was the next step of actually experiencing those dreams and talking about what it felt like because in the making of that project was, when I first started going on tours and doing festivals and stuff like that, these were the dreams I had since I was a kid, but they were finally coming to fruition. So I was like, Damn, I want to base my next project on just the fact that your dreams can come true.
Poison Ivy – that was kind of more just like a loosey. I kind of just wanted to put out an EP before I go on the road because I was supporting Homixide Gang. So we just wanted to put out something that could bring more people, and so that took me a lot less time. I probably did that project in less than two months.
BET: You’re a big fan of LUCKI and toured with him twice. How wild was it for you to be a huge fan of his to be then a peer you were on the road with night after night?
Sid Shyne: It's insane, bro. It's so crazy. It feels surreal, especially when I first met him. I told him, “Bro, you're my favorite rapper in high school and now we’re on tour together.” I had to tell him that because the younger me was so proud.
I’m just so happy I got the opportunity to tell them. I just have to let you know that you're my favorite rapper. And I think that made him feel kind of old though when I told him, I could see in his face. I don't know, I guess I'm just early on people too.
BET: How big were some of those first artists of that new Atlanta wave, like Key!, Two9 and Awful Records?
Sid Shyne: I ain’t gonna lie, Key! definitely was super influential in that scene, especially like 2014-2015 was probably when I first heard about him. I really heard about him through Awful Records – Father and Makonnen and them type of n*****s. Key! was definitely a forefather, just like that weird Atlanta underground scene. I guess he doesn't get enough credit nowadays.
Awful Records in general, I was listening to them heavy in early 2015 and I guess they were just the young n*****s just being themselves., that's kind of what they did. They were just like, “Yo, you can be weird because they were kind of weird. And because they weren't the typical Atlanta rappers like Future or Migos. They were kind of more like the fashion forward, alternative kind of random guys. I can say they kicked that off.
BET: How do you try to stand out against these younger rappers, because a lot of people say many of them sound the same – kind of from that Playboi Carti vain?
Sid Shyne: So at first I would say I was trying to stand out with my production and s**t. I was coming up with some crazy synth patterns and just different types of sounds, but I guess like a lot of n****s started doing it, started using the crazy synth patterns I was already using. So I kind of had to pivot even more. I would say the number one thing that makes me stand out was my content. The message of my music is very different from a lot of people's messages because I feel like my songs truly have concepts ,especially like when I dropped projects. I like to put my time into it and really come out with full-fledged concepts that are just deeper than just songs that n****s are just making. If you really listen to my lyrics, I'm gonna really put out a real coherent message with everything I do, rather than just turn up songs and stuff like that – but they can function as turn up songs, too. But if you listen a little deeper, there's gems that I'm trying to build with my audience and s**t like that. So I just feel I stand out with my content and just like what I'm saying and the deeper message behind it.
People may not even think from my music, but I was really inspired by Kendrick [Lamar] and s**t. Just the way he was speaking on issues, like deeper meanings, but at the same time, he could still play to the mainstream role and come up with “Swimming Pools,” but then you have deeper songs, but a lot of people wouldn't get the message unless you really like pay attention and really listen to his lyrics.
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