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interview // sintax the terrific

The remarkable emcee Sintax the Terrific formed The Pride with Manchild and Recon which later evolved into the famed Deepspace5. He has been celebrated for his humorous thought provoking rhyme style, and for always leaving the listener with something to ponder as they walk away. His debut LP Simple Moves was recently re-released and he also has an upcoming album entitled Curb Appeal (TBD) on Illect Recordings. Sintax the Terrific is just what his name says Terrific and the only complaint against him is how he blatantly outshines his fellow emcees.


What influenced you to become an emcee?

Let's see, in order - JC Penny sweatsuits, knock-off Japanese hoodies, checkered vans, Eddie Rabbit, the NYC breakers, Michael Jackson, Slick Rick, and then Rakim. The dancers just always did it for me.  I was inspired by the amazing things the Lord has done in my life.  His many blessings and insatiable mercy.  Rap has always been ministry first for me.  Nothing makes me feel more complete.  Emceeing demands my whole person. 


How did you hook up with Deepspace5?

I didn't hook up with ds5, bro, I put those fools on. manCHILD always gets the glory for making it happen, but I was living in the same low-rent apartment that cracker was when it all went down.  He acts like his armpits don't stink.  High-Tech was working the pawn-shop sequencer and the Dr. Sample for us and the Pride had been building with Sev and the Labklik boys for a minute.  It was a natural progression to call them crew.  And of course it made perfect sense to call the 6 of us Deepspace 5 -- manCHILD had thrice flunked remedial math.  Dust the illusive, Playdiggy, Frederick B, Rabbi, Siv, and Manuel followed.  manCHILD was trying to get Killarmy to roll with us but that would have put us at like 17 or 18.  Plus we've had our ear to the track for a raw, dance-hall singer to give us that Jamaica-Queens street cred we desperately lack.  Everybody has their place and our union is nothing if not providential.  I praise God that I get to share music and ministry with like-hearted men. 

Your newest LP is entitled Curb Appeal, what will listeners hear on this release?


Listeners will hear snares, kick drums, bass lines, a puerto-rican from the lower east side, singing by moi, bodily excretions, sivion the facebreaker, continued infatuation with Chucktown, the inaudible wail of a Ewe, a deluge of rhyming words, a cheap reference to Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony, my fist plunging into Listener's soft underbelly, the sound of cash money washing over my face from royalty revenues, R Kelly car-horn honks, and timeless belching.


They may also hear my most recent thoughts on life, rap, Bell Biv Devoe, and mercy.  I haven't changed the game plan.  I'm one dimensional.  There will be end rhymes and some internal rhyme.  No styles.  Ultimately I hope it will help the listener think on her Creator a little more than she did in the second before.

What are the differences between your LPs Simple Moves and Curb Appeal?


Primarily sonic differences.  I have upgraded my recording situation and have employed Elected Official to mix and master the record (with some assistance by Fred B).  Unlike Simple Moves, this next record shouldn't make your ears bleed.  It's still a little early to have a feel for the ultimate character of the record. 


I think it will feature more complete songs.  Maybe not.  Your first record always sets an expectation (for better or for worse) and deviation from that expectation is always a crap shoot.  I don't set out to do a record the "same" or "different."  I stick to a style of song and lyricism that emphasizes my strengths as an artist and focus on making music that resonates emotionally.   


On Simple Moves you had a song called Got Beef; did you ever get any diss responses?


Illtrip penned a scathing retort that called into question the legitimacy of my license to practice law.  Something about "needing to raise the 'Bar'."  That Tim Olsen, boy; one clever son of gun.  He awoke with a horse head in his bed the following morning.  But you didn't hear it from me.  I have it on good information from Fong -- who has been in and out of trouble with the law for years due to his continued and scurrilous involvement with organized crime -- that one of the TRz did it.  He said something about "300 pounds plus of ground rush" but then his satellite phone went out. 


Where do you get your inspirations for your songs?


Places, geography, the ocean/mountains.  Good authors and good emcees.  I also spend a considerable amount of time thinking and praying about topics that need consideration.  I try to allow whatever spiritual issues are important in my life at the time to bleed into my music.

How did you sign with Illect Recording?


Well, they originally courted Mars Ill, PC, Sev, Sivion, Manny, High Tech, Labklik, Fong, and Rico Suave, but that they all said no.  Apparently, illect also propositioned the Young Black Teenagers to do a reunion record but YBT also declined.  After repeated rejections by King's Crew, MC RG, Transformation Crusade, and Brian Austin Greene, my pager started blowing up.  Let's just put it this way --illect put the full-court press on Mr. Terrific.  Taco Bell dinners, taxi cab rides home, Harris Teeter brand Dr. Thunder, that little chocolate on your pillow.  Plastic, Jon, and Jae left everything on the court.  It was kind of embarrassing.  Jon would leave these romantic notes on my windshield.  Jae got us matching "his and her" t-shirts.  Plastic was in his antebellum poetry phase.  It was weird.  At the same time, I was considering like 12 other fairly lucrative deals with some real hot "indie" labels, like Beats-from-My-Baby-Mama's-Basement Records and "Dude I got a Dell"-So-Let's-Record-Raps Musicbarn.  But Plastic and I had been cool for a minute and I felt like I could do them a favor by letting them handle my record.  But don't tell them.  In their minds, they still believe they gave me a deal "he couldn't refuse."  They think they're the Poston brothers of the rap game.


Plastic has been supportive of my music for a long time.  Our relationship deepened during ds5's time with Uprok.  He initially pressed "Simple Moves" on the now defunct Sphereofhiphop Records.  From there, it was an easy transition to Illect.  There is a mutual understanding between the label and myself.  Everyone's expectations and aspirations are on the same page.  For an artist in my position, who has a steady 9 to 5 (or 7:30 am  to 8:00 pm), Illect is the perfect home.  They permit the flexibility to work your record as much or as little as your lifestyle allows.  I believe in these guys as business persons and men of God.  I'm thankful to be down with them.  They've given me an opportunity to share my music without substantial sacrifice to my family or the other responsibilities the Lord presently has placed in my life.  But would it be nice if we all made a cool mill?? No question.


You are also a lawyer, which is interesting to know, what type of lawyer are you?


A freaking brilliant one.  I do commercial litigation (defend companies).  Often, work is too demanding on my family life and music.  I enjoy the practice of law though.  But don't think I wouldn't walk in a second if I could support my family in this here rap game.  Buy the record in triplicate!      

What can we expect in the future from Sintax.the.Terrific and Deepspace5?


Many more rap songs.  Raps and raps and more raps.  Continued entertainment and edification all rolled up and smeared like chunky peanut butter over pumpernickel.  My record is coming; the Rabbi solo; the Mars Ill joint; some more Stu Dent; Fred B and Sivion's mystery records; illtrip, Listener, and Labklik maxell tapes; and a Playdough Spring Break in Daytona Beach solo record for the MTV heads.  I also heard that Fred is doing a Trim Spa commercial.  manCHILD will continue puppeteering his master ds5 plan from the heights of his newly furnished British-Columbia penthouse (courtesy of one Toby Mac).  Sev has lined up approximately 647 guest spots for '05, with an emphasis on lesser-known international artists from Latvia and Peru. 


Any last words?


I am thankful beyond any more words for all the people that support ds5 music.  You have opened your hearts and homes to us wherever we go.  You express an appreciation for us that are more than we deserve.  Thank you for letting us do what we love for the One we love the most.


Oh and I want to give a shot to Gothsport.  Check for the gear.  Little different but quality artistry.  My man nevermore has been hooking heads up for a minute and deserves some shine.  One.


For more information on Sintax the Terrific check out http://www.sintaxtheterrific.com.


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