Lynx T'chass, or Emcee Lynx is an anarchist hip hop artist from the San Francisco Bay Area who 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-One" and the successor to House of Pain.
|Origin||Fremont, California, United States|
political hip hop
Celtic hip hop
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, producer, songwriter|
|Associated acts||Beltaine's Fire|
|Website||Emcee Lynx (archive)|
He used his music and writing both for self-expression and to advocate for political and social change. He performed at many anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-globalization and other demonstrations, along with fund raisers and benefits for radical causes and community groups. He was also very active in Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests nationally, and at Occupy Oakland in particular, performing for the General Assembly on the first night of the occupation. His band, Beltaine's Fire donated the profits from sales of their third album, Anarchitecture to OWS groups around the country. He 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 solo music was independently produced and released on a 'pay what you can' basis via bandcamp and Jamendo as MP3s under a Creative Commons license. Fans were encouraged to donate to help cover costs but it is entirely optional. He was an outspoken supporter of file sharing and 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 referred to himself as an autonomist, indigenist and feminist and described his vision of an ideal future as a blend between anarcho-syndicalism and mutualism. He augmented 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 a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, supporting their organizing and linking to their website. He was formerly a member of the Workers Solidarity Alliance, a non-sectarian grouping of class-struggle oriented anarchists from across North America that includes syndicalists, libertarian socialists, especificists, and others.
Lynx's heavy emphasis on history and culture led him to incorporate traditional Celtic music instruments and melodies into his music (his background is Scottish and Irish). He was an outspoken supporter of the rights of ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, First Nations, and stateless nations "from Chiapas to Chechnya, Ireland to Tibet"  and argued that those fighting for national liberation would be better off fighting for self-determination in an anarchist framework instead of trying to create new Nation-States.
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.
In terms of sound, Lynx is hard to pigeonhole since his sound changed so much with each album. This was intentional: in interviews he described his musical vision as trying to "stretch the boundaries of hip hop" as widely as possible, and thus constantly incorporating new elements. These ranged 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 produced most of his own instrumentals, but collaborated with a wide range of producers in several countries. Frequent collaborators included Dub Sea of Working Classic Records in London, England, DJ Phoney of Phoney Records in Cologne, Germany, 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.
Lynx was also 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 was one of the first to play a true fusion of Celtic music and hip hop. They released three full-length albums and a free live demo.
- Solo albums
- 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)
- Liberty (2008)
- Live at Puck's (2009)
- Anarchitecture (2011)
- Music For The Resistance - Circle-A Records, US. (2002)
- No Idea Compilation - 1312 Group, US.(2002)
- The Nonviolence or Nonexistence - Utopian Records, US.(2002)
- Warnography - Love and Rage Records, Australia. (2004)
- Hiphoplogia: CD Anticarcelario - Libertad Anarchist Press, Spain and Chile. (2004)
- States of Abuse Compilation - Entartete Kunst, US and UK.(2005)
- Def Sentence' - Books to Prisoners, US. (2005)
- We're out here for them! ABC Do it Together Compilation Anarchist Black Cross, Germany. (2006)
- Apocalypse - Urban Underground, US. (2007)
- Phoney Phaves - Phoney Tapes, Germany. (2007)
- A Line In The Sand - Wyld Stallion Records, benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War. (2007)
- Best of KVMR Celtic Fest - With Beltaine's Fire, Benefit for KVMR. (2009)
- The Sound of Resistance, Volume 1 - With Beltaine's Fire. (2012)
- International reprints
- 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.
- Stirring it Up: The New Dissenters - YFilms, US. 2007.