Album Review | Lyrics Born – Mobile Homies: Season 1

This album was released on April 15th this year. Until recently, I was only really familiar with Lyrics Born through his features on Blackalicious albums. However, prior to hearing this latest record, I went back and checked out his first album with Lateef the Truthspeaker as Latyrx, as well as his debut solo album. The Latyrx album was solid, but in my opinion Later That Day… is a lot better. I think that album is really good. I haven’t heard any of Lyrics Born’s other projects, so I don’t really have an opinion on the full scope of his discography, but I’ve seen a lot of people say that Later That Day… is his best record. It’ll be interesting to see how close he can come to matching its quality with this latest album. This project in particular is inspired by his podcast of the same name, which he started towards the beginning of the COVID lockdowns. The podcast basically has him speaking to a bunch of his musician friends, so it’s collaborative in nature. This album is the same way; there’s not a single track here that doesn’t have an additional artist credited. I’m more familiar with certain artists featured on this album than others, but there’s nobody here that I would say I dislike, so I’m looking forward to checking this out.

The album begins with a pretty solid track entitled Sundown featuring and produced by Con Brio. I wasn’t familiar with them prior to hearing this record, but they did a decent job here in my opinion. Their singing on the hook is certainly sufficient. The melody itself just isn’t particularly great to me. It’s cool though. It’s definitely not bad. Same goes for the production; I actually think the beat is kinda good. The actual rapping from Lyrics Born is definitely the best aspect of the song to me. I think he sounds pretty good here. The verse isn’t amazing or anything, but I think it fits the song well. It’s just that the lyrical content isn’t particularly interesting to me. His flow and delivery sound very good though. Nothing about this song stands out in a particularly bad way to me. I wouldn’t really say I enjoyed it enough to listen to it again in the future, but it’s an okay song. The following track is called Misfits. I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed by how smooth the segue from the preceding track into this one is. This song is a lot more entertaining to me too. I think the production from Kyle McCammon is relatively great. The opening verse and hook are performed by an artist with whom I was previously unfamiliar named Utkarsh Ambudkar. I was thoroughly impressed by his performance though. I really liked his flow, especially when he started spitting with that more melodic delivery. I think him and Lyrics Born make a lot of sense as collaborators. They fit together really well. Honestly, this song gives me exactly what I wanted from Lyrics Born. His flow and melodic delivery sound fantastic here.

I'm so lit, it's ridiculous, like a Christmas tree shimmering
Cook you on a spit, twistin' like rotisserie chicken
I cook you and I spit human hip hop history lessons
Come join my ministry of healthy sinners, get some religion

Lyrics Born’s deep voice kinda reminds me of that Lord Have Mercy guy from Busta Rhymes‘ old Flipmode crew. His melodic rapping style reminds me of a more palatable Busdriver too. I guess Freestyle Fellowship would be a slightly more accurate comparison. Anyway, The song is really dope overall. The production is nice, and both of the verses from UTK & Lyrics Born are great. The hook is solid too. Track 3 is called ANTI, and it seems to be the most popular track from this album.

At the end of the album, there’s a remix of this song featuring Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples as well as Shing02 & Bohan Phoenix. Both of the versions are just okay to me. Obviously I appreciate the lyrical content about anti-Asian rhetoric that’s been exacerbated by the current pandemic. I think all of the verses—especially on the original version of the song—are very good.

Things just ain’t the same for Asians
They slicing our faces with knives and razors
Stabbing whole families, including the babies
We taunted with racist slurs on a daily basis
Immigration agents put us in cages
Cops throw us on the pavement face down in bracelets
Covid ain’t the most contagious disease
Racism is #1 and the hatred it breeds

I just don’t really think the production from Cutso is that impressive, and I’m also not crazy about the hook. I mean, the hook isn’t trash or anything. It’s just kinda boring. It was cool to hear from Rakaa on the remix, even if I’ve never been a huge Dilated Peoples fan. I was only familiar with Shing02’s production prior to hearing this, so it was interesting to hear him actually rap. Anyway, both versions of the song are solid; they just lack replay value for me. Track 4 is called This Song’s Delicious, and it features production from Dan the Automator along with a verse from an artist named Sitcom Dad.

I think the opening verse from Sitcom Dad is actually really good. That line about sharting on his foes was funny. He rhymed really well. The verse from Lyrics Born is very good too. I actually don’t know who had the better performance. If I had to choose one I’d probably go with Lyrics Born just because I think he has a better voice for rapping, but Sitcom Dad was very impressive as well. The production from Dan the Automator sadly isn’t really anything special to me, but it’s certainly sufficient. The song kinda reminds me of that collaborative album between Busdriver, Radioinactive, and Daedelus. I think it’s better than most of the material that appeared on that project though. It’s a good track. It’s followed by My City, which is probably the most special song on the album just because it features Blackalicious & Lateef the Truthspeaker. I think the production from Chief Xcel is pretty nice, and the opening verse from Lateef is cool. I honestly prefer Lyrics Born as an MC, but I think they’re both talented rappers. Gift of Gab of course killed the second verse. However, I actually think Lyrics Born had the best performance on this track, which surprised me. I mean, I like Lyrics Born a lot, but I wasn’t expecting to enjoy his performance more than that of Gab. The one aspect of this song that I’m not really that into is the sung hook. I don’t think the singing is bad or anything. It’s just that the melody itself isn’t particularly entertaining to me. It works though. It’s not bad. The song is pretty good overall. The following track is a remix of Enough About Me, which is the penultimate track on the album. I don’t really care for this remix to be honest. I think the original version has a much more interesting instrumental from Cutso. The song has kind of a weak hook, and it’s much more noticeable on the remix because the beat is more stale. All of the verses are good though. Eligh & The Grouch both had nice performances, especially Eligh. I definitely think Lyrics Born had the best performance on the track though. He had the most energetic flow and delivery. My favorite aspect of the original song is probably just the production, but Lyrics Born’s performance was really nice as well. The features are pretty solid, but I’d be lying if I said they were as good as I was expecting them to be. Overall, the original version of the song is pretty good to me, but the remix is just okay. Track 7 is called Mistakes, and it features more contributions from Con Brio. I think the production is pretty solid. I want to like the singing from Con Brio, but it’s just not particularly enjoyable to me. The singing isn’t bad, but I just feel like the melody itself isn’t that great. Much like the opening song, this feels like a Con Brio track featuring Lyrics Born rather than the other way around. Lyrics Born has two verses on this track, and they’re both very well-written and performed. It’s just that the content about romantic mistakes isn’t that interesting to me personally. I wouldn’t say this is a bad song, but I can’t say that I really enjoyed it at all. The production was solid, and Lyrics Born sounded good on the verses, but I don’t care for Con Brio’s singing, which damn near permeates the entire song. It’s mediocre to me. It’s followed by Desperada, which is the first song on the album that I would say is actually bad to me. I don’t like anything about this song. The beat from Robert Mercurio & Jim Greer is really bad to me, and I kind of hate Xarina’s singing on the hook. I don’t even like the rapping from Lyrics Born & Lateef on this track. Lateef spit with a particularly unpleasant vocal delivery for me. The song is just kinda corny to me honestly. Nothing about it is even remotely enjoyable to me. I think it’s kind of terrible honestly. The following track is also kinda bad to me. It’s called Long Shot, and it features Joyo Velarde. It feels more like a Joyo Velarde song featuring Lyrics Born than the other way around though. I think the production from Robert Mercurio is okay, but I hate the hook on this song. Honestly, this song sounds like something I’d hear in a commercial for Swiffer or some shit like that. The song also features an artist named Galactic of whom I’d never heard prior to listening to this album. The only aspect of the song that I enjoyed even a little bit was the verse from Lyrics Born. His flow was great, and I think his verse is really well-written. The song itself just isn’t enjoyable at all to me. I thought it was tolerable when I first heard it, but my enmity for it grows as I listen to it more. It’s wack to me. The only song that I haven’t mentioned yet is called Everyday Love, and it’s produced by the legendary Prince Paul. The production is pretty much the only aspect of the song I like to be honest. The beat is really nice. However, I don’t care for the manner in which Lyrics Born raps on this track at all. His flow is really laid-back and simplistic. The content doesn’t interest me at all either.

She my OG, I met her on MySpace
She used to try to keep me at an arm's length
But now we hand in hand like Allstate
In the bed, watching Netflix eating Klondikes
If this was 12th grade, you'd be my prom date

This shit is just really corny to me, especially because of the ad-libs. I hated that closing line in the first verse where he said “on your booty cheeks is where my palms lay.” I don’t even know how to explain why I hate that line, but just know that I despise it. The hook on this track is really bad too honestly. I just really don’t care for Lyrics Born’s melodic delivery on the verses, and the melody of the hook just sounds off. As I said, the production is the only aspect of the song I enjoy. I think it’s wack overall.

This album was honestly kind of a letdown. I’m not gonna act like I was a huge fan of Lyrics Born prior to hearing this, but I think he can probably make better music than this. The rapping is pretty good for the most part. It’s just that a lot of the songs here aren’t particularly enjoyable. I think a big problem I have with this record is the features. Only a handful of them impressed me to be honest. The production also wasn’t particularly entertaining to me aside from a few exceptions. It really just comes down to me not thinking the songs are very good. I’m not crazy about most of the singing here, and a lot of the beats aren’t that memorable. It wasn’t a complete dud though. I’m glad I listened to this album because I got a handful of dope tracks out of it. I think the best material definitely comes in the first half of the album, which is probably for the best. I wouldn’t say this is a bad album, but it’s pretty mediocre to me in all honesty. It’s probably worth listening to if you’re a big fan of Latryx, but this wouldn’t be the best first impression for new listeners. I’d check out Later That Day… instead.

Favorite Song: Misfits
Least Favorite Song: Desperada


Grade: C-

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