“From the beginning, I’ve tried to break down boundaries. It’s more exciting and challenging for me and it also keeps the listener on his toes.”
Saturday, May 18
$12 advance/$15 day of show
21 & older
Crystal Bay Club
Crystal Bay, Nev.
There aren’t many guys out there like Lyrics Born. His background — half Japanese, half American — stands out in a music scene with little Asian representation. The Tokyo-born, Berkeley-raised rapper is acutely aware of his responsibility as the leading Asian American in the mixed bag of modern hip-hop stars.
“In the Bay Area, there are so many Asians doing hip-hop,” he says. “We’re a large and diverse group, so it’s inaccurate for people to point at me and say ‘he represents everybody.’ I would be portraying us inaccurately.”
But what LB does do is make things completely his own. With one of rap’s most distinctive voices, LB has dedicated his life to his craft, and with each album his creativity shines through. Far from normal, but without crossing the line into weird or experimental, Lyrics Born continues to push his music.
“I try to keep it interesting for myself and for the listener. I’m the type of person that gets bored really easily, so I need to have new challenges and cover new ground,” he explains.
With a booming, bluesy voice, LB has established himself as one of the most compelling figures in underground hip-hop, focusing on the understanding that listeners pay more attention to your flow than to which political cause you support. His production work is a highly refined melding of traditional boom bap, blues, funk, jazz and classical music. His unique sound and approach to music has even garnered him crossover success with the alternative rock crowd.
Lyrics Born is the ultimate MC. With a total command of the mic and a distinct, casual flow, he’s graced an assortment of projects eagerly embraced by hip-hip aficionados around the globe. In addition to his buttery, easygoing rap style, he also can bust into funk/soul-style singing and still sound dope. The Lyrics Born live experience consists of the MC and a full band, making him one of the few rappers with a band. There he goes pushing the envelope of innovation to the hip-hop scene again.
“I grew up listening to all kinds of hip-hop, and my whole goal is to be the most versatile MC that I could possibly be,” he says. “From the beginning, I’ve tried to break down boundaries. It’s more exciting and challenging for me, and it also keeps the listener on his toes.”
While the perfectionist, who incorporates hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul and reggae both vocally and musically, performs primarily on his own, he also is known as a great collaborator.
“I have to work with all kinds of artists if I’m gonna be able to get beyond my own limitations,” he says. “I love throwing people for a loop on my records and just putting combinations together that are gonna turn heads.”
The future looks bright for Lyrics Born because his love and respect for the music of the past shines within him. And, that carries to his audience.
“I try to get everybody involved, including the crowd. I try to turn them into part of the show,” he notes.
Perhaps the best way to sum up Lyrics Born is in his own words. As he puts it, “All that ever motivates me is to find new ways to stay inspired and find new ways of doing things.”
Lyrics Born plays Crystal Bay Club on May 18. For more show information, visit crystalbayclubcasino.com. For more information on Lyrics Born, visit lyricsborn.com.