After just one solo record and a B-sides release, it might seem odd that Lyrics Born would bank on that rarest of breeds, the live hip-hop album. But the Quannum MC has a reputation as one of the most energetic performers in the genre, and Overnite Encore builds the crowd’s enthusiasm, relying on it for chorus couplets, as on the invigorating rendition of “Bad Dreams.” The four-piece backing outfit (no turntable) he’s assembled maintains a high level of energy, though too often the excitement doesn’t translate into the music. The guitars take chunks, the crowd cheers, and his smooth voice speed-raps its way through his undersized catalogue. Still, it’s hard not to feel you’ve been left out of this party, a kind of audio “Wish you were here” postcard. The two all-new studio tracks stuck at the end are a little too good; they beg for a new studio full-length, not a B-sides collection or a live album.
Lyrics Born + Cut Chemist + Edan | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | November 9 | 617.864.EAST