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Culture | R&B’s newest leading lady

Syd tha Kyd mixes it up with The Internet

Acid jazz/soul/trip-hop group The Internet is the finest thing to come out of Odd Future. Composed of Syd “tha Kyd” Bennett, Matt Martians, Patrick Paige, Christopher Allan Smith, Jameel Bruner, and Steve Lacy, the band formed within the Tyler, The Creator conglomeration mid-2011, drawing on Syd tha Kid and Martians’ desire to create and explore a more mellow and romantic sound in comparison to Odd Future’s vitriol. In concert, The Internet is magnetic, as they were when they played in Montreal last month. Recorded, their newest album, Ego Death, washes over the listener like an opiate, lulling them into a dreamland of gossamer hooks and sultry bass lines.

In concert, The Internet is magnetic, as they were when they played in Montreal last month.

Frontwoman Syd tha Kyd is the group’s centre of gravity. In Vibe’s August cover story, she is described as “one of the hottest rising stars on the music scene,” who “appeals to all demographics, all sexes.” As a gay woman of colour, Syd tha Kyd challenges the heteronormativity of R&B and the slow-changing formulation of women in the music industry. Live, the alluring, yet edgy personality of the singer has the crowd falling in love left, right, and centre. Syd is a woman singing about other women, and the raw seductiveness that coats her lyrics is easy to respond to regardless of sexual orientation.

As a gay woman of colour, Syd tha Kyd challenges the heteronormativity of R&B and the slow-changing formulation of women in the music industry.

Syd, however, is far from commercializing it. When interviewed for Vibe, she said, “I’ve always been conscious not to take advantage of my sexual orientation because I don’t think it’s fair and it shouldn’t matter. I don’t see the big deal. […] I wanted people to find me through my music. Not, ‘here’s this gay new artist, if you’re gay you should listen to her.’”

Syd started out as the lone woman of the Odd Future hip hop collective. Both producer and DJ, Syd would play keys and mix behind the decks while Tyler, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis, and others crowd-surfed and moshed. Inspiring a similar character in the TV series Empire, Syd was the girl cool enough to hang with the boys. Underneath that cool, however, is a highly contemplative, emotionally sensitive vocalist with excellent taste in music. With the help of Martians and the others in her group, that potent combination is explored for the first time. Written off in the past as a fast-burning offshoot of the greater Odd Future collective, Ego Death and its sold-out North American tour dates beg to differ. The Internet has found its groove, and is now taking its place on the list of groups to watch out for.


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