Lyrics Born - "I Like It, I Love It" (Everywhere At Once)
For the last 10 years, Lyrics Born has been an all-around consistent rapper. Aside from having one of the more recognizable vocal timbres around, his albums were always well produced. His debut with Lateef the Truth Speaker, Latyrx (1997), influenced the sound of left-coast independent hip-hop and 2006’s live recording, Overnite Encore captured Born’s live presence and crowd-moving abilities. Everywhere At Once, LB’s latest full-length, attempts to expand the frame of the Bay Area MC’s past work with “live” samples and a devil-may-care attitude.
Unfortunately, the album’s title hints all too well at the pitfalls within: a distracted record that is at once predictable and overreaching. Everywhere At Once takes the listener in disparate directions, sacrificing innovation and bumbling both message and method. “Don’t Change,” the album’s first track, is a well-intentioned opener, but still falls about a decade late on the ‘I’m still the same guy, success notwithstanding’ theme. An unsurprising synthesizer and kick drum pattern kick it off, followed by a snare/hand clap amalgam that we get to know ad nauseam over the course of the next 40 minutes. For a record that claims to be omnipresent, Everywhere At Once apparently only has one drum sample.
To be fair, Lyrics Born’s subtlety clearly wasn’t a priority this time around. Everywhere At Once skips right to the afterparty, something Born did well on 2003’s Later That Day. While this means hair-splitting on certain aesthetic decisions is a waste of time, there’s no denying the songs’ unsettling familiarity – consistent to a fault. For instance, the beat and verses from “I Like It, I Love It” sound eerily similar to Latyrx’s now decade-old banger, “Lady Don’t Tek No.”
There are many moments here when the good times roll effectively enough, but rarely as well as past Born efforts. The majority of Everywhere at Once simply sounds like a Lyrics Born remix of your favorite party playlist. The bar may be open, but it’s lower than ever.