You may know the story by now: Global pandemic prevents artist from performing for the indefinite future, artist—with little better to do—turns to having meaningful conversations with other artists which get live streamed to audiences who also have little better to do, bonds between artists grow stronger. Yet in the case of rapper/actor Lyrics Born, this story is a little more open-ended than most. Rather than putting an end to his Mobile Homies podcast when venues started opening again, he transferred that mounting creative energy into a collaborative LP series, which he’ll even begin touring down the West Coast next week.
In the meantime we have Mobile Homies Season 1, the first of what we can assume will be a series of recordings between the artist and his fellow emcees and producers, including Dan the Automator, Lateef the Truthspeaker, and Blackalicious, who recorded their verses before the tragic passing of Gift of Gab last summer. The result is a joyful, catchy, and—when necessary—introspective look at the bonds we forge with each other which quarantine may have permitted us to re-examine and celebrate anew.
With the project officially out today, we asked Lyrics Born to take us track-by-track through each of the collaborations that made this project possible, detailing the joys of working with each of its collaborators. Read his write up and stream along below.
I love this joint—so funky! I used to see Con Brio play this live and I would find myself rapping to myself. This joint would always get the crowd moving! Honored they would do the official recording with me and I could lay vocals on it.
People don’t realize Utkarsh is as talented a vocalist as he is an actor. I heard the raw tracks on this joint and he’s doing all those layers, harmonies, and octaves with no Auto-Tune! Love that guy!
I so wish this song wasn’t necessary. Anti-Asian violence has been a part of our lives and American culture for hundreds of years, and spiked dramatically during the pandemic. We had to respond. These things shouldn't go unnoticed, so Cutso and I made it a point to create something that couldn't be unseen. We conceptualized, wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, shot video, and launched a donation campaign for this song, all within 10 days. This is one of the most important songs I’ve ever made.
4. “This Song's Delicious”
Picking up where we left off with our hit Netflix movie Always Be My Maybe, I had to get the band back together. Myself, Sitcom Dad, and Dan the Automator doing our thang once again, just like we did with the Hello Peril joints from the movie. The only goal while in the studio was to make each other laugh. We succeeded. Wait ’til you see the Sitcom Dad–directed video.
5. “My City”
So fortunate to have been able to record one last one with my brothers Blackalicious and The Gift of Gab. He was such a special person. I think about him everyday and how much he has enriched my life in every way. He was a certified savant and never wavered from his commitment to exploration. I loved him dearly. Extremely proud of this song and our collective body of work.
6. “Enough About Me Remix”
Although we’ve known each other forever, myself, Grouch, and Eligh have never worked together until Mobile Homies. Both those guys are underground legends, wildly talented, and singularly unique. The song documents the wild ride that is celebrity addiction, and the underlying roots of our need to be seen.
Another banger with Con Brio documenting relationship situations that have either grown contentious, stale, or expired. We've all been there, we've all had to move on.
I love working with my Latyrx brethren, Lateef the Truthspeaker. On this dancehall-esque joint we got to flex a lil’ with the help of Xarina. This MF is bad man.
9. “Long Shot”
I really love this one. Galactic shot me this joint, and I just knew Joyo Velarde had to be on it. It was so awesome to hear her on her own song again (with myself featured, of course), this time on this retro New Orleans–style soul stunner. More Joyo please!
10. “Everyday Love”
Let’s be clear about this: Prince Paul is one of the most important producers in hip-hop history. From Stetsasonic, Big Daddy Kane, 3rd Bass, Chris Rock, Handsome Boy Modeling School—and let’s not forget De La Soul—his music shaped my formative years, and allowed me to be courageous, experimental, and myself. It is an absolute honor to work with him. I bumped into him at the Burbank airport, and a few months later we had a song. I always thought he produced hip-hop love songs better than anyone in that era (See De La's “Hai Love”), and this gave me the chance to do the same. What a fucking legend.
11. “Enough About Me”
12. “Anti Remix”
After the original dropped, I got flooded by other artists wanting to discuss Anti-Asian violence, and help out in any way they were able. Rakaa and I had very long convos about the complexity of the issue, as did myself and Shing02. I was geeked to be able to work with Bohan, as I've been following his young career almost since the beginning. I love what everyone contributed here, it's so meaningful to all of us. It's just a damn shame the remix dropped a year later and we're still in the same disgusting situation we were when the original was released.