A crucial founding member of the Northern Cali-birthed Solesides / Quannum collective – which included DJ Shadow and Blackalicious, among others – and one half of the groundbreaking Latyrx duo (with Lateef The Truthspeaker), Lyrics Born opened a lot of ears and minds with his 2003 solo debut, Later That Day…
On this very open-minded and chiefly self-produced long player, Lyrics Born and his crew (including Joyo Velarde, on vocals; guitarist Tommy Guerrero and Germany’s funk masters Poets of Rhythm) bring it from the funk side, boasting a warm soul stew instead of colder drum machine-based beats and chopped samples.
As shown since his earliest days, the incredibly versatile Lyrics Born mixes his flow up depending on the track, from tongue-twistingly fast to conversationally mundane, and concepts are usually at the forefront – “Cold Call” is an amusing take on telemarketers, featuring Gift of Gab; “Before And After” is about friends growing apart; “Bad Dreams” is a groovy apocalyptic shaker. The infectious “Callin’ Out” rides the party train and “Stop Complaining” timeshares between funny and serious. “Do That There” features DJ Cut Chemist with liquid cuts that work around LB’s verbal floor routine.
And even after all of the other musical fireworks, the album’s crescendo most assuredly comes on track eleven, “The Last Trumpet”: operatically dramatic and powerful, with Lyrics Born and Latyrx-mate Lateef trading verses like “the only action / we can profit from / is movement towards / the positive / progressive thought / that’s rooted up / in consciousness” at breakneck pace.