For a long time, indie rock/folk and jazz were the genres I associated with the Chippewa Valley. One genre that never came to mind for me was hip hop. Thankfully, in the last several months I have begun to see the hip hop talent that resides here. Eau Claire native, Sayth, has been one of the artists that have opened this door for me. I came upon Sayth’s music a couple of months ago, and I was immediately affected. His songs are very emotionally charged and there is nothing “typical” about his music. In fact, his songs are so heavy that, sometimes, I can only take in a little bit in one sitting. The lyrics are full of pain, pain seemingly caused by loneliness and alienation.
If you look through the Tags at the bottom of Sayth’s Bandcamp homepage (http://sayth.bandcamp.com/), you’ll notice the term “homo hop.” While this is how he classifies his music, I find his lyrics to not really be about his sexual orientation. What I hear in the lyrics is pain. It is obvious that the writer of these songs has been emotionally injured (if not injured in other ways) by others, specifically because of his sexuality. There is a constant theme of being an object of hatred and injustice. For the listener who is emotionally alive, the pain therein is inescapable.
Perhaps this emotive quality is part of why I’m drawn to Sayth. I’m not used to hearing vulnerability in hip hop lyrics. Sayth bares his soul and shares deeply of himself and his experience. I find his lyrics thoughtful, and his music is pretty creative. Musically, he does not seem to feel limited by what is traditionally thought of as “hip hop,” which, in my opinion, is a really good thing. Working outside of such established “boundaries” is usually where significant art is created.
If you have an open mind and open heart and enjoy hip hop, you may want to check out Sayth on Bandcamp. You can stream his “Cave Journals” EP in its entirety, or purchase it (you can name your own price). Sayth uses some colorful language and he deals with some pretty mature themes, so keep that in mind if you’re interested in giving him a listen.