California’s Japanese Rap Star

Lyrics Born’s latest addition to West Coast hip-hop.


Part of the underground West Coast hip-hop scene that spawned Jurassic 5 and Blackalicious, Tom Shimura, a.k.a. Lyrics Born, knows how to party. This Tokyo-born, California-bred
rapper’s exuberant debut album ranges from profane comedy (the telemarketing saga “Cold Call”) to dazzling, rapid-fire displays of microphone prowess on “Rise and Shine.” If Shimura’s versatility
sometimes seems overdone — the reggaefied love song “Love Me So Bad” rubs elbows with the old-school bragfest “Pack Up” — his spirit never flags. “Do That There,” a vibrant dose of funk — with Shimura’s rough voice meshing with the thumping grooves — is worth the price of admission alone.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2018 demands.

  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.