The Local Spins series showcasing music that influenced Michigan-bred musicians continues with hip hop’s Rick Chyme. Check out his picks; listen to tracks from all of the records.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians can trace their inspiration to key recordings that captivated them and influenced their own music. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases the albums that changed the world for West Michigan-bred rapper Rick Chyme. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of his picks, plus a couple of recent releases of his own.
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Longtime Grand Rapids rapper and Rockford native Rick Chyme has relocated out West, but still works frequently with like-minded musicians from West Michigan.
Good thing, as Chyme is one of the more creative collaborators around, crediting his emphasis on teamwork in part on his hoops background (he played basketball at Western Michigan University). No stranger to unique efforts, he entered ArtPrize in 2013 with a 17-hour free-verse marathon, which he followed up with 17 hours of silence.
In 2018 he and his producer, Yelnam Evad, create one song each day for a project dubbed “Daily Pieces 365.” He now lives in Bellingham, Wash. “I collaborate with people in West Michigan and Washington, applying the concepts and ideas from West Michigan to Washington,” he says. He still works in radio and intends to work in schools as well, saying it feels good to be able to transfer the skills he’s acquired skills into lessons for others.
1. Bill Withers, “Live at Carnegie Hall” (1973) – Bill Withers is one of the greatest songwriters. I think he gets overlooked. I had to force myself to stop playing it on my radio show. It’s an example of true showmanship and someone being in control of his craft. It was a really tight band. I stumbled on the recording at WYCE. I just can’t shake it, and I don’t want to.
Listen: “Use Me”
2. Lost Boyz, “Renee” from “Legal Drug Money” (1996) – They’re storytellers. That inspired me. It’s vivid everyday storytelling through hip hop. Mr. Cheeks (lead MC of the New York four-piece) is still active, but the Lost Boyz are not active anymore. (Group member Freaky Tah was shot and killed in 1999 leaving a birthday party for Mr. Cheeks, and another member of the group, Spigg Nice, was was released from federal prison after serving 17 years for multiple bank robberies.)
3. Public Enemy, “Fight the Power” (1989) – What Chuck D did lyrically was telling truth to power. The production was groundbreaking. He knows me. The songs I wrote from a political direction, for the guy who laid that foundation to play them on his radio show is empowering. I did an internship at Def Jam, became an executive assistant. I was aware of Public Enemy (but) I wanted to have a full understanding of the entire history of this place I worked, and delved into their entire discography. Chuck refused to become (exclusively) a recording artist. He still has a community radio show.
Listen: “Fight the Power”
Currently Loving: The Lasso, Jordan Hamilton, The Saxsquatch, “Tri Magi” (2021) – A Kalamazoo producer called The Lasso is highly collaborative and a multi-instrumentalist, just put out an album featuring Jordan Hamilton and (saxophonist) The Saxsquatch. I try to find music that inspires me. That’s where I try to put my listening energy, stuff that’s inspiring to me.
Listen: “They and I”
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Rick Chyme’s Playlist on Spotify
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