Bay Area Hip Hop staple Lyrics Born has resurfaced with a new compilation album called Mobile Homies: Season 1. Boasting features from artists such as Blackalicious, Dan The Automator, Dilated Peoples’ Rakaa, The Grouch & Eligh, Lateef The Truthspeaker, Galactic and Cutso, the 12-track project was inspired by Lyrics Born’s Mobile Homies podcast, which he created during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in an effort to stay connected to his fellow Hip Hop peers.
Lyrics Born plucked 10 different producers for the project, a completely new studio experience for LB. In the process, it became more like a social project that “brought new energy and spirit to each track.” But it’s hard not to acknowledge the the album without talking about Gift of Gab’s contribution to “My City.” The Blackalicious MC passed away unexpectedly last June not long after undergoing a double kidney transplant.
Lyrics Born and Gift of Gab were extremely close, not only as friends but also collaborators. As flagship artists on the Quannum Projects label, they rose to notoriety alongside DJ Shadow, Lateef, Chief Xcel, Lifesavas, Latyrx and Pigeon John, among others. Much like Zion I’s Zumbi, Gab’s passing left a gaping hole in the Hip Hop community, especially for those in the Bay Area.
“Who would’ve thought making an album during the apocalypse would’ve been so fuckin’ fun?” Lyrics Born tells HipHopDX. “I’m so fortunate to have known and worked with Gab. I always tell people, I became great, but Gab was great from moment one. He was a spiritual journeyman savant, a special, beautiful person. I loved him dearly and think about him everyday.”
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 legacy. He’s also expanded his empire into film, including roles in Boots Riley’s critically-acclaimed film Sorry To Bother You as well as the Netflix film Always Be My Maybe starring comedian Ali Wong, Randall Park and Keanu Reeves.