Tokyo-born, Berkeley-bred rapper/producer Lyrics Born, who played a major role in creating the blueprint for independent rap labels as we know them today, will release his eighth album, Real People via his Mobile Home Recordings label on May 5th. Following the album he released as one-half of Latyrx, which NPR dubbed "hands-down, the best alt-rap album of the year," Lyrics Born continues to forge new territory with Real People. Enamored with New Orleans' history and musicians from all the years of touring and playing shows there, Lyrics Born uprooted his digs in The Bay Area to The Big Easy for two weeks to recruit the city's most talented musicians.
Recorded entirely in The Big Easy by Galactic's Robert Mercurio and Ben Ellman, the album follows the ethos Lyrics Born has maintained for his 20+ year career: doing things that neither he nor anyone else has done yet. Enlisting the talents of Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville, Galactic, Corey Henry, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, along with guest stars Corey Glover (Living Colour), David Shaw (The Revivalists), Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), and more, Lyrics Born occupies a space rarely seen in rap. No other non-NOLA rapper has dedicated a whole album working with all New Orleans funk musicians. "It might be the last true 'music town' in America, maybe in the world," states Lyrics Born. "As an artist and a person, I identify with the culture, the sensibilities, the lifestyle, and the people. I wanted to do something really soulful, organic, earthy, and with an honest, unpretentious funk feel. That's basically New Orleans."
Lyrics Born balances his trademark mix of clever, good-time party ethos with a strong dose of funk with Real People as an honest body of work about the human race. Sharing personal experiences such as emigrating from Japan as a kid, fatherhood, and the direction society has turned in post-great-recession America, Lyrics Born also celebrates adulthood and the pains and joys of growing older. As he explains it, "I talk a lot of foolish shit and cuss my ass off and explore my darker side on certain songs. Hopefully we get a good cross-section of ourselves to explore on this album." With the upcoming release of the album, Lyrics Born has arrived at a well-rounded sound that is classic and yet futuristic. He hasn't forgotten his humble beginnings, but he's never been afraid to look to the future, either.