Remix albums are a dime a dozen these days. The majority of record companies, both big and small, release them primarily on a vinyl format so that DJs can use them to spin at a party or throw them down on a mix tape. But now Lyrics Born (a.k.a. Tom Shimura) has changed the landscape of the remix album format on Same Shit, Different Day, an effort that not only rivals his previous work, but may also stand out as a staple of his career. Having remixed eight tracks off of his first solo outing Later That Day, as well as five new tracks, Shimura continues his trademark organic flow with his knack for stylized wordplay and even adds some live musicians into the mix.
Later That Day was a major contender for being one of the crown jewels in Quannum’s catalogue but now Lyrics Born proves that some of the tracks are just better the second time around. Jumbo the Garbageman of labelmates Lifesavas adds his craft on two tracks, starting with the bass twitter of “Hello Remix,” which contains female backing vocals sounding like they came straight off the soundtrack from a blaxploitation flick. Jumbo adds his touch once more on the dirty boom of “Pack Up Remix” featuring guest spots from the legendary KRS-1 and Evidence of Dilated Peoples on a track in which the beats sound strikingly similar to those of Dilated Peoples beatmaker DJ Babu. “Do That There (Young Einstein Hoo-Hoo Mix) will most assuredly get the party moving and make folks throw their hands in the air as they wave those mutherfuckas’ like they just don’t care. Stereo MCs add their signature shindig groove to the ass shaking proto-funk of “I Changed My Mind” with a beat that makes one think of the Sugar Hill Gang in the year 2090. The schizo genius of DJ Shadow and Shimura’s co-conspirator in alt-rap mythos Latryx, Lateef the Truth Speaker, step in on the eerily gaga robo-quirk of “The Last Trumpet (Halou Remix)” Meanwhile, guests E-40 and Casual take the listener on trip down the street of some early 90’s G-Funk on the party-friendly “Callin’Out Remix.” Even the British trip-hop collective Morcheeba get down and dirty as they take on “Stop Complaining.”
As for new tracks, expect nothing less than shipshape craftsmanship when it comes from any Quannum artist. Underground paladin Dan the Automator lays down his future-grit style on the street-smart “I’m Just Raw,” a track that is all the more crafty due to Shimura’s addition of a daily affirmations into his rhyming skills in verses like “I’m hotter than you/More popular than you/More cleaver than you/And goshdarn it, people like me.” Shimura’s wife and roster-mate Joyo Velrade adds her soulful coo to the club-readiness in “Shake It Off (Bad Dreams Part II)” while DJ Shadow steps in once more to add a pinch of soul-jazz alongside Shimura’s merger of rapping and crooning on “Over You.”
Not only is the production on this effort as eclectic as it is stellar, but Same Shit, Different Day is kept afloat by a progressive stride in which Lyrics Born delivers his rhymes. Did I mention his wit? Lyrics Born goes beyond what you know as hip-hop as he adds elements of funk, soul, and a countless blend of various genres to his music that gives him his unique trademark sound. Same Shit, Different Day is a major highlight this year for all of hip-hop and dance music as well. So be sure to get your icepacks ready because this album will cause you to bob your head to the point of having whiplash.
Latryx – The Album
Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030
Various Artists – Quannum Spectrum