Lyrics Born: As U Were on the Auto Reverse Tour 10.26.10
If you’re wondering, "Is Lyrics Born still fresh and vital in the hip hop scene as he used to be?"
Yes. He is.
Though he's venturing even further into the realms of power funk, Lyrics Born—formerly Asia Born and best known now as LB—still remains important for conscious hip hop heads (yes, we still exist). He was as lively as the last time I caught him after 2005’s release of Same !@#$ Different Day during an L.A. Knitting Factory show. After the show I approached him, told him what a great time I had and he was very cordial back. The venue was literally shaking during the performance from excitement and the bass funk his band was pumping out.
Auto Reverse Tour
Though some things have changed since then—he married his turbo hottie backup singer Joyo Velarde and increased in renown—he’s still pumping out conscious raps “contemporaries” can only dream about. Conscious enough to stop the concert (The Auto Reverse tour with Chali 2na and Rakka) and give proppers to the city of Salt, wherein he used to reside as a kid after moving here from Tokyo. He gave plenty of respect to the valley and former places he used to kick it at then livened the crowd up with some more nonstop funk.
He went full bore for almost 30 minutes with song after song and no breaks to pump the crowd from the moment he got onstage. Chali 2na came out to guest on a few tracks and Rakaa (from Dilated Peoples ) did, as well. But the star of the show was LB. I’m a Chali 2na fan, don’t get me wrong, but 2na was doing a bunch of J5 tracks and LB was pure, self-produced funk.
As U Were
The show was also the date of LB’s latest album release As U Were. LB said the show was an unofficial release party but he had the crowd dancing like it was an official, red carpet event. I picked up a copy and have been noting and enjoying tracks I first heard LB perform live the day it was released. That hasn’t happened with an artist for quite some time and I’m glad it was with one of my longtime favorites from the Quannum/Solesides Crew I grew up on. Though he’s somewhat abandoned the “pure” hip hop aspect that made me fall in love with his work, the glory days of Latyrx and his first few albums, I can dig the funk now. It’s dancing music—while being enlightening and a highlight of ongoing social ills in the world, at the same time—and that is something not to take for granted.
Don’t misinterpret, either, LB is still one of the best rappers out there, his delivery is lightening fast and impeccable. He kept the crowd pumped for about 1.5 hours, which is saying something for the already 2 hour long show that took place before him and the school night the State Room show was being held on. But don't expect LB to do that with a DJ. His touring group is comprised of a drummer, keyboardist, bassist, guitarist/singer and a backup vocalist. They all play an important role in getting that trademark Lyrics Born sound out and help in the energy production with solos and group work to create slow motion an d freeze frame elements that are hard to describe.
Here’s a video for one of my favorite tracks from the new album, “Lies X3”
If you’re curious about the new album’s star roster, here’s a lift from the Lyrics Born website, where you can visit for track previews and editions of the infamous LBTV, regarding guest artists on the new album: “AS U WERE includes an array of superstar guests including Sam Sparro, Francis and The Lights, Lateef the Truthspeaker, The Gift of Gab, Jake One, Trackademicks, Clyde Carson, Joyo Velarde and more.” I personally enjoy the bonus track “Something Better” featuring Francis and the Lights, and “We Live By The Beat”. Do yourself a favor, catch this cat the next time he’s in town. You’re welcome in advance.