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Lyrics Born plays the Oriental Theater in Denver on Friday.
Lyrics Born plays the Oriental Theater in Denver on Friday.

Lyrics Born has blazed trails with his innovative raps. The hip-hop artist is known for his passionate live shows and rhymes, and he’s hitting the road with the As U Were 2011 World Tour.

Friday, the rap party stops at Denver’s Oriental Theater. You can bet Lyrics Born will bring his A-game.

If you go

Who: Lyrics Born, with Keys N Krates and White Fudge

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Oriental Theater, 4335 W. 44th Ave., Denver

Cost: $12

Lyrics Born’s real name is Tom Shimura and he’s been rapping since he was a teen. The artist’s dad is an author, so the hip-hop pro inherited a talent for wordplay.

“My family lived all kinds of places, and I learned people skills and how to communicate with a lot of different people,” Shimura said. “My homelife and my dad ultimately fueled my dedication to art. The biggest thing I learned from my dad was how to be focused — that’s a big part of doing music.

“I knew I wanted to be an artist and perform at an early age. I was exposed to hip-hop and I realized that’s the kind of performer I wanted to be. It just clicked with me, because it’s the music of my generation.”

Shimura’s dedication to rap has paid off.

The rhymester co-founded the hip-hop duo Latryx, his mixtapes have become hot items in the rap world and Shimura’s announcer skills have been featured on the Cartoon Network.

The rapper’s latest record is called As U Were, and Shimura’s hitting the road with the new material.

“I don’t want to do an album that sounds like somebody else,” Shimura said. “I just explore my interests and feed my curiosity.

“This album was a turning point for me. I had said everything I cared to say, so I wanted to refresh my browser and take this record in a different direction.”

Shimura wanted to take his fans on unique musical journey, so he mixed classic sounds into modern rap grooves.

“I saw that the roots of hip-hop showed up in every genre there is, and I wanted to show that on this record,” Shimura said. “I wanted to pay homage to music of the past, so there’s definitely more of an ’80s vibe.

“I love David Bowie, Grace Jones and the Gap Band. They really had an influence on hip-hop and me, so I wanted to explore the realms of that era. I rap over it and do it in a way that gels with my sensibilities.”

Shimura complemented the flashback music with contemporary words and life experiences.

“Now was an opportune time to talk about the things I’ve experienced,” Shimura said. “I also talk about changing times, technology attitudes and tastes. I’m really excited about this mash-up culture. It’s really an exciting time in music.

“The real purpose of art is to express these things, push forward and vent. It’s about exploring thoughts and experiences. This record is a reflection of all my interests and experiences, but it’s very danceable.”

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