A journo friend who works for one of those moronic "men's magazines" is always pressured by his editors to stuff his articles with jokes and yuckety-yucks. That directive works for modern hip-hop too: It's often at its best when full of knee slaps and belly laughs. While Lyrics Born's latest album, Same [email protected]#$ Different Day (a remix of 2003's Later That Day with five new songs), is loaded with fresh arrangements, freak-me-silly samples and guests including KRS-One, Dilated Peoples, Morcheeba and Dan the Automator, what really bends the ear purple are the one-liners Lyrics Born and crew bring to the table.

Seems like every hip-hopper is testifying for Jesus, but Lyrics Born prefers humor below to religiosity above: "Wouldn't it be better if you chose a new career path like a shepherd or a flight attendant on an aircraft?" or "Oh man, Nell Carter versus Karen Carpenter topless." Over the De La Soul-worthy groove of "Do That There," Lyrics slams "a Barry Manilow autographed cantaloupe, every episode of Solid Gold, the antidote to rapping alone." He goes on to rip about "stolen Oreos, saltines and overcoats from Walgreen's, carnauba oil and Maury Povich." It's all the sheer lunacy you could possibly withstand in three minutes flat and still be able to walk.

The DJ Shadow-produced "Over You" drops psychedelic guitar riffs and smackdown beats under lines like "Can ya taste it the way I slip it and give it to you 'til it's mixed in your system like venomous liquid ya can't live without a hint of it?" sung to a femme fatale like Barry White squeezing Gwen Stefani's supple flesh. To be sure, neither Same [email protected]#$ nor Later That Day are comedy records, but the facility that LB has with his rhymes makes it as easy for him to spin out syllable-smashing brain-teasers as it is for him to dole out his reefer-headed humor.

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