7 March 2014 (Terrible Records)
By Sophia Abbey
Le1f’s Hey is the rapper’s first indie label release, a contagiously fun set of songs that only lacks in being so short. Although we have to wait for a more complete set of songs, the release of this teaser EP indicates it won’t be far behind.
Le1f raps over poppy, grungy beats that have bouncing percussion but a rough sound. His raps slide through these beats combating the high tempo percussion and radiant synths with a low, carefully cultivated voice that still brims with personality and manages to deliver massive lyrical punches.
The opening track “Hey” starts with an instant catchy beat that winds down to accommodate his rapping. Even though the beat is soft and he raps at almost a whisper, delivering mad shade, specifically to basic bitches who “ain’t fucking with this next level head space.” On one line he raps “I’m a Charmander, a banjee commander” simultaneously referencing Pokemon and 1980s LGBT slang.
On his second track “Sup”, Le1f raps over a dark, shining beat that sounds both gloomy and brassy. He brings out the seduction here, comparing his sexual prowess to Starbucks drinks in a comparison I never thought was possible.
Unfortunately many people today know Le1f as only a token gay rapper, or the guy who took on Macklemore. The inclusion of the two year old song “Wut” came across as a bit of a gimmick at first listen. It doesn’t necessarily help to separate him from his beef with the “Same Love” rapper, but as one of his catchiest songs in his discography, it admittedly helps to round out his EP. However, it’s obvious that Le1f has matured technically since “Wut” and in some ways it’s the weakest song on the EP. Since “Wut”, his style has become significantly more pronounced and clear, with better technical skills that give his vocals a high quality while still showcasing his personality. It was apparent that his faster raps on “Wut” were a bit garbled but on his newer song “Sup” he raps with ease in double time. Wut is still a hit, but absolutely not the only shining star in his collection anymore.
Le1f’s track “Boom” may have some of the most direct and killer lyrics on the EP. He raps so fast it would be easy to miss, sneaking in killer lines like “Innocent until proven filthy//I’m wildin’ out here. I hope the cops don’t kill me.” On the chorus he repeats a more prominent line: “Like boom//Atomic bomb, come thru//I’m the elephant in the room.”
The final song off the album, “Buzz” is catchy in the way that a fire alarm is after a certain point at night (i.e. it’s really fucking catchy but with a sound that should be infinitely more annoying). The song is possibly the most contagious beat on the album, something for the clubs, or some radical car dancing.
Favorite tracks : Buzz, Sup
Rating: Gotta Have It