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this time we talk about a genius lyricist and a heavyweight in the underground Hip-Hop scene. Boston born Mr. Lif performed since ’94 and in the early days he focused on battle rhymes which you can hear on tracks such as “Be Out” or “The Nothing” which was the B-side of his debut vinyl single “Elektro” in ’98. His lyrical focus gradually changed as time went by. Stamped by the difficulties his parents had due to the system when he was young and inspired by the likes of Chuck D his lyrics began touching political issues and getting more and more critical towards society or the American way of life (e.g. his track “New Man Theme”). He can most likely be assigned to conscious rap. Lif is eloquent, critical and has a murderous flow and an exceptionally large vocabulary. He’s a true poet and perfect storyteller like KRS-One or Guru. Some even call him the Chuck D of the next generation. After dropping some more singles he signed to El-P’s label Def Jux and released the political motivated EP’s “Enters the Colossus” in 2000 and “Emergency Rations” two years later. In 2002 Lif did his first full length album “I Phantom” which was highly anticipated by the underground scene at its time and delivered the goods. “I Phantom” tells a story throughout 14 tracks where the listener follows Lif’s journey starting with rising up from a poor background to success and ending with an apocalyptic showdown. The album is a masterpiece in my opinion. Lif did another album on Def Jux in 2006 called “Mo’ Mega” which describes the disharmony between the working class and the elite. His newest album “I heard it today” was released in 2009 on his own label Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises. Aditionally, Lif did a live album (“Live from the Middle East”) and had releases with his former group “The Perceptionists”. Production is done by El-P most of the time but Fakts One and Insight did a lot of beats for Lif as well.
If you haven’t heard of Mr. Lif until now I highly recommend going to a video sharing site and watch the complete video of “Live from the Plantation”, a dope track of his LP “I Phantom” about your dayjob. The track is a prime example of Lif’s sound and his attributes above mentioned.
To those who are familiar with Lif and always asked yourself like I did: “Live from the Plantation” on his live album was produced by Lif and the original version but he decided to use Edan’s beat for “I Phantom”. Oh and by the way: His name comes from the band Phish. When Lif heard the track “Liftedly Man” he adopted Liftedly and shortened it to Lif whereas the addition „Mr.“ comes from his friends.
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