ONE OF THE UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP’S MOST HERALDED PERFORMERS, LYRICS BORN TAKES TIME OUT TO DISCUSS HIS LEGACY AS A LEADING HIP HOP TOURIST AND WHY HE ALWAYS LOOKS FORWARD TO ROCKING AUSTRALIA’S SUMMER.
LYRICS BORN interviewed @ 16:30 AEST – Monday 7th December, 2009
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Leading the new vanguard of West Coast hip hop, Lyrics Born stays as active as ever, polishing up his fourth studio album in between jet-setting live heaters around the globe. As one half of the duo Latyrx (with Lateef the Truth Speaker,) Shimura became Asia Born and finally Lyrics Born when in 2003 he progressed hip-hop’s underground sound, revamping the fading west coast signature through his self-produced solo début Later That Day. The critically acclaimed LP hit huge sales figures for an independent release and cemented the rapper/producer as one of the most prolific live packages around. With an authoritative vocal command to balance his vernacular deftly poured over his own well-stacked instrumental tracks, Shimura has long been ardent to the cause of furthering hip hop beyond the curve, staying true to the search for the perfect beat to rhyme over.
“I think it will stop when I die. It’s not just a personal quest for me as an artist, for entertainment sake to my audience and for the growth of the music itself I think I have to always have to continue to push the boundaries. You don’t always hit home runs but at least you are continually trying to put points on the board,” he stresses.
The truest side to Lyrics Born comes out before us on stage. Putting it down live before a hyped fanbase has become the lifeblood of this consummate artist who last year played around 150 shows worldwide. Shimura expresses that despite the credit crunch, his global efforts are strictly for the love of the game.
“Well first and foremost I tour because I love to do it. Believe me, if I’d have done this for the money I’d have quit a long time ago. I love to perform it’s part of who I am, it’s in my blood and I wanna be the best.” Shimura continues, “In every crowd I perform to, I just bring the same attitude which is – ‘Kill it!’ I didn’t come here just for vacation, I hope to just drive everybody into a frenzy! I’m an artist and performer to my core I just can’t escape that and I can’t not do it… It’s a part of my make-up, it’s like eating and drinking and breathing.”
By 2005 Lyrics Born had switched his game up, Instead of in-house DJ D-Sharp working his beats on-stage, a live band was activated. The original band brought in some of the Cali’s Bay Area best musicians to yet again make bold moves into redrawing hip hop’s borders of musicality.
“It’s part of me expanding my repertoire of moves. The best way I can enrich the musical landscape is to add new colour. I made a lot of records in the past using the same method, and I started to feel that I couldn’t grow if I continued to look at music in the same way. One of the reasons why I do this is because I want to be inspiring, and I can’t be if I’m not inspired and challenged all the time.” He admits, “I never wanted to make a record that ‘fit in’ and I really try to get people in the habit of not expecting the same record from me over and over again.”
Shimura released a live album in late 2006, Overnite Encore: Lyrics Born LIVE recorded off shows across Sydney and Melbourne. Celebrating the new year down-under, Lyrics Born comes back to party with the hardest. “Definitely Aussies love to party – pretty much harder than any place I’ve ever played. One thing I noticed about an Australian crowd, they come to party, from the moment they walk in the door. I don’t know whether it’s the alcohol or the general culture you know what I mean… I can’t keep up with ‘em.”