Release Date: Apr 21, 2009
Record label: Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises
If the election of America's first black president was expected to blunt hip-hop's political edge, no one's told Mr Lif. The Boston rapper clings to dystopian terrain while exploring issues thrown up by the bank bailout, housing crisis and bama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright. His frantic rhymes are uttered with growing ferocity, until single The Sun lets a little light in.
Perhaps a state of complete control emerges when words lose their meaning, when articulation is its own unkept promise. So goes the dilemma of the modern political musician, battling not only the strong arm of the government but also the debasements of language that foster its control. The more serious problem with political -- or, rather, politicized -- music is that its rhetoric of action lacks even a bureaucracy to hide behind: It is dead on arrival, by definition chatter filling an endless trough of chatter.
Three years have passed since Mr. Lif’s last album, Mo’ Mega. And since then, a whole hell of a lot has happened. The economy has taken a nose-dive as we remain deep in a recession. The real estate market has fallen apart. Unjust police violence is a consistent issue across the country. There ….
If Kanye West came into the game as "the first with a Benz and a backpack," then Mr. Lif was surely "the first with dreadlocks and Harry Potter glasses." The thoughtful, earnest, and unapologetically cerebral Bostonian might be a prototypical "rapper that liberal arts kids like," but he's also ferociously on-point and prodigiously skilled. His last full-length, Mo'Mega, winningly mixed warnings about government conspiracies and mind control with disarming odes to his unborn children and truly unexpected feminine-hygiene advice.