What: Lyrics Born, with Mosley Wotta

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend

Cost: $15 plus fees in advance, $20 at the door

Contact: volcanictheatre.com or 541-323-1881

Lyrics Born is not messing around on his 10th studio album, “Quite a Life.”

It’s not as if the self-proclaimed “funkiest rapper alive” is known for doing that. He has often stared down adversity and personal demons in his lyrics over the last 26-plus years, addressing his struggles as a Japanese-American in a genre largely devoid (at least during his early career) of Asian-American influencers.

But the 11 tracks on “Quite a Life” are some of the most personal of Lyrics Born’s career. The rapper born Tsutomu “Tom” Shimura sings about the Me Too movement (a cover of James Brown’s “This is a Man’s World?,” question mark added), tackles his wife and bandmate Joyo Velarde’s battle with cancer (“Can’t Lose My Joy”) and revisits his aforementioned experiences with overcoming racism (“Don’t Quit Your Daydream,” “Same But Different”).

“I think the thing that excites me about this album so much is because it’s my 10th. I just felt like, well, if I’m not gonna say it on my 10th album, then when would I say these things?” Lyrics Born said from his home in Berkeley, California, a week before kicking off the next leg of his tour at Volcanic Theatre Pub on Thursday.

“I think that’s why I opened up so much about so many different things on this album, because it’s like, you know what? I’ve earned it. I’ve earned the right. Not that there was anything stopping me before, but as an artist, you’re always taking inventory every couple (of) albums or few albums — what haven’t I talked about yet? And for me, the more albums that you make, the more songs that you write, it can either become more difficult or it can become easier. It just depends on how open you’re willing to be.”

That openness resonated with Lyrics Born’s fans when he started playing the new songs live with his band. (He has toured with a group featuring anywhere from five to 15 musicians since at least the 2000s, though he wasn’t sure how big the band in Bend will be.) All three songs mentioned above have become staples in the live show since Lyrics Born’s last Bend appearance at Worthy Brewing’s Halloween party last year, with the harrowing “Can’t Lose My Joy” particularly resonating with audiences.

“It’s probably been the most rewarding song of my career,” Lyrics Born said. “I’ve had literally people come up to me at shows, people come up to me on the street and just hug me and start crying. … I get DMs, I get the most touching messages on my socials and on Instagram and so forth, just saying how much — you know, personal stories. It’s really amazing. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my career.”

Velarde also guests on two tracks on the album, “Trouble Trouble Trouble” and the over-the-top braggadocious “When I Get My Check,” which also features longtime friend and collaborator Gift of Gab of Blackalicious and Chali 2na. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien spits a verse on “Is it Worth It?,” but other guests come from a wide musical spectrum, including vocalist Sister Sparrow and funk/soul bands Galactic and Monophonics.

“I really wanted to keep that sort of funky, New Orleans retro-­soul kind of bounce going with this album,” Lyrics Born said. “And that’s why I worked with Rob Mercurio from Galactic; he produced this album and he produced my last studio album (2015’s “Real People,” which was recorded in New Orleans). It’s just a sound that I really love, and I can do so much with it.”

Lyrics Born said he considers himself as much a funk artist as a hip-hop artist (that “funkiest rapper alive” title isn’t for nothing), and the horn-heavy arrangements on “Quite a Life” continue his work with live instrumentation. However, he started his career in the early ’90s working closely with Blackalicious and DJ Shadow, with whom he released his first single, “Send Them,” in 1993. Later, the three entities would team up as independent hip-hop label/collective Solesides, which evolved into Quannum Projects in the late ’90s.

Born in Tokyo, Lyrics Born was 2 when he moved to the U.S. with his mother after his parents split up. They landed in Salt Lake City and then Berkeley, where he was introduced to rappers such as KRS-One and Snoop Dogg, as well as funk pioneers James Brown, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.

“I didn’t really grow up around a lot of music per se, other than what I’d hear the other kids playing at school or my DJ friends when I was a kid or stuff I’d hear in the neighborhood or whatever,” Lyrics Born said. “It was mostly through digging for samples that I would — you just stumble upon this wealth of knowledge of music and you go down all these wormholes as you’re researching. As that happened, I just — I don’t know, the funk just resonated with me, as deeply as hip-hop in certain ways.”

While Blackalicious and DJ Shadow scored major-label contracts in the ’90s, Lyrics Born has remained independent throughout his career. He has talked in interviews about dealing with label executives who didn’t know how to market him thanks to his background, and about having very few Asian rappers to look up to early in his career.

Today, Asian-American rappers such as Awkwafina, China Mac and Rich Brian are fast becoming household names, in part thanks to Lyrics Born’s trailblazing.

“The other thing that’s so inspiring about this time period right now is it’s not just music that we’re seeing,” he said.

“Things are growing in leaps and bounds in terms of movies with ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’ I just filmed a movie with Ali Wong and Randall Park for Netflix, it’s called ‘Always Be My Maybe.’ … I just see and hear more Asians and more Asian voices than I ever did when I started. Not fast enough in my opinion, but we’re getting there.”

After more than a quarter-century in the game, Lyrics Born now gets to be the role model he never had for up-and-coming Asian-American artists, a responsibility he is keenly aware of.

“Early on, maybe that was not the goal,” he said, “but as time went on and I was fortunate and blessed enough to continue to do what I do and make more and more albums and do more and more shows and have more and more of an impact, I realized that I had an incredible opportunity, and I should not squander it, and I should take advantage of it. Now, I’m very aware of the historical significance of what it is that I do.”

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