In a week that is slowly turning out to be a “things AQUILOGY appreciates week”, i found the need to include a post where I appreciate one of my favourite artist of the 2000’s or the naughties depending on which side of the equator you were born. His stage name is Mr lif, a political/ socially conscious rapper with a nasal voice that some term the most annoying in hip hop. I first came across his music way back in 2002; after september 11 America went crazy and Bush executed his plans to send his troops to the middle and inderectly fuck up the economy in the process. Patriotrism was the buzz word in the States and if you dared questioned the war against terror you were labelled unpatriotic and could soon find you albums being taken off the shelves like the Dixie Chicks did when they made a comment about being embarrassed about being from the same state as George W.
While every musician was busy being bamboozled by Bush’s propaganda, using one of the most powerful Anti-war song ‘What’s going on’ by the late, great Marvin Gaye and turning it into something vile, Lif made a surprising song. Way before it was all trendy and cliche Mr lif made a political song criticizing the Bush administrationg and the war on terror called ‘Home of the brave’ of his EP “Emergency rations”. That gave me goosebumps, I wasn’t much into good music back then (I was 15 for crying out loud) but I remember thinking ”wow, whoever this guy is he seems like he knows what he’s talking about”. I memorized his name and made a point to check out his music when I had the means.
Besides a few tracks here and there, I didn’t have the privillage of listening to a full album by lif. All that changed a year ago when I duscovered the wonderful world of blogs specializing in bootlegging other people’s music; killing the music industry in the process. I downloaded Mr Lif’s debut album and gave away the money I would have used to purchase a real copy to charity
since I couldn’t find it anywhere, all you see at records stores is poppy shitty music nowadays, what’s up with that? Anyhoo ‘I Phantom’ the title of his debut album is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard, its a concept album about the exploration of the dynamics of everyday life and the pursuit of our dreams in a rapidly decaying society, it basically explores our day to day struggles. It begins with a death then ressurection, explores the abandoning of family life in exchange for material gain and it concludes with a song about a neuclear halocaust. The album also has a song in there that represent what exactly what i was feeling when I was still pissed off about spending most of my days at the plant, it’s called ‘Live from the plantation’ about a guy who’s not satisfied with walking up and spending half of his day miserable at work, slowly killing his spirit in the process (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) the lyrics totally captured me, especially the part that says : Life is a gift to be enjoyed, every second every minute/It’s temporary, not infinite/Yet I find myself looking at the clock hoping for the day to fly by, so I ask myself “Why?”/I’m doing this remedial work for second graders/I’m an educator with mega-flavor……….
there and then, I knew that I had to get away from the plant(ation) the first chance I get but months down the line, I’m still spending half of my day miserable there (blame it on the b-b-b-b-b-ills).
His second album, Mo’ Mega was great but I didn’t like it the way I liked his other stuff, I just didn’t get it. The theme was supposed to be about the working class V/S the ruling class but I wasn’t able to get that from it. Maybe the reason was that I lost it when my hardrive crashed and it didn’t have the opportunity to grow on me like the others.
Three weeks ago, I acquired my special copy of his latest album ‘I heard it today’ a week before it was released, I was kinda skeptical about it thinking that because this was his first album that didn’t have El-P’s production it would suck.
Initially I didn’t like it, thought the production was all over the plus it was very short, 40 minutes long. But it has grown on me. in fact I’ve listened to it almost on a daily basis for the past two weeks. It’s a concept album capturing the pulse of the tumultuous era we’re living in, from a point of view of someone who commenting on the news as he hears it, hence the name ‘I heard it today’. It starts begins with him saying “oh so now we’re supposed to trust the government now that it has a friendlier face to it
” on ‘welcome to the world’ a song about being skeptical of the great Barack Obama, comments on police brutality and the sean bell verdict
on ‘gun fight’. The collapse of the US economy on the title track etc. The album is great.
I just felt the need to make a post about him ’cause I enjoy his music, most of you probably don’t know him and probably won’t so this post is somewhat pointless but who cares? He’s still one of my favourite artist and this post is an ode to him.