Pigeon John: Interviews Gift Of Gab & Lyrics Born @ PASTE Showcase, SXSW
At Paste’s SXSW showcase this year, Pigeon John had a pair of aces up the sleeve of his pastel-yellow button-down. Not only did he bring his two emcee friends, Lyrics Born and Blackalicious’ Gift of Gab, out on stage for a mind-boggling freestyle session, but before the show the multitalented PJ even played the role of music journalist, conducting an impromptu interview of his companions on the hip-hop road-less-traveled. Here’s what they had to say…
PIGEON JOHN: This is Pigeon John, SXSW at the Paste magazine party, and two of my good friends are here, my man Gift Of Gab and Lyrics Born. So when did you guys first meet?
GIFT OF GAB: first time I met Lyrics Born I was at Chief Xcel’s crib, and they were both in college, and I had just moved out to Davis, [Calif.]—[actually, I had] not even moved out to Davis, I came out to visit X while they were in college, and X was like, ‘Man, you gotta meet my friend. It’s this rapper, and his name is Tom Bomb, and he’s just one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. But we met met as we began to talk about music and the art of emceeing. You know, we learned that we both got the same kind of passion, as you do yourself, for the art of emceeing. And that’s when we really connected.
LYRICS BORN: Word. First of all, my name was never Tom Bomb. I don’t know where he got that from. Tom Bomb.
PJ: When did you change your name from Asia Born to Lyrics Born?
LB: In ’94. That was a good 13 years ago, after our first 12-inch. I was Asia Born for a long time, man. But, really, as time went on I started to realize that it’s just kind of inaccurate for me to pretend that we all had the same experiences or that one name or one person could stand for this whole gigantic, diverse group out there. You know what I mean? That’s just not how it is. That was really it.
PJ: I like that. Are you working on your new record, Lyrics Born?
LB: Yes I am, PJ. It’s a new album—[I’m] probably about halfway done by now, and it’s coming out pretty tight, man. It’s a lot different than Later That Day... or Same !@#$ Different Day. I think people are gonna feel it like crazy.
PJ: Oh yes. Gift Of Gab, tell me about those mixtapes you’ve been dropping.
LB: Mixtapes. Mixtapes. I’ve got 100,000 people on MySpace. Chief Xcel got 100,000 people on MySpace.
GG: I didn’t interrupt you, man, I didn’t interrupt you. He’s gonna write, “Lyrics Born interrupts Gab. Gab looks at Lyrics Born and says, I didn’t interrupt you. Lyrics Born drinks water.” … The mixtapes are coming out really good. I was actually gonna do Volume Two, but it turned into an album. It’s more like an exclusive type of thing that I’m gonna put out myself with like 10-12 songs on it. It’s called Escape To Mars. The title is about global warming. It’s very serious, you shouldn’t laugh. It’s not funny.
LB: [laughs] Global warming is serious.
GG: I’m working on a record with Lateef, as well. I’m near finished with it. Lateef, Headnotic from Crown City [Rockers], and the Mighty Underdogs. Yeah, just staying busy. Doing work with Chief Xcel, too, on a record I’m doing. Just trying to stay creative; I’m just trying to grind and hustle, you know what I mean? You know what I’m about, man.
LB: You know, Gab, you seem to have a lot of interplanetary themes happening with your projects — 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, and now you got Escape To Mars.
GG: But that’s not really about being in outer space, it’s about escaping from the planet Earth. So I guess that’s being in space, too, ’cause Earth is in space.
PJ: I like it, I like it. So you guys did a show with Galactic [this week]?
LB: There you go again—space, Galactic.
PJ: There it is. So how was that show? Was that why you guys came here, just for that one thing?
LB: And to come kick it with you, Pigeon John.