Brotha Lynch Hung Isn't Recognized as a Rap Pioneer, but He Should Be

Categories: hip-hop

Gangbangin' doesn't excite Brotha Lynch Hung anymore, nor does the topic of his cult following, one that's grown exponentially throughout his 27-year career. At 42, the seminal Californian rapper lights up when talking about his upcoming barbecue cookbook or the screenplays he's working on. But make no mistake -- Lynch, who goes by the name Kevin Mann when he's not on stage -- is more popular and motivated than he's ever been, currently showcasing his talents on Strange Music's "Independent Powerhouse" tour.

"I've been around people who weren't inspired, who were ready to give up, and that kind of weighs me down, so being around these young guns and really getting out inspires me," Mann says, backstage at Tucson's Rialto Theatre. "I'm ready to go home and do another album now."

Mann is startlingly humble, hair tucked neatly under a black do-rag, the occasional smile crossing his face, and affable eye contact that's averted when his legendary status is brought up. His mannerisms are juxtaposed against the character that he assumes when rapping -- one of hyperviolence and gore, the sort of horror film fodder that's been a staple of his work for the majority of his career.

BLH_T by K.C. Libman.JPG
Kristian C. Libman
Brotha Lynch Hung and Trizz
Though the mainstream rap press isn't proclaiming it, we never would have known the likes of Odd Future, Danny Brown, or virtually any rapper that adopts the "horrorcore" label if it weren't for Mann. His conceptual approach to his work, from 1997's stoner classic Loaded to his recent Coathanga Strangla trilogy, is nothing but ambitious, even when he isn't backed by a major label. Now that he's found a home on independent giant Strange Music, however, Mann is seeing a resurgence in fans unlike at any other point in his career, regardless of the big names, like Brown, who now cite him as an influence.

"The new fans that Strange gave me, it lets me know that I still have it," he says. "These kids could easily not know my older stuff and think I'm brand new. They're showing me I still got it."

With new fans come a crop of talent attempting to follow in Mann's sizable footsteps. Such an act came knocking in the form of Arthur Lea III, known as Trizz, a 21-year-old Compton-based actor-cum-rapper whom Mann has taken under his wing. Currently with Mann on what is being billed the Strange Music tour, Lea's found both a mentor and a brother in Mann.

"He looks at me and sees a younger self," Lea says, seated beside Mann. "This is fam; we treat each other like blood. If it wasn't fam, I wouldn't be here."

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