Few emcees are blessed with a classic energy, vibe, voice, flow, lyrics, and product that blow the listener’s mind with every listen. Founder of Qaunum Records (home of Blackalicious), Lyrics Born has earned this honor somewhat early in his career. While he gained minor notoriety with his group Latyrx (featuring Lateef as his partner), Lyrics Born’s solo debut, “Later That Day” solidified his presence in hip-hop. Mainly self-produced, the “Later That Day” LP told an original tale that took place over the course of 24 hours. Waking up on the first track and saying “Goodbye” towards the finale, the LP’s variety of themes, styles, and guests accentuate the cohesive intensity. LB proved he was a master of breath control on “Calling Out”. The deep, funky bass line and old-school chorus was a perfect road for LB to travel. “Love Me So Bad” was a sensually romantic reggae duet with Joyo Velarde. Featuring Gift Of Gab from Blackalicious, “Cold Call” was a hilarious concept track about the annoying solicitation calls from telemarketers. While fans yearned for his sophomore solo effort, listeners are satisfied to learn Lyrics Born released a remix album titled “Same Sh*t Different Day”. With five brand new tracks, “Same Sh*t Different Day” features production by guest producers / remixers like Dan The Automator, Jumbo (of Lifesavas), Young Einstein of Ugly Duckling, Morecheeba, and DJ Spinna. Lyrics Born’s remix album is more satisfying and entertaining that a majority of other albums of new material.
Many remixes sound very similar to the original track but most of the remixes on “Same Sh*t Different Day” bring the original songs into a whole new dimension. These fresh styles achieve a brand new feeling and maintain the familiarity of “Later That Day”. Young Einstein’s remix of “Do That There” is one of the LP’s finest moments. The mind blowing funked-out track complements the emcee’s intense flows, magnificent breath control, and a thick disco hand-clapping beat. “When I do that damn thing, I do that damn thing, I do that there!”, LB chants his confident anthem with an adroit delivery. LB’s performance will leave listeners amazed as they attempt to keep up with his ultra-quick verbal execution. The opening track (which closed the “Later That Day” LP), “Hello (Remix)” is extremely energetic with a thick 70’s funk groove. Thicker than the original, Jumbo’s funkier remix has a hard disco groove. LB’s exceptional performance is accentuated by his sharp breath control. The thick horns and dirty muffled guitar melody create a gritty theme for LB’s old school, soulful style. Unlike typical hip-hop music, “Hello (Remix)” is deeply intense due to the many structural changes. The two wonderful remixes of “I Changed My Mind” are both welcome. The tighter Stereo MC’s remix is just slightly more satisfying than the DJ Spinna remix. Spinna’s bravery is displayed as he lets the track venture off on an interesting musical journey. Krs-One and Evidence collaborate on “Pack Up (remix)” that sets itself apart from the original version. Produced by Jumbo, “Pack Up (remix)” is more of a hardcore hip-hop track for battling emcees. Unfortunately, Evidence does not have the same intensity as Krs-One’s lyrics or Lyrics Born’s style. “The Last Trumpet (remix)” (produced by Halou) features pimped-out guitar and a hard thumping bass line. The political sentiments are almost out-shined by the lyrical styles and the musical crescendo. Opposed to the original version, “The Last Trumpet (remix)” may inspire listeners to start a protest march. Morcheeba remix of “Stop Complaining” breathes new life to the already entertaining track. Using the original lyrics, Morcheeba adds funky guitar work and a thick, thumping beat with turntable scratches in the background.
The brand new tracks are all wonderfully entertaining as they give listeners a small taste to satisfy listeners for the next solo LP. “I’m Just Raw” (produced by Dan The Automator) has a thick, sinister, mid-tempo beat for Lyrics Born to boast some braggadocio rhymes. The chorus “I’m smarter than you / I’m harder than you / I’m better than you / I’m just raw / I’m hotter than you / More popular than you / More clever than you / And gosh darn it people like me!...” The 2nd verse is especially entertaining due to the diversity of Born’s adept flow. Produced by Lyrics Born, “Bad Dreams II (Shake It Off)” has a Funkadellic vibe with a gritty guitar, hard piano, and 70’s ghetto chants in the chorus. LB uses the anxiety of nightmares to fuel his positive endurance. Over a hard guitar riff, LB sings (instead of rapping) as he did on the prequel. Turntable scratches by DJ Sharp complement the soulful backing vocals by Joyo Velarde and Constance Lopez. Joyo Velarde also adds her sensuous vocals on the DJ Shadow produced “Over You”. As usual, the chemistry between Lyrics Born and Velarde is both sexy and addictive. (Their previous collaboration, “Love Me So Bad” was a highlight of “Later That Day”.) The romantic “Over You” is a sweet song for a romantic but groove-filled evening. “The Bay” is LB’s tribute to his hometown. Funky, educational, and fun, “The Bay” is a serious anthem that will make residents of Oakland enormously proud.
Only a handful of songs fall short or disappoint. While the original version of “Calling Out” was truly magnificent, the remix version (with E-40 and Casual) is entertaining but simply not as strong as the original. Using the same beat, LB steals the show even though all emcees rock the mic with unique performances. Unfortunately, the original version just cannot be defeated. The 2nd Joyo Velarde collaboration, “I Can’t Wait For Your Love” does not possess the intense sensuality as their previous collaborations. Upbeat and catchy, “I Can’t Wait For Your Love” (Produced by Chief Xcel) adds to the fun-filled vibe but interrupts the flow. The song’s mainstream sound is created by an obvious pop re-make in the sung hook. While the slow/mid-temp beat with wah-wah guitar sufficiently matches the vocal tempo, the rhythm feels too slow. Lyric Born’s performance saves the track but the song fails to persevere like the others.
The excellence of Lyrics Born’s debut LP “Later That Day” is equaled (and almost surpassed) by his remix album “Same Sh*t Different Day”. Here, Lyrics Born truly shines over other people’s production. While typical remixes just use a cappella tracks over a different instrumental track, most of these remixes here are completely different without abandoning the original sentiments. With passion in his voice, magnificent breath control, diverse flows, and witty lyrics, Lyrics Born is a complete emcee. Fans of “Later That Day” will be completely satisfied with this remix album not only because of the new songs but because the remixes breathe new life into the original songs. Setting high standards for hip-hop albums, this remix album by Lyrics Born is exciting, entertaining, diverse, and extremely satisfying. While “Same Sh*t Different Day” may be a phrase for people who feel lost in the redundancy of life, Lyrics Born’s LP “Same Sh*t Different Day” is anything but typical. The cliché phrase usually describes a feeling of dissatisfaction for slaves of the daily routine. For this album, the phrase “Same Sh*t Different Day” could be considered particularly positive. Lyrics Born’s debut solo album “Later That Day” proved to be a wonderful story capturing one full day. One of the finest releases of the year, Lyrics Born’s remix LP, “Same Sh*t Different Day” is the same exceptional “sh*t” but on a different wonderful day.