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LYRICS BORN Is Knockin’ On Your “Diamond Door”

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This is me at my most imaginative, freakiest, and yet still most grounded and introspective,” says Japanese American rapper/actor Lyrics Born not only about his new album Vision Board (out Nov. 11, 2022 via Mobile Home) but also his “self” and his existence. “I feel like a new man! I’m healthier physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.”

His new single and video “Diamond Door” is a pop/rap banger that lands you with an infectious barb and keeps you hooked for days. Featuring New Orleans singer/songwriter Princess Shaw who coyly sings the chorus (“You want in my diamond door / I think you can come in / When I hear you knock / I hear you knock / I hear you knock, knock, knock, knock, knock”), the single is a thinly-veiled tribute to a particular style of female appreciation, but it can also be taken as a welcome mat to the new era of Lyrics Born.

The accompanying video which shows Lyrics Born in his current physical form – svelte, stylish and with a confident swagger – reinforces this next chapter in his life. 60 pounds lighter, he lost the weight during the pandemic when he knew he needed to make a change. “Touring was becoming harder, and I was having all these weird health problems, but nothing that anybody could put their finger on,” he explains “My anxiety was high. I was not sleeping well. I was on the verge of really bad health.”

And this improvement brought more confidence which shows in his new album. Hot off the heels of Mobile Homies Season 1 which was a bombastic collection of tracks that was written like an album but played like a mixtape, Vision Board is a focused affair that found him stretching his creativity farther and challenging himself to write in a way he’s never written before. Recorded primarily in New Orleans and produced by Rob Mercurio of Galactic (who also produced 2015’s Real People and 2018’s Quite a Life), it posited him in a new environment that helped his creative juices flow even more fluidly. “There’s nothing like recording in the Crescent City. It just gets in your blood, and the results are always funky and wild.”

From the bombastic and tribal “I’m the Best Rapper in the World” with its self-winking boastfulness to the playful scat of “Bang Bang Bang” that slinks like an outtake from West Side Story, to the smooth and seductive “Who’s The Best? (Dear Young LB),” to the psychedelic and swoony “Alligator Boots” with it dreamy “Walk on the Wildside”-esque reverby sway, Vision Board sees Lyrics Born tackling different tones, textures and genres without fear and making them completely his own. It’s an eclectic body of work that boasts more synths, more psychedelia and is generally more abstract.

“This is about as psychedelic as I’ve ever been,” he says. “I’m so proud of this album. I’m in a different space. The world is in a different space, and I wanted to celebrate that, loosen up and really create some imagery and share some emotion that I never have.”

As the first Asian-American solo rapper to perform at Lollapalooza and Coachella and to release a greatest hits record, Lyrics Born has broken through countless barriers to cement his storied and illustrious career. Having been part of the Quannum Projects collective of Hip Hop artists from the San Francisco Bay Area that spawned such lyrical luminaries as Blackalicious, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Lifesavas, DJ Shadow, among many others, Lyrics Born established himself firmly among the upper echelon of indie Hip Hop artists. He has also expanded his empire into film, including roles in Boots Riley’s critically-acclaimed Sorry To Bother You and the aforementioned Netflix film Always Be My Maybe starring comedian Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Keanu Reeves.

With a new album, a new physical presence, and a new outlook on life, Lyrics Born isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon. In fact, he’s ready to take on the music world in a way he’s never done before. “I’m always challenging myself, and this is the person I always imagined myself becoming and being, even if it wasn’t obvious,” he smiles. “I feel better than I ever have on so many levels, and I love being able to express myself physically and artistically in ways that I have never been able to before.

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