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UC-Berkeley graduate Tom Shimura, who has been making sophisticated hip-hop as Lyrics Born [performing at Boise’s Reef on Wednesday, Oct. 27] for well over a decade, is one of those rare talents that has the ability to turn just about everything he touches into pure audible gold. He’s never really made or been part of a substandard record and the Bay Area MC’s newest album, As U Were, is no exception.
LB’s having just as much fun here as he always does—only now he’s tackling issues “from abandonment to betrayal to incredible joy.” The 38-year-old Japanese-born MC is maturing both musically and lyrically, and it’s evident on tracks like the synth-heavy “Lies X 3” and the Gap Band throwback “Kontrol Phreak.” As U Were is LB’s most musical effort to date, and while it seems to leave little room for his dense freestyling, it’s refreshing to hear an artist trying to expand his palette. — Filter