Apr 13, 2008 - 8:07 PM
Just when you thought you would be plagued by the next string of T-Pain singles, Berkeley’s finest emcee Lyrics Born returns just in time for your spring barbecue with his newest release Everywhere at Once, out April 22 on Anti-.
As the title implies, Lyrics Born (Tom Shimura) is scattered all over the place, displaying his lyrical prowess on everything from relationships to racial identity to grieving a lost friend. The beats are equally schizophrenic. The album goes from smooth R & B grooves on “Is It The Skin I’m In” to the dancehall melodies of “Top Shelf” to the B52s meets Devo track “Do You Buy It?” While “Do You Buy It?” is definitely the odd track of the bunch, it’s also one of the best and shows his creative range.
In addition to demonstrating his superior mic skills, Lyrics Born also takes his turn as comedian. Everywhere at Once includes two hilarious skits: “Shoe Hoes Anonymous” and “Homeland security,” in which he makes the almost fatal mistake of going through airport security with a Capri Sun.
Still Mr. Shimura doesn’t stray too far from his roots and there are plenty of infectious dance tracks set to spread faster than chicken pox at a preschool. The funked out “Hot 2 Deff,” featuring ex-Jurassic 5 member Chali 2na, and “I Like It, I Love It” are ridiculously catchy. Guest appearances from Alameda rapper Trackademicks, singer Baby James and wife Joyo Velarde provide smooth hooks that complement Lyrics Born’s trademark laid back sing-song delivery.
Everywhere at Once is experimentation done right and firmly establishes Lyrics Born as a hip-hop renegade.
Kimberly Turner is a 23-year-old graduate of San Francisco State University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, going to concerts and digging through the used CD bins at Rasputin Music. If she wasn't a journalist she'd be a pastry chef.