Lyrics Born: Everywhere at Once


Five years after his well-received debut, Later That Day…, Lyrics Born (real name Tom Shimura) returns with his Anti- debut, Everywhere at Once, another party-ready collection of danceable rhythms and smooth lyrical delivery.

Many of the beats owe a debt to Afrika Bambaataa, but Born updates the classic, straight-ahead hip-hop flavor with elements of vintage soul, Fundadelic-style rock, electro-pop and horn-laden funk (courtesy of the backing band he has used for the past few years of touring). His assonant, laid-back flow is reminiscent of fellow Solesides alum Gift of Gab, though fans of the Blackalicious MC will find more of a dancehall vibe here.

“Don’t Change” introduces one of the main themes of the album: the importance of originality, personal freedom and dedication to one’s convictions. But don’t mistake the album for a heavy-handed social consciousness screed—Born is all about the rhythm and the groove. “Hott 2 Deff,” a sure-fire hit single, features a tight verse by the unmistakable Chali 2na and demonstrates once again Born’s penchant for loquacious vocal gymnastics. “Differences” explores the petty problems of relationships, featuring a particularly amusing verse lamenting the obsessive primping routines of women. “I Like It, I Love It” is probably the second single on the album, with a hard-hitting, distinctive beat and radio-ready chorus.

Though the second half of the album falters a bit—specifically the ’80s electro-style political rant “Do You Buy It?”—there are definite highlights: the distortion-heavy guitar harmony of “The World is Calling”; the raw emotion of the elegiac “Whispers,” about the passing of Born’s good friend Benjamin Davis; and even the reggaeton of “Top Shelf,” which is so well-constructed that even non-fans should be stepping with the beat.

Loaded with powerful hooks—there’s a reason Lyrics Born is one of the most licensed artists in the world—and a sly range of vocals, Everywhere at Once is a pleasing step forward in Lyrics Born’s evolution.

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