|Lif returns with a short but sweet follow-up to his critically acclaimed I, Phantom. With most of the album produced by El-P and only a few guests, it makes the record more of an intimate affair. |
|Produced by El-P except: 6 & 7 by Mr. Lif, 11 Nick Toth. Mixed by Joey Raia.|
|5.||Take, Hold, Fire! (feat. El-P / Aesop Rock)|
|6.||Murs Iz My Manager |
|8.||Long Distance |
|9.||Mo' Mega (feat. Akrobatik / El-P / Blueprint)|
|10.||Looking In... |
Not all I was hoping for...3.5 stars
, March 7, 2008
- See all my reviews
First off, I must give props to El-P for the extremely fresh and addictive production. The beats are definitely a vast improvement, if not a nice progression from Lif's earlier efforts. Lyrically, Lif does not deliver to his fullest potential. Inside we hear a much different Lif than the one we all know from 2002's "I Phantom". His flow sounds too hard, in a uncomfortable sort of way. His lyrics seem far less personal and withdrawn. His relentless attacks against the Bush administration and others sound preachy for the first time ever. Lif has always delivered solutions and intelligent commentary to his attacks that always brought his message full circle. It rather pains me to hear him complain and not offer solutions or reason for his opinions. He sounds more negative than ever on his protest tracks, which frankly clouds the messages. I just don't feel the passion like I did in his last 3 records. However, there are some classics in the mix that defy the rule.
My favorite track and message on the record is somewhat of a comedy sketch - "Murs Iz My Manager" (featuring Murs from the Living Legends crew). Murs tries to guide Lif to fame as they discuss how much work it takes to promote yourself and be known in this industry. "Brothaz" is also a favorite. Lif sounds hungry on this track, and El-P spruces it up with a massive heart thumping beat. "Take, Hold, Fire" featuring dope verses by Aesop Rock and El-P remains a favorite. They all perform well under El-P's sick soundscape. The semi-comical "Washtup" and "Long Distance" are probably two of the worst tracks I've yet heard from Lif. I never thought he would delve into such played out repetitive topics as telling your girl to wash "it" up, and a story of a long distance relationship while on tour (beating a dead horse anyone?). The title track finds Akrobatik kicking a sweet verse along with Lif, with Blueprint falling somewhat short. "For You" is a nice personal tribute to his child...a beautiful closer.
Sadly, a lyricist can make or break and album. I'm not saying Lif has lost his touch, as this is a fine record when comparing it to the competition. But if you are a first-timer, I cannot recommend this as your first purchase. Pick up "I Phantom" or "Emergency Rations" first. If you are in my shoes, and you're just starving to hear a new Lif record, by all means buy it! Just don't expect anything revolutionary.