Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is SYDTHEMAN. (Or his record; his picture is on Page 2.) We accidentally stumbled across his music at a networking event about two weeks ago. And wow. He sings and he raps and he cusses, all to varying degrees of goodness.
As such, he made a record called Singin' Rappin' & Cussin'. It is just about excellent, with several parts of it - generally the parts where he lets loose his near pristine falsetto - scraping up against being transcendent. For certain, there aren't a lot of people who can combine even a semblance of musicality with commentary on the banality of John Everyman's day-to-day, but SYDTHEMAN does so fluidly and with (what appears to be) little struggle.
So we invited him to join the Artist of the Week family, asking him about things and more things. He gave answers and then more answers. Roll tide.
Rocks Off: First, tell everyone everything they need to know about Syd the Man in exactly six words.
SYDTHEMAN: If I had to describe myself in six words, they would be: Creative, controversial, comical, demanding, trustworthy and misunderstood.
RO: Of course, the one song that immediately brought us to you was "On My Nerves." Can you talk a brief bit about how that song came to be.
STM: The idea to rap about people getting on my nerves came from another local Houston rapper while we were both hanging out at a friend's house. I thought the idea was funny, but I had no interest in recording a song with that substance. Then, one day while in the shower, I began to make fun of the idea by singing the chorus that you hear on the recording.
I kept on singing the chorus over and over until I realized that this could be very catchy. So, I called my friend, William Thomas, and sang it for him. He immediately suggested that I record this song. The first version was recorded in 2006 with other local rap artists featured on the track. It wasn't until 2009 when I decided to re-record and re-produce the song featuring my older brother, J. Reed.
RO: In the song, you're especially hard on what sounds like a homeless person asking for change. Are we to assume that SYDTHEMAN is not of the mind that a society can be judged by the way it treats their homeless?
STM: Actually, that verse is rapped by my brother, J. Reed. But, all he was saying is that he's tired of homeless people asking him for change. It gets old after a while, especially when the same homeless person asks you for money three times a week. I think people in every society would get tired of that.
RO: Where you ever worried about this song, as infectious and fun as it is, taking off and become the thing that became tied to your name forever, like "Because I Got High" with Afroman?
STM: I don't think that I would mind if "On My Nerves" is forever tied to my name, because I would want people to associate SYDTHEMAN with an influential hit. However, there is more to me than comical songs. I am a true musician, as it is depicted on my debut album, Singin' Rappin' & Cussin'.
If "On My Nerves" had not been the leadoff single, I had other hit caliber records as well that are just as, or even more, catchy and influential.
RO: In the last verse, you run quickly through a few people that get on your nerves (the best of which, we thought, was the "rude bitch in the drive-thru"). Surely you left some off. When you do the remix to this with Devin the Dude (he seems like he was built for this sort of thing), who else will you be addressing? It'd be great if you could take a swipe at the people that live at the end of our block, the ones who find it necessary to sit outside their garage with no shirts on. Thanks.
STM: I really have not been thinking about recording a remix to the song just yet because I'm still trying to get the original version to the masses now. However, the perfect remix would probably include an artist like Devin the Dude, since he seems to enjoy subjects of that nature.
The remix would definitely include some additional topics like: Only one line being open at the grocery store when there's 50 people waiting to check out; women lying about being on birth control so they can get pregnant by the guy with the best genes; dudes always saying that they're out here grinding when it really means they're unemployed at the moment; old people taking forever to walk through the door that you're holding open for them; etc.
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