Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Mr. Lif - Mo' Mega 2xLP


Definitive Jux (2006)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Age' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Aside from Del The Funky Homosapien and Hieroglyphics projects, the one person who kept me somewhat interest in current hip hip in the early 2000s was Mr. Lif.  His I Phantom full length from 2002 really made me sit up and take notice and many did I listen to that album pretty obsessively.  It was one of those records that made me realize that it wasn't so much that I moved away from hip hop, but hip hop moved away from me.  Mr. Lif was speaking to me in a way that almost no one else was at the time.

It took a little while, but the follow up to I Phantom finally was released in 2006.  While I could never say that Mo' Mega reaches the same level of perfection that I Phantom does, it's still a truly great album and stands head and shoulders above the bulk of hip hop albums released after the year 2000.  Mr. Lif's lyrics are political and his rhyme patterns are complex.  But his politics aren't necessarily rooted in the beliefs of either party, rather they are more focused on combatting oppression.  He's very passionate and his delivery straddles that line between providing information and showcasing verbal dexterity.

Production-wise, it's also one of the stronger records to have been released after the Golden Age.  In particular, the beat on the album's third song, "Brothaz," is the ultimate head nodder.  It's a perfect storm where the intensity of the beats lines up perfectly with the message that Lif is delivering.  But the entire album is really strong.  I don't feel like this album got quite as much recognition as I Phantom and it deserves way more.  While it's true, it can't quite reach those heights, that's an absurdly high mark to compare against. 

Mr. Lif - "Brothaz":

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