Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Lyrics Born, Everywhere at Once

Lyrics Born is a Japanese-American MC out of San Francisco who has made a modest career out of going his own way in the face of hip-hop convention.  Rather than team up with a producer who creates beats in the studio, Lyrics Born plays with a band.  His tunes also place a heavy emphasis on singing and most of his guest artists are singers rather than rappers.

In some respects Everywhere at Once is the polar opposite of the Roots’ Rising Down reviewed in the previous post.  Lyrics Born is deeply into funk and R&B and in terms of musicianship his band is leagues beyond the members of Roots.  Everywhere at Once is also better recorded than Rising Down which makes listening to it a more pleasant experience at the basic sonic level.  On the other hand, the Roots challenge their listeners with thoughtful observations on American social, political and economic life while Lyrics Born doesn’t have much of interest to say.  Most of his raps are about his latest infatuation or how proud he is of overcoming whatever he thinks he’s overcme to be as wonderful as he thinks he is.   Everywhere at Once also includes two tedious skits and if you’re really out of shape you can burn some extra calories racing to the CD changer to skip past them whenever they come on. 

Everywhere at Once shines musically.  First song “Don’t Change” rides on a funk groove that is so solid that it’s almost imposible to sit still while it plays.  Lyrics Born also has a deep feel for this music so the rhythm of his rap is tight with the groove.  It’s a an outstanding track.  The rest of the album presents a survey of ’80s and late ’70s funk and R&B.   “Cakewalk” combines a Cameo bassline with an Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson chorus.  Another good track and those are only two of many.  Lyrics Born has a first-rate funk band with Uriah Duffy a standout on bass. 

If you like funk and R&B melded with hip-hop Everywhere at Once is more than worth a listen.  In fact, it’s a good album to use to introduce people to hip-hop who don’t know very much about it and say they don’t like it, but who enjoy funk.  If you want challenging and thoughful lyrical content you’ll have to look elsewhere but if you want to dance and have a good time, it’s here.


08/04/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Heya!

    I have this album. It’s good. A very lackadaisical feel. Solid beats and dreamy samples.

    Comment by ElGuappa | 11/21/2008 | Reply

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