THE CYPHER AVENUE MUSIC SERIES

As the Pop-Culture Expert here on Cypher Avenue, I’ve been meaning to start a series of posts showcasing music by masculine Gay/Bisexual artists that I dig for one reason or another. I wanted to start this back when we launched in August but I’m only just now getting around to it…While I’ll most likely give some sort of review, this is mainly just for awareness since many of you don’t even know these musicians exist. I may even go as far as to do interviews with some of the artists as well. Alright, here we go.
 

 

PictureLASTO

Originally from St. Louis, MO but now residing in Brooklyn, NY, hip hop artist Lasto (aka Last Oh aka Last aka Last Offence) is probably one of the few Gay hip hop artists out there that actually “gets it”. Based on what we’ve heard so far, he understands that lyrics, production quality and perception are the keys to potentially winning over not only a Gay audience, but a straight one as well.

Gangster rapper, he is not. So if you like your rap music filled with tales of clubbing, strippers, drug dealing and murder, stick to the mainstream q̶u̶e̶s̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶G̶a̶y̶ rappers like Lil Wayne. Last reminds me of the artists like Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi and old school Common. The kind of hip hop music that actually makes you use a few brain cells as you nod your head to the beat.

Full disclosure: Lasto is a friend of mine. It was through digging the music as a fellow creative person that I eventually met him and became a fan of not only the work but the person as well. However, both he and Octavious (co-founder of Cypher Avenue) would tell you that friendship never stops me from giving my honest opinion, even if it stings.

Speaking of honest opinions, now on the my actual review of the work itself…

 


 
 

“RUN A LAP”

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So far, Lasto has independently released two high quality mixtapes featuring songs covering a wide range of subjects. Oddly enough, his first release is my favorite of the two, “Run A Lap”. He demonstrates that not only can he flow, he can also write clever verses and complete songs with a cohesive concept. The opening track, “Details” is like the first act of a novel or movie, expertly introducing listeners to not only Lasto as an MC but also the life of a masculine Gay black man trying to make it in the world of hip hop.Lyrics: 8
Production: 6
Concepts: 7
Overall: 7

To download “Run A Lap” for free, click here.

 

 
“NOT FOR NON PROFIT”
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His second outing (pun intended) was called, “Not For Non Profit”. From the title you can tell the direction he was headed and it’s evident in the music. He attempted to make a mixtape with more “commercial” appeal. I can’t say that I’m mad at that decision but the sound was definitely starting to veer away from what I enjoyed about the first mixtape. There are still standouts like “Here & Now”, “Wring my Neck” and “Not Whinin'” but then there are flops like “On Top” and “State Ya Name” featuring another Gay rapper named Bry’Nt (who for some reason always raps while doing the Christian Bale ‘Batman’ voice). But yo, don’t get me wrong, its a solid mixtape, light years above most anything else I’ve heard from a lot of indie hip hop musicians, especially ones that are openly gay.Lyrics: 8
Production: 7
Concepts: 6
Overall: 7

To download “Not For Non-Profit” for free, click here.
While there have been other Gay MCs to spring up on YouTube and Twitter in the last 24 months, Lasto is definitely the bar that many people use in comparison when it comes to lyrics and production quality. To think he’s only been doing this for a few years is admirable as well when you see the effort put into the work.

Lasto’s new project will be entitled, “Charm” and last I heard he’s busy in the studio putting the finishing touches on it for the awaiting public.

– Nick D