Review: Lyrics Born Adds Synthesizer to His Backpack of Indie Rap Tricks on ‘As U Were’

Devolution? Not quite, but it's not exactly a step forward either.

Frequent Blackalicious collaborator and Latyrx member Lyrics Born has dropped a new full-length on a new label, and he goes for a new look:

“On his latest, As U Were, Bay Area backpack-rap pioneer Lyrics Born imagines himself as he never was: the rapping, scatting, singing, high-energy frontman of a synth-pop/nü-funk band just waiting for its close-up.”

So … does he pull it off? The harrowing conclusion is at The A.V. Club.

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LA Upcoming: XBXRX tonight at Pehrspace

Coachella prep took its toll on Funny Ha Ha. Getting caught up with posts right now, and realized that this little gem went unmentioned here. If you didn’t attend the festival over the weekend, there’s a chance you might be in the market for a thorough thrashing at the hands of some Bay Area art-punks.

  • Region: Echo Park
    Music: XBXRX, Narwhalz, Longmont Potion Castle, Neon Navajo…
    Vitals: Pehrspace on Monday, April 19
    (details at LA Weekly)

MP3: Wallpaper + Donwill = ‘Love Junkie’

Wallpaper's a junkie for your love.

Short, but sweet:

Download this track now. Don’t even stream it first — there’s no need. It’ll live in your headphones for weeks, and (it hopes) eventually worm its way onto that springtime barbecue jam playlist you’re so diligently developing. For the uninitiated, Donwill is an excellent rapper from the East Coast/Midwest trio Tanya Morgan, and the Park are a badass group of Bay Area dudes who lend their riddim section to all kinds of great acts. And if you read this blog, you should already know who Wallpaper is.

We hear Questlove is a fan.

Apocalyptic Urban Visions: E-40, Gil-Scott Heron

No words for this.

I had no words for this, but a second video tip-off from the Pedestrian, a.k.a. the good evangelist J.B. Best (check out the first two tracks on the Lala player, screen right), revealed a second gem in addition to the incredible new E-40 video. Eerily similar in its visual theme is the just-released clip from spoken word heavyweight Gil-Scott Heron. Two of the hip-hop’s biggest DNA-providers crossing paths in the night.

New Magazine! Plus, Words on Cool Kids, U-N-I, Themselves, and Anti-pop Consortium

Print ain’t dead, it just shrunk. To wit, Blink Media has just started up a brand new, free L.A.-circulated magazine dubbed Poptimist. It just so happens that said mag could fit into one’s back pocket, and without the classic rolling method that’s loosened so many perfect bindings. I haven’t held a copy in my hand yet, but I do have experience with these things, and I’d guess Poptimist‘s specs to be roughly 10 inches high by 6 wide. Though, if you click here, it can be however big you’d like it to. Once you’re firmly ensconced in those digital pages, you may want to turn to:

Page 24, for an update from Chicago hipster hoppers The Cool Kids.
Page 26, to explore the fabric of Compton’s fashion-forward U-N-I.
Page 45, for a critical take on Anti-Pop Consortium’s Flourescent Black.
Page 47, to read an overdue lauding of Themselves’ latest, CrownsDown.

Cult Bit: Wallpaper. AutoTunes Jay-Z

It’s my honor to introduce a furiously banging track by my dear friends in Oakland-based duo Wallpaper. This thing should be viral soon enough, but for now, you can stream it and download (by right-clicking) below.

Jay-Z & Wallpaper. – “D.O.A. + 99 Problems (Wallpaper. Remix)”

Now the backstory: Jay-Z recently contributed his piece to the raging (har har) international debate over the blatant overuse of AutoTune in radio pop. Essentially hopping on an already existing meme, he named his track “D.O.A. (Death Of Autotune)” — co-produced, ironically, by one of the fad’s biggest abusers, Kanye West — and caused a stir with the lyric, “This is anti-AutoTune / Death of the ringtone / This ain’t for iTunes / This ain’t for sing-along.”

Here, Wallpaper., a group that’s used AutoTune as an instrument since early 2005 (that’s pre-T-Pain, for those taking notes), repurposes that lyric for a very singable, digitally modified hook. The somewhat brillaint ironic appropriation doesn’t end there, however. The meat of the track comes from Jay’s monstrous 2004 hit, “99 Problems,” which leads to this rather astute line from Wallpaper vocalist Ricky Reed: “I’ve got 99 problems but my pitch ain’t one.”

Oh, and did I mentioned that Jay’s voice is AutoTuned throughout?