Lift off features Lyrics Born and Murs |

Lift off features Lyrics Born and Murs

summit daily news

Copper’s revving up the excitement of opening weekend with its Lift Off concerts: Saturday night, Lyrics Born and MURS hit the stage.

Bay-area rapper Lyrics Born, born Tom Shirmura, has made a name for himself with his signature funk sound, while building a reputation as a revolutionary figure in the underground world of hip-hop. He help found Quannum Projects, collaborating with Blackalicious and DJ Shadow.

In 2003, he released his first solo record, carving a niche as a viable artist on his own with such singles as “I Like It, I Love It” and “Calling Out.” By 2008, he incorporated his band, which he toured with beginning in 2004, on his 2008 album, “Everywhere at Once.”

He views his new tracks, on “As U Were,” as an evolution from the last album; some reviewers have said his blend of other artists’ styles run the gamut from Latin grooves to Justin Timberlake-like choruses. No matter what, Lyrics Born brings the collaborative party to Copper audiences.

“I think the people in Colorado really like the party, and I really get that sense from people in Colorado that they’re genuine music lovers,” he said to Summit Daily News, as a preview to his last gig in the High Country. “It’s not like people standing around trying to look cool. Instead they’re like, ‘We paid money to come see you play, now let’s get down.'”

Many people think MURS, aka Nick Carter, named himself after an ever-evolving acronym, ranging in meaning from Making the Universe Recognize to Submit to Making Underground Raw Sh*t. But in reality, the letters were the four Carter could draw best in graffiti style, so he arranged them into his recognizable name. And these days, he doesn’t create meanings for the letters, saying, “I’ve kind of let that go.”

MURS is one of the increasing group of musicians turning away from big labels in a been-there-done-that kind of way, in favor of a do-it-yourself-approach when it comes to releasing albums.

MURS has worked with hip-hop groups Living Legends, Felt, the 3 Melancholy Gypsys and The Invincibles. He’s rapped on more than 20 albums, and his first release came in 1993 with 3 Melancholy Gypsys. He didn’t put out a solo album, “The End of the Beginning,” until 2003. By 2006, he had contracted with Warner Bros. to release “Murs for President.”

But being a prolific writer, he didn’t like Warner Bros.’ approach of milking what he’d already put out for a couple years by not releasing anything new.

“I’m always thinking of things to do, so it inspires me to follow through,” he said, adding that he writes hundreds of songs a year. His fire stems from reading, consuming, living and traveling; his last trip, volunteering with his wife in Ethiopia for two weeks, resulted in steps to adopt kids from Ethiopia. “There’s so much life going around me; everything I write is heartfelt.”

He points out that 90 percent of rap musicians say the same thing, and by his second album, he had clearly departed from themes such as glamorizing hip-hop’s gun culture.

He released his last album, “Fornever,” with a small independent label and plans to come out with “The Melrose” on his own.

“I decided to do everything myself, because that’s how I began in the late 1990s, doing everything myself,” he said. “I wanted to see how the (small indie label) system worked, but it wasn’t agreeable – not a true business partnership. I don’t wish to be in any more business relationships where the money goes somewhere else.”

While musicians have bemoaned the Internet, he credits it for making music more available. In fact, he’s gone beyond the world of sound on his site, which even includes comic books.

“I love the escapism (of comic books) – being in another world, the visuals,” he said, explaining that the collaboration between the writer and the artist, whom he hires, is “like a great rapper and a great band.”

He provides the story line, and others bring the comic to life. He also writes music for each 10-page chapter, giving every chapter has a unique sound.

“I get really excited when I make the song then I see the comic,” he said. “The art is amazing to me.”

Like Lyrics Born, MURS loves performing for the Colorado crowd, promising an “interactive show where it’s fun for all.” Though he said he’s going to “try to calm down a little because the air’s thinner” up here, what he really means is he’s going to tell “a few bad jokes between songs, so I can catch my breath.” But that doesn’t mean he’s diminishing the energy.

“If you want to dance and scream and yell, this is the place to be,” he said.

During daylight hours, sun and accumulated snow from the last dump promises to make opening weekend a celebration.

“The conditions are great, so come on up to check out some of the best opening conditions in recent memory,” according to Copper’s press release.

Copper plans to open with full tree-to-tree coverage on Main Vein, Rhapsody, The Easy Rider Learning area and about 10 features in the Eagle Jib Park.

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