Lynx T'chass, or Emcee Lynx was an anarchist hip hop artist from the San Francisco Bay Area who achieved significant popularity and name-recognition in the West Coast hip hop and underground hip hop scenes and among anarchists and other radicals around the world. In 2006, he was described by Donegal Press magazine as "without a doubt one of the hottest rappers in the underground hip-hop scene today" and was described as "The next KRS-1" and the successor to House of Pain.
He used his music and writing both for self-expression and to advocate for political and social change. He performed at many anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-globalization and other demonstrations, along with fund raisers and benefits for radical causes and community groups. He was also very active in Occupy Wall Street protests nationally, and at Occupy Oakland in particular, performing for the General Assembly on the first night of the occupation. His band, Beltaine's Fire donated the profits from sales of their third album, Anarchitecture 3 to OWS groups around the country. He has also recorded songs for benefit albums in support of various groups, including the Anarchist Black Cross and Iraq Veterans Against the War.
All of his solo music was independently produced and released on a 'pay what you can' basis via bandcamp and Jamendo as MP3s under a Creative Commons license. Fans are encouraged to donate to help cover costs but it is entirely optional. He is an outspoken supporter of file sharing and has stated that he looks forward to the day when file sharing and other decentralized means of distribution finally bankrupt the recording industry and leave issues of payment to be decided directly between artists and fans.
Lynx's politics can be generally described as anarchist, but he also referred to himself as an autonomist, indigenist and feminist and described his vision of an ideal future as a blend between anarcho-syndicalism and mutualism. He augments the traditional anarchist emphasis on class with a heavy emphasis on culture and history. According to interviews, his major political influences include Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, Michael Collins, Lucy Parsons, and Mutualists like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. He is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World supports their organizing and links to their website. He was formerly a member of the Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA), a non-sectarian grouping of class-struggle oriented anarchists from across North America that includes Syndicalists, Libertarian Socialists, Especificists, and others.
Lynx's heavy emphasis on history and culture have led him to incorporate traditional Celtic music instruments and melodies into his music (his background is Scottish and Irish). He is an outspoken supporter of the rights of ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, First Nations, and stateless nations "from Chiapas to Chechnya, Ireland to Tibet" and argues that those fighting for national liberation would be better off fighting for self-determination in an anarchist framework instead of trying to create new Nation-States.
He is vocal in his opposition to organized religion.
Lynx is also significant because he was an early advocate for File Sharing and was one of the most successful artists in the world in using the Internet as a medium to promote and distribute his work prior to the creation of sites like Myspace and iTunes that helped mainstream online music distribution. As imesh.com 4 put it in August 2002:
Since the release of his first album (Soundtrack for Insurrection Volume I) in early 2001, Emcee Lynx has gained international recognition in Hip-Hop's Conscious underground as one of the most articulate and innovative of a rising tide of politically active artists - winning him grassroots distribution and a loyal fan base from California to the Czech Republic.
In terms of sound, Lynx is hard to pigeonhole since his sound has changed so much with each album. This is intentional, in interviews he describes his musical vision as trying to "stretch the boundaries of hip hop" as widely as possible, and is thus constantly incorporating new elements. These range from the heavy 'electronic-industrial-metal-hardcore rap' fusion on his first album to smoother trip-hop and funk influenced sounds to bass-driven 'west coast' styles. He produces most of his own instrumentals, but has collaborated with a wide range of producers in several countries. Frequent collaborators include Dub Sea of Working Classic Records in London, England, DJ Phoney of Phoney Records in Cologne, Germany, and Kdubbs of Urban Underground in San Jose, California. The Unamerican LP (2004) also featured three instrumentals by members of the Live Oak Collective from San Jose.
Lynx has also been a pioneer in Celtic Hip Hop, a new style of Celtic fusion that fuses Celtic melodies with hip hop beats and vocals. His band, Beltaine's Fire 5 is one of the first to play a true fusion of Celtic music and Hip Hop. They have released three full length albums and a free live demo.