On Saturday, March 10, USCB is fortunate to have the dynamic hip hop artist Lyrics Born performing at the Hub. The fact is, despite Lyrics Born’s unique talent for blending his melodic voice with hip hop beats, you won’t catch him on the local mainstream “Hip Hop y M‡s” radio station. However, Lyrics Born is emerging from the Oakland underground. His music is showcased in commercials for Diet Coke and Motorola, on television shows such as “Gilmore Girls,” and an upcoming performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
True to his name, Lyrics Born does not shy away from the challenge of using intricate rhyme schemes and an incredibly extensive vocabulary. Perhaps his lyrical skill is aided by the knowledge he gained as a student at UC Davis. It was there that Lyrics Born teamed up with artists like DJ Shadow, Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab from Blackalicious and Lateef the Truthspeaker to co-found the label Quannum Music. Together this Bay Area-based crew is revitalizing] underground hip hop. In the same cooperative spirit, artists such as Dan the Automator, Mistah F.A.B., Jurassic 5 and Pigeon John collaborated on the album The Lyrics Born Variety Show: Season Two C.
Lyrics Born is a true exhibitionist who infuses his performance with even more energy by having a live funk band join him on stage. In October 2006, Lyrics Born made the excitement of his live performance available to the public with the release of the album Overnite Encore: Lyrics Born Live!
Lyrics Born, or Tom Shimura, is Japanese and Italian-American and was born in Tokyo and raised in Berkeley. Though his ethnicity does not factor into his creative expression, it does give Lyrics Born an individual background that brings another unique dynamic to his music. In his single “Callin’ Out” Lyrics Born addresses his experiences in the music industry, singing, “I ain’t forgot about the pain and all the mistreatments/ I ain’t forgot the little box they try to wiggle me in.”
Hip hop is not dead, just hard to find; but on Saturday, March 10, Lyrics Born will be at the Hub to prove there is hope for hip hop.