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Earlier this year, we reported that Chase Mcarthur Cauthen, the 21-year-old rapper then known as Syringe, had gone missing. For over two weeks this June he was unaccounted for, last seen in Commerce City, Denver. Friends and fans were understandably concerned, citing his behavior around the time as “stranger than usual.”
In late 2016 and early 2017, Mcarthur made a name for himself as one of the most subversive rappers on the internet. With tracks ranging from noisy and obstructive to gorgeous and heartbreaking, it was incredibly hard to pin him down. Drifting between outsider-pop and genuinely challenging rap, he amassed a cult following for a reason. Tracks like “A,” which is just him ad-libbing “Aye” over a beat for a couple of minutes, and the apathetic "I Don't Like You" only further fueled his status a DIY cult legend.
He's a self-admitted troll at times, and this much is clear with tracks like "A," but his disappearance was anything but a joke. "I had a mental episode where I was just super out and about in Colorado," he explained over email. "Then I went into hospitals and mental facilities with no contact with anybody and it was wild, a definite wake-up call." When friends and fans noticed he'd been a little quieter, there was an outpouring of support for him hoping for the best.
Thankfully, he resurfaced not long after, and he did so possessing a new alias. Announcing that he was to abandon the name Syringe, he dropped his first project as Sybyr a month after. "What prompted the change," he told me, "was just [that] while I was missing I went to hospital and behavior centers and back, so I figured I should just change it to avoid more trouble. I was getting into some stuff with the law in different places [and] it was too much."
With a name as severe as Syringe, it created difficulties for him and no doubt put potential listeners off at times. Him and his Anti-World clan (formerly Weirdclvn) were subject to these troubles when they played SXSW. "People didn't even want us to perform, like they purposely took their time to delay and skip our set."
With the name change he released Netgeer, and it marks something of an aesthetic change for him. The songs on it are often short and considerably less noisy than his previous output, opting for a different kind of experimental approach. Tracks like the delightfully strange "Broiled Mode" and the melodic "101 Dalmatians" showcase a gleeful desire to expand, offering a release easier to digest but no less unique.
"The direction I'm slipping into is deadass scary," he explained, maintaining that it was anything but a conscious effort to drop an album so different. He doesn't seem particularly eager to clear up all the mysteries about him, either, explaining that he's from the DMV and currently situated in Chicago, despite what he told us before.
It's hard to tell at times whether he's being genuine or acting on his "urge to troll," as he puts it to us. But that's part of what makes him such an interesting figure, refusing to satisfy the inherent desire to fully comprehend the incomprehensible. "Recently found out I'm part Cherokee," he answered when asked for more details about himself. Regardless of if he's being genuine, it's easy to see his future is already looking a lot brighter than it did before.
Listen to Netgeer in full below, and check out our previous interview with Sybyr from when he was known as Syringe here.