Thursday, 23 April 2009

Mr Lif - 'I Heard It Today' (Bloodbot Tactical 2009)

Only Mr Lif could announce his blistering clusterfuck (in a good way) of an album with a spoken word quote peering behind the Obama magic and wondering whether just because the government has a more acceptable face on it, will it make a damned difference?

And then it explodes, never relenting for a good forty minutes of powerful powerhouse polemic, politically prodding at the carcass of the world economy, picking apart the self-hatred existing in the blacvk communities, and the horrors of the housing crisis. All with Mr Lif’s articulate squeaky and breathless flow, fitting in impossible amounts of syllables into clattering ignition-switch 4/4 bars. The rumbling dirty funk of ‘Welcome to the World’ announces his intentions with a death-defying (he survived a tour bus plummeting forty feet into a ravine) tirade of emotions about the US economy, about the paranoia and angst we all feel with our safety nets and rainy day money, all from a man who survived near-death for a reason. Mr Lif sounds alive, completely in control and never self-censoring, happy to voice unpopular opinions in interesting ways, using concepts to exploit his forthright opinions. Beats-wise, the toughness and ruggedness that wasn’t around for Mo Mega or for the Perceptionists is back, and this is closer to ‘I, Phantom’ than we’re likely to get, a superlative debut off the back of some incredible mini-albums. Mr Lif’s ten year career has spanned a lot of topics from the topical to the egotistical to the downright surreal, but this time it’s all politics, all blistering and all finding the triumph in the centre of the dark storm of adversity. Edan and J Zone turn up to provide bears, while up-and-coming efforts from Willie Evans and Batsauce impress. This is the new generation, the Dawn of Obama has its first dissenters, a smattering of cynics wondering if he can possibly achieve the messianic potential promised by his hype team. We’re living in a global crisis of fear and paranoia and economic degradation and self-hatred and now these negatives are used by Mr Lif to search for a brighter day, which he eloquently yearns for on poignant electro futurescope closer ‘Dawn’. ‘Head High’ addresses Obama’s tussle with controversial minister, Jeremiah Wright, using his unique flow to question why it all took place on a world stage. There are issues and potentials above their squabble. Mr Lif has never sounded vital and urgent and despairing and world-weary but in a world that has phasers set on sugar-coat, is an interesting dissenter in the time of change.


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