Dusted Reviews

Lyrics Born - Same !@#$ Different Day

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Lyrics Born

Album: Same !@#$ Different Day

Label: Quannum Projects

Review date: Jul. 17, 2005

Among hip-hop heads – the artists, critics, and fanboys who constitute the genre’s cognoscenti – the word “flow” is shorthand for the way a rapper recites his verses. To hear heads consistently emphasize rappers’ flows in discussions, reviews and across online message boards, one might imagine that the word is exacting, a fairly precise measurement of talent and ability. Yet “flow” is obtuse. The word accounts for a rapper’s rhyme scheme, assonance, cadence and rhythm but makes no overt appeal to those more deliberate terms. Rather as a burlap sack envelopes its contents, “flow” lassoes a rapper’s various poetic devices in one dull package. For English majors who spent semesters parsing stanzas, “flow” is a lazy description. For the rest of us, however, it is efficient. If a rapper sounds good, he’s got flow. If he doesn’t, I’ll bet good money his verses drip. Or worse, clog.

It is an understatement to say that California-based Lyrics Born has flow. Rather, Lyrics Born, who has entertained hip-hop audiences for over the past decade, raps in currents. Most rappers are lucky to have one surefire flow, one manner of rapping over a beat that compels listeners and consumers. Lyrics Born has several. Like his Quannum labelmate, Gift of Gab, Lyrics Born rhymes in double-timed rushes of syllables. But unlike Gab, Lyrics Born also speaks in a relaxed, plum trickle. His slower flows on Same !@#$ Different Day, as in “Over You” and his classic sing-song “I Changed My Mind,” remixed twice here, are by far the best verses on the album.

Lyrics Born’s stroll is cousins with the drawl of Houston’s somnolent Skrewed overdubs, but lacks Skrewed’s hallucinogenic and strangely melancholy undertones. DJ Skrew and his progeny decelerated hip hop to better express the humidity of the south; a child of California’s beaches, however, Lyrics Born simply chills. He owes much of his sound to the relaxed slap bass of his G-Funk forefathers. (His rasp is an eerie echo of Tone Loc, one of the West Coast’s first bona fide rap stars.) Most of Same !@#$ Different Day is slick and warm, like a beach in the wake of a receding tide. As such, the album seems fit for the summer’s outdoor cantinas, board shorts, and wraparound shades. Hip hop, as the adage goes, started out in the park. Lyrics Born takes it to the timeshare.

Same !@#$ Different Day is mostly a remix project – seven of the 15 songs are new renditions of previously released Lyrics Born material. The new material is uneven. “I’m Just Raw,” produced by Dan the Automator, takes aim at self-righteous rappers, but misses. It’s hard to take Lyrics Born seriously when “I’m Just Raw” follows the ego-trumpeting of “Pack Up” featuring Evidence of Dilated Peoples and KRS-One, two performers whose braggadocio has grown disproportionate to their relevance and, frankly, overall skill. “The Bay” is pleasant enough, however, and “Over You,” an R&B song that emphasizes the blues more than the rhythm, surprises. A threatening narrative that paints Lyrics Born as a sexual predator, “Over You” reveals a sinister edge in Born’s pacing voice.

Slowing the speed of his delivery, Lyrics Born cuts two ways: he evokes the bonhomie of the July boardwalk but, by the same stroke slightly tweaked, also connotes the loneliness and desolation of Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.” It is a surprising turn for Lyrics Born. Here’s hoping he explores it further on his next, more substantial, release.

By Ben Yaster

Other Reviews of Lyrics Born

Later That Day

Everywhere At Once

Read More

View all articles by Ben Yaster

Find out more about Quannum Projects

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.