Lyrics Born knew he was pushing his personal envelope when he made his latest album, “As You Were,” which came out in October.
Adding a more keyboard-dominated electrofunk flavor to his sound, the Berkeley, Calif.-based Japanese-American rapper made an acknowledged “departure” from what his fans knew and loved about his music. But he felt the move was necessary.
“It was intentional,” explains Lyrics Born (real name Tsutomu “Tom” Shimura), who’s also part of the duo Latryx with Lateef the Truthspeaker. I thought I’d said everything I could say in the style that I’d used in the past. I thought it was time for me to hit refresh on the browser, so to speak, and sort of pay homage to an era that had been influential to me.
“On this particular album I had a lot to say, personally, and I wanted to do it in a musical environment that maybe I had dabbled in before but now I finally had the opportunity to really proceed with it, and that’s what I did.”
Lyrics Born says the album — which features collaborations with Lateef, Francis and the Lights, The Gift of Gab and Galactic drummer Stanton Moore is all part of his “personal artistic journey” and that he expects to make more creative left turns as time goes on. Fortunately, he adds, he seems to have fans who connect with that wandering muse.
“I always seem to end up making a different album every time,” he notes, “and I guess that’s both good and bad if you’re a listener. It’s a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, people have been willing to take these wild rides with me, but at the same time I never know what I’m going to do, so I have to give in to where the creative spirit leads me.”
Lyrics Born and Keys N Krates perform Sunday, Jan. 30, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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