Lynx, or Emcee Lynx is an anarchist hip hop artist from Oakland, California in the San Francisco Bay Area who has achieved significant popularity and name-recognition in the West Coast hip hop and underground hip hop scenes and among anarchists and other radicals around the world. In 2006, he was described by Donegal Press magazine as "without a doubt one of the hottest rappers in the underground hip-hop scene today" and was described as "The next KRS-1" and the successor to House of Pain.
He holds a BA in Political Science from San Francisco State University and uses his music and writing to advocate for political and social change. He often performs at anti-war and other demonstrations, along with fund raisers and benefits for radical causes and groups. He has also recorded songs for benefit albums in support of various groups, including the Anarchist Black Cross and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
All of his music is independently produced and released free of charge on his website as MP3s under a Creative Commons license. Fans are encouraged to donate via his website but it's entirely optional. He is an outspoken supporter of file sharing and has stated that he looks forward to the day when file sharing and other decentralized means of distribution finally bankrupt the recording industry and leave issues of payment to be decided directly between artists and fans.
Lynx's politics can be generally described as anarchist
, but he also refers to himself as an autonomist
, indigenist and feminist
and supports anarcho-syndicalism
to establish a mutualist
economy. He augments the traditional anarchist emphasis on class with a heavy emphasis on culture and history. According to interviews, his major political influences include Noam Chomsky
, Ward Churchill
, Emma Goldman
, Peter Kropotkin
, Mikhail Bakunin
, Michael Collins
, Lucy Parsons
, and Mutualists
like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
. He was formerly a member of the Industrial Workers of the World
and still supports their organizing and links to their website.
Lynx's heavy emphasis on history and culture have led him to incorporate traditional Celtic music instruments and melodies into his music (his background is Scottish and Irish), and he has made an overt effort to highlight connections between the colonization of the Celtic Nations and imperialism elsewhere. He is an outspoken supporter of the rights of ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, First Nations, and stateless nations "from Chiapas to Chechnya, Ireland to Tibet".
He is vocal in his opposition to organized religion and is straight edge.
Lynx is also significant because he was an early advocate for File Sharing and was one of the most successful artists in the world in using the Internet as a medium to promote and distribute his work prior to the creation of sites like Myspace and iTunes that helped mainstream online music distribution. As imesh.com put it in August 2002:
Since the release of his first album (Soundtrack for Insurrection Volume I) in early 2001, Emcee Lynx has gained international recognition in Hip-Hop's Conscious underground as one of the most articulate and innovative of a rising tide of politically active artists - winning him grassroots distribution and a loyal fan base from California to the Czech Republic.
Sound and influences
In terms of sound, Lynx is hard to pigeonhole since his sound has changed so much with each album. This is intentional, in interviews he describes his musical vision as trying to "stretch the boundaries of hip hop" as widely as possible, and is thus constantly incorporating new elements. These range from the heavy 'electronic-industrial-metal-hardcore rap' fusion on his first album to smoother trip-hop and funk influenced sounds to bass-driven 'west coast' styles. He produces most of his own instrumentals, but has collaborated with a wide range of producers in several countries. Frequent collaborators include Dub Sea
of Working Classic Records
, DJ Phoney
of Phoney Records
, and Kdubbs
of Urban Underground
in San Jose, California
. The Unamerican LP
(2004) also featured three instrumentals by members of the Live Oak Collective
from San Jose. Regular guest vocalists include Shamako Noble
, Scott Dred
Lynx has also been a pioneer in Celtic Hip Hop, a new style of Celtic fusion that fuses Celtic melodies with hip hop beats and vocals. His band, Beltaine's Fire is the first English-language band to play a true fusion of Celtic music and Hip Hop, and the first-ever band to do it with live instruments instead of samples. Their first album, The Weapon of the Future was released December 11th, 2007, and is currently available from their website.
- Music For The Resistance - Circle-A Records, USA. (2002)
- No Idea Compilation - 1312 Group, USA.(2002)
- The Nonviolence or Nonexistence - Utopian Records, USA.(2002)
- Warnography - Love and Rage Records, Australia. (2004)
- Hiphoplogia: CD Anticarcelario - Libertad Anarchist Press, Spain and Chile. (2004)
- States of Abuse Compilation - Entartete Kunst, USA and UK.(2005)
- ''Def Sentence' - Books to Prisoners, USA. (2005)
- We're out here for them! ABC Do it Together Compilation Anarchist Black Cross, Germany. (2006)
- Apocalypse - Urban Underground, USA. (2007)
- Phoney Phaves - Phoney Tapes, Germany. (2007)
- A Line In The Sand - Wyld Stallion Records, benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War. (2007)
- Soundtrack for Insurrection I (2001)
- Soundtrack for Insurrection II (2002)
- The Black Dog EP (2003)
- The Unamerican LP (2004)
- Living in the Shadow (2005)
- Beltaine's Fire: The Weapon of the Future (2007)
- Soundtrack for Insurrection (2002) Czech Version. Contains tracks from Soundtrack 1 and 2, reprinted as a benefit for the Prague Anarchist Black Cross
- The Black Dog LP and The UnAmerican LP were reprinted in Jakarta, Indonesia in (2004) as a benefit for local political prisoners.
- The UnAmerican LP was reprinted in Cologne Germany by Phoney Tapes in (2005) as a benefit for "Le Sabot," an Anarchist book store in Bonn.
- The UnAmerican LP and Living in the Shadow had three separate reprints in Portugal, Poland, and Romania as fund raisers for local anarchist groups in each area in 2006.
- Official website, including free downloads, a discography, information about upcoming appearances, interview transcripts, blog, etc.
- Beltaine's Fire website, includes show listings and links to download their current album.