Take a look inside the mind of Cyniical, an up and coming rapper from Connecticut. He has been perfecting his craft for years, and his newest EP "C-137" is an absolute game changer. With that, I give you the Cyniical Interview.
• Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way?
I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut. Not much hip-hop/rap comes out of there, anyone who does flies under the radar. I went through a lot growing up there though, and it helped make me who I am today, which I do my best to channel into my creative process. Since CT is pretty boring, it gave me a lot of time to think about life and shit which is why I think my music seems very genuine, to me at least.
• What’s your background like? Where do you stand on the music scene in your area?
I come from a divorced family, my mom and I lived with my grandparents for most of my time growing up. I struggled with anxiety and depression in my early teen years. Because of that, I found happiness by making people laugh, and it pushed me to be more comedic, which definitely goes into my style. After 18 years of that shit, I had to leave CT. That place wasn’t good for my mental. I moved to Tampa for college and it’s been a blast. I’m just starting to push my music down here, but I’ve made great connections and I’m excited for the future.
• What did you start doing first, producing or rapping? How did you get started?
I started rapping first. I used to spit cheesy raps to my friends in elementary school. My cousin put me on to D12 and Eminem when I was real young, that’s when I fell in love with hip hop. I freestyled in public chat on CoD for people a lot (y’all can think that’s wack, but I’m nice off the dome with it now) and got hella into Sway in the Morning when I started high school. When I was 16 I got a job as a snowboard instructor, and on Friday’s the supervisors put Wu-Tang on at night. Hearing that dope old school East-Coast sound really pushed me to start writing, one thing lead to another and I started rapping. As for producing, I just started a few months ago. I’m still tryna get the hang of it.
• Do you have anyone that you consider your mentor? How has their help or advice shaped you?
Yo, shout out my producer and engineer Trav. I met him through a family friend and he’s seriously influenced me and my movement. Not only has he influenced my sound, he’s helped me really see the vision and how to achieve it. When I started working with him is when I really got into producing so, only good things to say man.
Oh and he got me to start singing and proved to me I wasn’t garbage.
• What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
This is hard man. Don’t take this the wrong way, but my first panic attack happened when I was deep in thought about death and what happens after. I had to be like 11/12 at the time. But that moment changed the way that I looked at life and everything around me, and it turned into a domino effect. It changed me as a person, and was one of the reasons I discovered my creative side. Without that I really don’t know where I’d be.
• What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Numbers and shit like that are lowkey unpredictable, so I want to discover more aspects of my style. I kinda feel like I can do almost everything at least decently, so I want to branch out with my sound and try to improve every aspect of my music.
• What does your work aim to say?
I’m a vibe supplier. I listen to beats with my eyes closed and picture what the sound makes me feel. I want a song for every vibe, I’ll talk about anything. I could be rapping about lit parties then rapping about my existence. I wanna give people a soundtrack to living life.
• Who are your biggest influences and what do you like about them the most?
Eminem: First rapper I ever got into. Let’s be real, he’s the best selling rapper. He’s gone diamond multiple times. He’s nice with it. He gave me a lot of appreciation for the technical aspects of rap.
J. Cole: Probably my favorite rapper of all time (send hate mail to @itscyniical on Twitter). Cole World: The Sideline Story was one of the reasons I became a hip hop head growing up. And he makes you think about his songs too. If that’s not your thing then it’s not your thing, but it’s beautiful music.
Kendrick Lamar: GKMC is a classic album. Really got me into concept albums and storytelling, which I use all the time.
Logic: I’m talking about come-up to Under Pressure Logic. I still listen to the Young Sinatra tapes. It’s that lyrical spitting shit. That’s my favorite kind of hip hop. I borderline studied wordplay because of these tapes.
Mac Miller: Rest in peace Mac. I never met him but his passing hit hard. In 6th grade Kool-aid and Frozen Pizza was my shit. But look at his discography man, he did everything and it was always fucking great. Mac’s music helped me gain the confidence that I have with my music.
Trevor Daniel: If you haven’t heard of him, check out his music, he popped on my Twitter feed a few months ago and I checked it out. I love his singing, and it’s made me get experimental with mine.
• How would you describe your own style?
I’m all over the place. My style is very personal. Not that I’m tryna come off as douche or anything, but I give people what I think they should hear. If I catch a certain vibe from a beat, I’m going with that vibe. I’m not going to try and make a song something that it’s not, and if I don’t end up fucking with it, I won’t release it.
• In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
Yo my mixing was awful when I started. The sound quality is way more crisp now. I got my flows tighter, my lyrics better. I’ve branched out a lot since then, the music now is definitely miles ahead than it used to be.
• What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
Literally anything, but I find a lot of influences from experiences I’ve had, and then I make a story out of it. It could be anything from me writing about my life exactly, or writing about seeing a fine girl at a party.
It’s not only things like that, whenever I need to clear my mind, I write a verse about whatever’s bothering me. I have so many verses like that, most of them go unfinished, but if I released every single one, I’d be talking about me too much.
And man I love doing concept records. Putting myself in someone else’s shoes and writing from their perspective allows me to experiment and really branch out with subject matter.
• What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
Haven’t really thought about that too much. Probably the Hollywood Palladium, I feel like that would be nutty.
• What’s a song you have stuck in your head these days?
That new JID project SLAPS. Westbrook and Just Da Other Day are absolute bangers. Off Da Zoinkys has incredible bars.
Check out "Ahh Yea" by Cyniical on Soundcloud today!