Lyrics Born feat. Cutso


In a New York Daily News article from April 18th, actress/comedian Margaret Cho reported 3,795 anti-Asian violent physical assaults and that “The latest anti-Asian numbers, as of April 11, 2021, saw 54 anti-Asian hate crimes reported to the NYDP, compared to 12 by that date in 2020 — an increase of 350%.” While animosity towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) has been an unfortunate part of the fabric of racism in the US, this thread of prejudice and hate has only gotten thicker in recent years. With May being AAPI Heritage Month, attention to this rash wave of oftentimes violent racism is being highlighted by Bay Area AAPI artists LYRICS BORN and CUTSO.

“I was called Chink, Gook, Jap, Nip, Slant-Eye, Fob, Chinaman, Immigrant, every day from age three until about 20… and then it went to maybe every other day,” confesses Japanese American rapper/actor LYRICS BORN (real name: Tom Shimura) about his experiences with anti-Asian hate. Instead of standing silently while this discrimination and, in many cases, violence continues, he joined forces with Filipino-American musician/DJ Cutso for the incendiary and provocative new single “ANTI” which was released earlier this month (San Francisco Chronicle called the track “cathartic and visceral, blowing up the stereotype that Asians are meek and quiet”). Adds Cutso (real name: Paolo Bello), “Growing up, I’ve been called names, got bullied and had generalizations and stereotypes tacked onto me, all throughout my life.”

Set upon a dark and sinister backbeat replete with ominous sirens, “ANTI” explores the emotional and mental toll that this racist venom has had both on the AAPI community and its individuals through the years.  Recently however, this surge in prejudice has amplified to unreal and extremely distressing depths.  Seething with pained and repressed fury, Lyrics Born spits out the verses:

The China virus, the China virus
He’s gotten a lotta mileage out these sly one-liners
He’s the pilot light that ignited this crisis
On repeat even he’s no longer in office
Dropped a vile legacy of intolerance

“‘ANTI’ is a song I wish we never had to make. Unfortunately it was also the easiest to make,” he says. “Firstly, I think [the number of reported incidences] was always higher than what has been reported in the past because culturally and historically, we don’t snitch. Hateful rhetoric is such an everyday occurrence for Asian-Americans. Sadly, it’s become normalized in our community. As such, we have a tendency to (try and) shrug it off, put our heads down, and keep it moving. That said, I think the skyrocketing numbers in the past year are a direct result of the former president using phrases like ‘The China Virus’ and ‘Kung-Flu’ with reckless abandon, thereby sanctioning racist behavior and the scapegoating of Asians in the COVID era.”

“Our previous president’s anti-Asian sentiments has given a lot of his supporters free range to vilify and victimize us,” adds Cutso.

Hoping that this song will effect a change that extends beyond the music industry, Lyrics Born and Cutso will donate all proceeds raised from the sale of the single to Stop AAPI Hate (https://stopaapihate.org/), the national coalition addressing anti-Asian racism across the U.S. “This organization is integral in tracking and keeping log of all anti-Asian incidents being reported to activate resources that help bring awareness to our plight as members of the Asian/AAPI community,” explains Cutso.

“We have to speak out and not put our heads down and ignore abuse when it happens,” says Lyrics Born. “I hope ‘ANTI’ will provide some relief and respite for people like us who have faced this kind of treatment since we’ve been in this country. I also hope it will open the eyes of many non-Asians who may not know this is happening on the regular and build solidarity with other people of color.”

“People think Asians are background music,” he concludes. “We’re just not respected in the way I demand to be. That’s changing now. We have much more presence in pop culture and on social media than in the past, and our voices have more resonance.”

“ANTI” by Lyrics Born and Cutso is available at https://lyricsborn.fanlink.to/ANTI (“pay what you can”).

“ANTI” 
Lyrics

Things just ain’t the same for AZNs
They slicing our faces with knives and razors,
Stabbing whole families,
Including the babies,
We taunted with racist slurs on a daily basis
Immigration agents put us in cages,
Cops throw us on the pavement, face down in bracelets
COVID ain’t the most contagious disease,
Racism is #1 and the hatred it breeds.
The China Virus, the China Virus
He’s gotten a lotta mileage out of these sly one-liners,
He’s the pilot light that ignited this crisis,
On repeat even he no longer in office,
Dropped a vile legacy of intolerance upon us
To be honest I’m just tired of violence,
I got too many Patnas
Never made it outta childhood,
To many lives already lost to THIS virus

(chorus)
Anti Slant Eye
Guess Who’s the Bad Guy?
I ain’t playin,
I’m sayin,
Anti Slant Eye
Guess Who’s the Bad Guy?
I ain’t playin,
I’m sayin,
I’m in a red circle
Red line going diagonal starting over my left shoulder going over my right ankle,
Anti Slant Eye
Guess Who’s the Bad Guy?
I ain’t playin,
I’m sayin

Things just ain’t the same for AZNs
High blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension,
Anxiety, migraines, high depression,
Y’all surprised I listed these five afflictions?
Shit, any guy with melanin
likely has these symptoms
Now add to that worldwide violent aggression,
No media attention,
Like we ain’t even existed,
I feel highly disREspected,
Herd immunity ain’t serving the community,
No more hurting our community with certain impunity,
We been targeted
As the source where this started,
It’s our turn to spin on the wheel of misfortune,
Those in authority
Blame the model minority,
Tell their supporters we’re the reason for quarantine
A strategy old as America itself,
Let them fight each other
Let them bury themselves

(chorus)

I know it’s been trending,
Let’s be transparent
This shit been hap-pen-nin,
before the pandemic
Comin heard CHINK So much it was anthemic,
Imagine how it’s affected our self image
As a grown man, I thought we would have transcended,
And yet, here we are getting slashed like gift wrap ribbon,
That said, in addition to harassment,
I could lose my assets,
My job, my marriage,
And then, will my spouse get doused with acid?
Oh and by the way,
Not sure you heard what’s happening,
There’s this thing called Corona.
I could pass from that shit,
If school is back in do I let my lil man in?
Or will he get his ass kicked,
By racist upperclassmen?
Fuck that shit,
Fuck that shit,
Put the world on notice
Touch me or my fam,
You won’t catch Corona ,
But you’ll catch these hands

(chorus)

ABOUT LYRICS BORN (Tom Shimura)
As the first Asian-American solo rapper to perform at Lollapalooza and Coachella and to release a greatest hits record, LYRICS BORN has broken through countless barriers to cement his illustrious career. In addition to establishing himself among the upper echelon of indie Hip Hop artists, LB has expanded his empire into film, including roles in Boots Riley’s critically-acclaimed Sorry To Bother You and the Netflix film Always Be My Maybe starring comedian Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Keanu Reeves. Lyrics Born is currently working on his forthcoming collaborative compilation Lyrics Born presents: Mobile Homies Season 1.

ABOUT CUTSO (Paolo Bello)
DJ/producer/remixer Cutso is on-air host/mixer for Rebel Pop Radio on Wild 94.9FM and iHeartRadio. A member of The Bangerz, he also doubles as Tour DJ for Lyrics Born. In addition for an upcoming follow-up to 2019’s Rapp Nite project with Lyrics Born, Cutso is working on a new album and a Las Vegas show with the Jabbawockeez. He will also be adding more limited gear releases to his clothing brand, Cutty Mart (https://cuttymart.bigcartel.com).

Follow Lyrics Born at:
https://www.lyricsborn.com
https://www.facebook.com/lyircsborn
https://www.instagram.com/lyircsborn
https://www.twitter.com/lyricsborn

Cutso:
http://soundcloud.com/djcutso