Aug 12, 2009 - 5:50 PM
Lyrics Born, the pride of Berkeley, is back and stronger than ever. With his new mixtape, The Lyrics Born Variety Show: Season Pho, LB blends together intense club beats, worldly instruments and sounds straight from the golden age of hip-hop to create songs as addictive as heroin. The mixtape includes exclusive tracks, unreleased songs, remixes and collaborative joints for other artists' projects.
My favorite element of the album is how he pays homage to the rappers that came before him through his production. He loops the sample from A Tribe Called Quest's "Lyrics To Go" in the opening track, the socially aware "The Divide Is Widening." The flow, tone, and beat from Gang Starr's classic "Take It Personal" is used in the track "Stay Professional." "Put 'Em Up" (off Tel Aviv-based DJ crew Soulico's upcoming Exotic on the Speaker) starts out like a traditional Middle Eastern song but, over the course of two minutes, transitions into a club banger with help from a sample from Rob Base's "It Takes Two." Prince, Whodini, and De La Soul also receive the Lyrics Born treatment on "I'm a Phreak" and "Make It Good," respectively. Even without these samples, the rhymes remain pleasant to listen to and refreshingly intelligent.
With smooth tracks like "Ill Vacation" (from The Mighty Underdogs' Droppin' Science Fiction) and "The Utmost Versastyle," it's no surprise that Lyrics Born is one of the most successful indie rappers of all-time. Lyrics Born can go pound for pound with the hip-hop heavyweights of today and knock em out with no hesitation. He's just that good.
Taj Simmons, aka the Boy Wonder, is a recent graduate of the Bay Area Multicultural Media Academy. In his free time he freestyles, plays baseball, and searches for a good glass of horchata.