Tokyo-born, Berkeley-bred rapper/producer Lyrics Born, who played a major role in creating the blueprint for independent rap labels as we know them today, will release his eighth album, ‘Real People’ via his Mobile Home Recordings label on May 5th. Following the album he released as one-half of Latyrx, which NPR dubbed “hands-down, the best alt-rap album of the year,” Lyrics Born continues to forge new territory with ‘Real People’. Enamored with New Orleans’ history and musicians from all the years of touring and playing shows there, Lyrics Born uprooted his digs in The Bay Area to The Big Easy for two weeks to recruit the city’s most talented musicians.
Recorded entirely in The Big Easy by Galactic’s Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman, the album follows the ethos Lyrics Born has maintained for his 20+ year career: doing things that neither he nor anyone else has done yet. Enlisting the talents of Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville, Galactic, Corey Henry, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, along with guest stars Corey Glover (Living Colour), David Shaw (The Revivalists), Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), and more, Lyrics Born occupies a space rarely seen in rap. No other non-NOLA rapper has dedicated a whole album working with all New Orleans funk musicians. “It might be the last true ‘music town’ in America, maybe in the world,” states Lyrics Born. “As an artist and a person, I identify with the culture, the sensibilities, the lifestyle, and the people. I wanted to do something really soulful, organic, earthy, and with an honest, unpretentious funk feel. That’s basically New Orleans.”
Lyrics Born balances his trademark mix of clever, good-time party ethos with a strong dose of funk with Real People as an honest body of work about the human race. Sharing personal experiences such as emigrating from Japan as a kid, fatherhood, and the direction society has turned in post-great-recession America, Lyrics Born also celebrates adulthood and the pains and joys of growing older. As he explains it, “I talk a lot of foolish shit and cuss my ass off and explore my darker side on certain songs. Hopefully we get a good cross-section of ourselves to explore on this album.” With the upcoming release of the album, Lyrics Born has arrived at a well-rounded sound that is classic and yet futuristic. He hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings, but he’s never been afraid to look to the future, either.
About Lyrics Born:
Boasting a successful career as a fiercely independent artist Lyrics Born is truly a visionary. The Japanese-American rapper/producer who has been a music obsessive since his youth, got his start in the early ’90s among the music stacks at UC Davis’ radio station.
Freestyles among a group of classmates became the first single on the newly minted Solesides Records, a collaborative venture between himself, Blackalicious (MC Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel), DJ Shadow, and Lateef The Truthspeaker, an East Oakland rapper with whom he found a shared affinity for the rapid-fire lyrical volleys that would define the next step. As Latyrx, the two MCs released ‘The Album’, in 1997. The LP would go on to become a certified classic, selling 100,000 copies. Solesides was re-imagined as Quannum Projects in 1999 through which, as co-owner, LB used to deliver his most realized project, 2003’s ‘Later That Day’.
The album yielded his biggest commercial success to date, “Callin’ Out,” which charted nationally and was featured in several major motion pictures, television shows, EA Sports games as well as a Diet Coke spot featuring Adrian Brody. The remix LP, ‘Same !@#$ Different Day’ was released shortly after and he followed up in 2008 with ‘Everywhere At Once’, a varied studio disk that signaled a departure from the sample-based pieces he had become known for, supplementing the sound with a full band and a healthy does of synthesizers.
His next solo release was ‘As U Were’, followed by the Latyrx album, ‘The Second Album‘, which broke a 20 year silence between Latyrx releases. Famed critic Robert Christgau called it a “gorgeous and contemplative” album and deemed it “hands-down the alt-rap album of the year” for NPR’s “All Things Considered”.
With the upcoming release of LB’s eighth album, ‘Real People’, which was recorded entirely in New Orleans and features some of the city’s best famed musicians, LB has arrived at well-rounded sound that is classic and yet futuristic. Tom Shimura hasn’t forgotten how he got here, but he’s never been afraid to look to the future, either.
You can give his title track a listen below…
You can pre-order Lyrics Born’s ‘Real People’ album on iTunes!!!