Artist: Mr Lif
Album: Emergency Rations EP
Label: Def Jux
Rating: 9 / 10
Teasing us once again with another EP, with this release Mr. Lif has stepped up a level showing in just 7 songs that he has more depth and range than most of the bland underground rappers he has previously been grouped with. Now on EL-P €™s Definitive Jux label, it is clear that he has been given creative freedom, with EL-Producto contributing only one track, itself a teaser for their forthcoming collaborative album €œI, Phantom. € Elsewhere, Lif produces two tracks himself, DJ Hype and Fakts One provide one each, while the fantastic Edan continues his connection with Lif, producing two tracks and dropping a verse on one.
While there are no tracks that you would even describe as average, there are several clear stand-outs. Lyrically, the incredibly ill, self produced €˜Home of the Brave €™ is probably the most impressive track released this year so far, out-doing even J-Live in his superb commentary on America post-September 11th. The second verse alone is worth buying the EP for. Seriously.
Next, building on the dope €˜Rapperfection €™ collaboration from Edan €™s €œPrimitive Plus € album, €˜Get Wise €˜91 €™ is even better still with both dropping fresh verses over Edan €™s reliably boombastic production. That kid is truly God, yo. His other produced track €˜Heavy Artillery €™ ain €™t bad either and if you haven €™t peeped his album yet, what are you waiting for?
Finally, its a proven fact that EL-P is probably the most controversial man in hip-hop today, in terms of dividing opinion; there is no middle ground, you either love him, or hate him. However, his contribution here €˜I, Phantom €™ features one of his more accessible beats, an incredible electro-funk storm, complimenting Lif €™s voice perfectly. EL-P does get on the mic however, which is rarely a good thing, but don €™t worry, its mainly just Lif. You might have noticed that I quite like this release, but to be honest, I can €™t really see any hip-hop fans not liking it as, without wanting to sound self-righteous, this IS hip-hop; fat beats, originality and a charismatic MC, who €™s got lyrics for days. What more do you want? A full length LP, that’s what!!