Mr. Lif likes Radiohead and Bjrk
Mr. Lif likes Radiohead and Bjrk

Mr. Lif

Lots of rappers boast about surviving trials by fire. Mr. Lif knows whereof he boasts. Late last year, a tour bus carrying him, the Coup, DJ Big Wiz, Metro, and others flipped over and burst into flames. Everyone survived, and as a rebirth of sorts, Lif has undertaken this "New Year, New Tour," supported by his Def Jux labelmate Keith Metro.

Lif's gravelly voice and relaxed verbal flow call to mind a guy slowly exhaling a large cloud of smoke. His beats have a classic East Coast backbone but are dipped in trippy touches, with a little reverb here and a little computer noise there. Although Lif has a political and social consciousness to his lyrics, he's not afraid to name-check Radiohead and Björk as influences, either.

Fear not: He's anything but navel-gazey onstage. Newbies will be shocked by his commanding stage presence. Audience participation is half the show, but rather than that tired wave-your-hands-in-the-air jazz, you'll be rapping right back at him. It might be about stuff that seems right out of comic books. But it also might be a dialectic that focuses on modern-day class struggle. Deep. — Arielle Castillo


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