Bay Area hip-hop veteran Lyrics Born releases his new album Real People this week, and to mark the occasion, KQED caught up with him at a studio in East Oakland for a sneak preview of the title track.
Recorded in New Orleans, Real People brims with the city's musical flavors, due in part by musical guests Galactic, Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. But the song "Real People" is about a different kind of geography: specifically, the story of a young Lyrics Born boarding a plane in Japan and immigrating to America, where his parents gave their best while surviving a hard divorce and even harder financial times.
"With the title track 'Real People,'" he tells us, "I really wanted to open the album with something that you could really see what I experienced as a kid – immigrating to the United States, single mom, being in a situation where maybe it wasn't ideal, but still there was support and there was love in the family. And especially in the business that I'm in, we have such overblown images and ideas of who artists are. So, you know, I just wanted to do something that was real."
Watch the performance above, and be sure to check out Lyrics Born performing "Rock-Rock-Away" for KQED's cameras as well.