Lyrics Born Could be Hip-Hop's Wesley Crusher


Lyrics Born onstage at Reef.
Reef last night was a bit like Starship Troopers: Everybody dances, no one quits. Why? 'Cause the man on the stage, Bay Area MC Lyrics Born, wasn't going to have it any other way.

"If you didn't come to party with me, get the fuck out right now," he bellowed. "I look around and see some shit I don't like right now: people sitting down."

It may read belligerent but wrapped up in Lyrics Born's repeated statements that Boise was a town that knew how to get down, no matter how bad things might seem, and his powerhouse performance, it was less of an insult than it was a challenge. Not "you will party with me," so much as "let's see if you got what it takes to party with me."

And it was a helluva challenge.

Mr. Born dropped some serious old-school funk, with beats from his one-woman laptop and synth band, "The Key-J," and his powerhouse backup vocalist that sounded straight out of Purple Rain. Funky, funky, funktyastic funk, and all of it delivered in one nonstop blast of DJ-mixed beats and smoking keyboard solos for Born to layer his rapid-fire lyrics over. His rhymes aren't complex polyrhythms so much as steady percussive streams, like a four on the floor beat: simple, driving and effective.

On top of that, his performance, with all its twists and shimmies and bellowing, was unexpectedly energetic from a man whose physical performance didn't speak to athleticism so much as a finely honed ability to appreciate it from the couch. If George Clinton is looking for a Wesley Crusher type to learn the helm at the spaceship, Lyrics Born may be his man. Something I'm guessing Born would be fine with.

"We were made for one reason and one reason only," he shouted. "To have a good time with you tonight."

Looking across the audience with hands swaying in the air, birthing lyrics back to him, it was hard to argue.