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Music Review: Lyrics Born – Everywhere at Once

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On “Don’t Change,” the opening track of Everywhere at Once, San Francisco-based rapper Lyrics Born stresses the importance of not changing who you are for anybody or anything. It’s a paradoxical statement since the production on the half-Japanese rapper’s second-solo release is almost entirely provided by a live band. The deft samples from Later that Day are mostly absent, replaced with takes and loops from actual musicians. The result is a funky, consistent hip-hop album that allows the clever rapper to do what he does best.  

Each track is laced with Lyrics Born’s quick, intelligent wordplay. His raspy, simmered drawl, along with the Sly & the Family-inspired funk of the production, instils the album with an energy that never lets up. Many of the tracks like “Rules Were Meant to Be Broken” and “The World Is Calling” detail the rapper’s desire and pursuit to be a creative artist. The style of the album definitely supports his craving, as it incorporates R&B, modern rap elements, and some pop sensibilities into the sound. Lyrics Born refuses to let any aspect of his music to be placed in a box, which is great to see in a musical artist.

Lyrics Born’s wife Joyo Valerde and Myron Glasper appear on many of the tracks, providing the album with many juicy hooks. Tracks like “Differences” and “I’m a Phreak,” deal with women and relationships and all work in the flow of the album, with the glaring exception being the Rastafarian-tinged “Top Shelf,” but this misstep isn’t enough to derail the album’s quality.

Accompanied with the lyrically dexterous Chali Tuna, the rapper showcases the b-boy braggadocio on "Hott 2 Deff" that helped shine a light on the Quannum family and Tuna’s own Jurassic 5. One of the other highlights on the album is the eccentric “Do U Buy It,” which sounds what Devo would have done had they ventured into hip-hop. The track attacks and rebukes the current administration and governmental practices of selling false truths to the population

Everywhere at Once is another solid release for the Quannum juggernaut and another step forward Lyrics Born. It'll be interesting to see where the next step leads him.

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