As a musician, especially as the frontman of a group, it’s important to be bold, and to hold nothing back while performing. For Sudden Death Symdrome’s Emcee Motormouth, that’s no problem at all.
Born Jeff Lupinski, he said he got his stage name when the bassist for a group he was in, Kubrick’s Message, thought he spoke a lot, so he gave him his moniker: Emcee Motormouth.
“It was due to the fact that I’m a very talkative person,” Lupinski explained. “I tend to elongate my conversations, like, I’ll explain very thoroughly.”
The bassist didn’t let up, and Lupinski took a liking to it.
“And after a few weeks, I decided that I am kind of an emcee. So I might as well take that and use it to my advantage,” Lupinski said. “So, since then, I have always used Emcee Motomouth in any band or group I was in.”
When Kubrick’s Message disbanded after eight years of performing around Detroit, Lupinski decided he wanted change his musical style — Lupinski said Kubrick’s Message sounded like “The Deftones meets Alice in Chains.”
Eventually, Lupinski landed on the self-described “ghetto tech/hip-hop.” Now, his group just needed a name.
“I decided that I wanted to create a new group that was going to purposely piss people off,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I find bands and artists that purposely do this to be exciting and fun. It’s almost like avant garde art in itself.” It was in 2009 that Lupinski paired up with his friend Jared to create the group that would become Sudden Death Syndrome.
“I just wrote downfive names and picked one,” Lupinski said, explaining how the group got its unusual name. “I think it was more of something that looked different in the eyes of any hip-hop head that I was shooting for. Plus, it sounds dope.”
Lupinski, openly gay, also isn’t afraid to use his latest platform to talk about his homosexuality. His LGBT-centric lyrics don’t shy away from using male pronouns, like in “In Love With A Fiend” when he raps “I’m in love with a fiend / What you see is what you get boy.”
The effect of this boldness has been a double-edged sword, however. On the one hand, it’s been the first time that Lupinski has been able to truly express himself, and the group has gained a cult following; On the other, Lupinski said his openness about his sexuality has hurt his ability to be visible everywhere he wants to be.
“I find it very hard in the Detroit music scene to find gigs,” he said. “Most booking agents or promoters do not want to take the chance on an artist who fits in a supposed subculture unless it’s already a fad. I always end up finding gigs but not at the level that I think we could and should be at. I also don’t ever want to be associated with ‘weird’ bands or ‘joke’ acts. For some reason, some booking people see what my lyrics are about and pin this image up of me as a sideshow or something, sadly.”
Still, Lupinski continues in his regular, bold fashion.
“Stereotypes of gay, bi, trans people have been so played out, even in music,” Lupinski said. “I want people to know you can perform whatever kind of music or make any kind of art form you choose. No matter what you are, you should never feel ashamed. Because it sucks to have to hide the truth from everybody, even yourself.”
For more information on Emcee Motormouth and the Sudden Death Syndrome, visit suddendeathsyndromedetroit.com.