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HIP-HOP

Mr. Lif, 'I Heard It Today'

April 20, 2009
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Hip-Hop
Mr. Lif I Heard It Today
Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises
ESSENTIAL "I Heard It Today"

If there ever was a time that needed a new Mr. Lif record, this is it. As the country has imploded, the hip-hop community has either responded with mindless fist-pumping for President Obama or brain-dead narcissism. Not Lif. Unlike his last disc, the more personal, "Mo' Mega," here the former Bostonian (he lives in Philly now) offers a set that bristles at the government's socio-political policies, and it sounds like a bulletin from today's news reported with Lif's unmatched technical virtuosity. No one spins rhymes with such texture and complexity. Unlike others, he realizes that Obama's presence doesn't change the institutional problems that are at the heart of the country's problems. The songs deal with the mortgage crisis, police brutality, hypocrisy, and class warfare, among other things. As with all his work, the lyrics are marked by a profound humanity. A group of like-minded underground MCs also appear, but it's Lif's voice that demands to be heard. The production throughout is more soulful and seamless than on previous efforts. In short, for Lif, if you heard it today, be skeptical tomorrow. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO