In the interview that Oncl’ Syl’ granted to Mito-Revista Cultural, José Sarzi Amade and Leonor Taiano Campoverde had the opportunity to know more about his music, interests and passions. Creative, natural and intelligent, Oncl’ Syl’ is certainly someone who deserves to be among your favourite rappers.
We have the pleasure of interviewing French-American rapper, Oncl’ Syl’, while he was doing his last album promotion in Paris. Oncl’ Syl’ is definitely a rapper whose frankness and engaging style has made him a rising star in the ever-emerging French rap.
His compositions range from the autobiographical to the philosophical. He is a lyrical genius, whose words are eloquent, enlightening and honest; he is definitely a true artist. We wish him a lot of success in the future. This interview has been a real chance for us to know more about his music, ideas and personality. We hope you will enjoy it…
Revista Mito: Hi Oncl’ Syl’. Thank you for accepting this interview for Mito-Revista Cultural.
Oncl’ Syl’: Hi, thank you very much for having me doing this interview, it’s a pleasure, I’m excited as always especially when it’s about my music!
Revista Mito: Describe yourself in 5 words…
Oncl’ Syl’: Authentic, confident, dedicated, determined and powerful.
Revista Mito: What does rap and Hip-hop mean for you?
Oncl’ Syl’: Rap is everything to me, rap is my life, rap is the pulse that makes my heart beat, I breathe rap in and out… I am rap!
Hip-hop is my culture, my way of life, the codes that I live by, it’s what I stand for, it’s what I represent until the day I’ll die.
Revista Mito: What is the source of inspiration when you create the lyrics of your songs?
Oncl’ Syl’: Life itself is my inspiration but it’s really things I go thru. I’m only 33 but I’ve lived hundreds of lives, I’ve been thru so much, I’ve witnessed heaven and hell… I’ve lived in so many countries and places, I’ve met so many people and encountered so many situations and overcome so many trials and tribulations that i got lyrics for a lifetime!
I’m very aware of what surrounds me, I observe things like a war reporter out on a mission on the battlefield of life and details are everything. I truly feel like I paint pictures with my lyrics and I’m always seeking for the best fitting words to express myself because like the late great Leonardo Da Vinci used to say: ‘details make perfection and perfection is not a detail’.
Revista Mito: When you’re creating what’s your daily routine?
Oncl’ Syl’: I got lyrics constantly flowing in my head but I don’t write every day. I could be flipping words in my mind for days or weeks at the time before I lay them down on paper and when I’d finally do I usually would have the verse or the full song ready.
I always go for quality over quantity and even if I want the perfect combination of words I’m not trying to make the perfect song, I just know it when it’s done.
Revista Mito: What is the best part of making rap?
Oncl’ Syl’: I’m a true lyricist, I love it when sentences take shape especially in an unexpected way, when you add a little twist to it, when something goes from great to greater and turns into greatness.
I love the magic of rhymes which can also create a song within the song. All of that is second to none compared to the fully finished song playing out of your speakers over and over and you just cherish the moment like there is no tomorrow! With that said, being on stage and hearing the crowd screaming your name and rapping every word of your songs is the pinnacle of it all, no words can express this incredible feeling! Also I would love to tell you that the best part of rap is to make a living off of it but times are hard nowadays with the free internet that took over the world so we hope for better days, that’s why we’re still working hard, ha-ha!
Revista Mito: What would you define your style?
Oncl’ Syl’: I call my style ‘street-conscious’ because even though it’s at times street life related it’s also very book smart. Like I said, I observe and read a lot and I sprinkle that with real street life experiences, it makes me stand out from most rappers who are either conscious or street oriented all the way. My flow is engaging but rarely aggressive, motivated but barely ambitious and this also makes my style very unique and often unheard of so it catches people’s ears.
Revista Mito: What would you like to transmit with your music?
Oncl’ Syl’: At the end of the day I want to be remembered as someone authentic who has always been ‘true to the game’, someone who spoke the truth. I want to open people’s eyes on what is really going on in life and in the streets from my own perspective. I feel like a lot of what’s out there is not right and my voice is here to enlighten it. I also want to warn the younger generation that although it’s great to have fun and party it’s not all bright lights because when the lights go down there are a lot of ugly things in this world we live in. I truly feel like there is a lack of respect for the pioneers, the elders, History, the past in general and I also want to let it be known. I’m not a preacher but knowledge is everything, knowledge may not make you a rich man but knowledge will make you righteous.
Revista Mito: Do you consider that your music is a kind of vehicle for social change?
Oncl’ Syl’: My music doesn’t vehicle social change but it will help you being aware of the pitfalls of society. I don’t get involved in all the fights, only the ones I feel concerned with and it’s not being selfish, it’s about giving your all for things that personally affect you.
Revista Mito: What is your last album about?
Oncl’ Syl’: I released my last album on my independent label 1804 MUZIK last year, it’s a digital EP called “Final Destination” that I recorded in Orlando and it came out on iTunes, Google Play and Virgin Media, entirely produced by two of the best beat makers, Drumwuks from France and Vybe from the US. The on-the-rise French photographer/videographer Hervé Piraud of DSLR Prod shot the video for the hot single ‘The French Quarter Pt. 2’ and it’s on heavy rotation on YouTube. I had called it “Final Destination” because I felt I had come full circle with my independent career, I wanted to reach higher grounds. It dealt with death a lot with songs like ‘Die Hard’ or ‘Once We Were Warriors’ but also about my Black heritage with ‘The French Quarter Pt. 2’ and the pursuit of financial happiness with the ‘Forbes 500’ record among others. Basically I wrote my testimony with that album because it was a time when I was not sure if I would be able to put out another one, it’s like I felt that I said it all!
Revista Mito: What can we expect from you in the next year?
Oncl’ Syl’: 2015 will be important for me as I’m getting ready to release a brand new single in French called ‘Vivre & Mourir à Paris’ (To Live & Die in Paris), I recorded it in Paris and it’s inspired by one of my favourite 2Pac’s songs ‘To Live and Die in L. A.’ it’s self-explanatory and it’s going to be a hit! Drumwuks made the beat and it’s incredible! I also have an awesome singer singing the chorus, her voice is just stunningly beautiful, and the chemistry of all of us matches for the best! The song will be mixed and mastered at StarLab in Dublin, Ireland, by Laidback, another top of the shelf French producer, we got ‘la crème de la crème’ working on this project so we cannot fail, we are shooting for the stars! I’m planning on doing shows to support the single and my music as a whole because I have a strong back catalogue and this hopefully will lead into the recording of a full-length album in French since I’m mostly based in Paris now and they will want to hear more of Oncl’ Syl’!
Revista Mito: Well, the interview has come to an end. It was a pleasure to know more about you and your music. Thank you very much
Oncl’ Syl’: Thank you very much for having me and showing me love with this great interview, it’s always the best thing when someone let the world know about Oncl’ Syl’ and remember that at the end of the day, this kid hailing from the ghetto of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, raised in France and in the US, will always remain international!
To my future fans, I have so much out, just go on iTunes, Google Play or many others digital platforms, download my music and tell a friend to tell a friend about Oncl’ Syl’!