Say 'Hey' to New York City's Incendiary Electro-rapper Le1f
Lets get this out of the way straight away Le1fs new EP ‘Hey’ is addictive to say the least, particularly the tracks ‘Sup’ which is like listening to liquid gold, its luxurious, and more than a little erotic, to say the least, and the cold as ice ‘Boom’ which should get repeated listens from fans of both hip hop and electro.
Le1f - Hey EP (Out Now via Terrible Records/Xl RecordingsLe1f aka Khalif Diouf from New York City has got to be one of the most intriguing artist I’ve heard in a while, and he‘s been around the electro/hip hop scene in New York in the last couple of years, putting out 3 mixtapes last year or so. Now he releases this impressive 5 track ‘Hey EP‘. And he certainly puts most rappers to shame particularly on the aforementioned ‘Boom.’ But unfortunately it won’t be Le1fs skills as a rapper, or as a producer, or as a forward thinking, envelope pushing, game changing artist - indeed these would be the more interesting debates to be discussed around and about him - that will get people talking. Instead it’s the fact that he’s gay, and openly at that. He’s one of the first openly gay rappers, and it’s the tag ‘gay rapper’ that will unfortunately accompany his name in many if not every review, interview, and article about him. Particularly since hip-hop is seen to be so homophobic, and is underrepresented in that genre to say the least. As well as the still general lack of acceptance of gay people in society never mind in the music industry. Which is a shame because on his new ‘Hey EP’, which was released in March, is a multi-layered, colourful, and unashamedly erotic riot of an EP, with tongue firmly in cheek in places and full on camp overtones in others - this is before we even get to the videos, particularly the post-apocalyptic video to ‘Sup’ which you can watch below, and the video to ‘Wut’ where our superhero Le1f is sitting on the lap of an oiled up guy with a pikachu mask on his face - which if that’s not unashamedly gay then I don’t know what is, and is more than likely to get the likes of the Daily Mail and UKIP supporters all hot and bothered. But even without the videos there’s many references to Le1f being gay and his life. So the words ‘openly gay rapper’ don’t really need to be there because he’s not hiding anything and most of all he’s not ashamed about it either. Indeed he even declares and states clearly and loudly on ‘Buzz’, ‘I’m a man’s man literally.’ But all of this is missing the point at how impressive the ‘Hey EP’ is, which has Le1f mixing up his social and political commentary with his tongue-in-cheek ‘Gay’ references and his sexual conquests and fantasies together into such a vibrant and sexual way, whilst standing up for social justice throughout the EP. Indeed as he raps on ‘Boom’, ‘New world order, LGBT cuties all over the world.’ And then later on in ‘Boom’ in his impressively camp flow he raps, ‘Educated, black, how this make ‘em more envy.’ So not only do people still have a fear of a LGBT planet and everyone turning gay, but there are also people who don’t like the idea, or are envious, of educated black people. The ‘Hey EP’ is such a vital and important EP from such a good and thrilling artist - Le1f - that I hope there’s more to come from him, and that he continues to ruffle feathers and shake things up, and get people more envious of Le1fs skills in particular, in more ways than one. Just witness Le1fs incendiary performance from The David Letterman Show, which is really where other rappers and artists should be getting worried, not because he’s gay but because he’s got skills and rhymes. His quick fire rapping is hard to keep up with but repeated listens show how sharp and detailed he is. But hopefully by the time people finish listening to Le1fs ‘Hey EP’ he’ll be known as the ‘Hey Rapper’ - see what I did there? 8/10
http://www.twitter.com/LE1FNY Check the video for his new single 'Sup' here:
Sup - Le1f Thanks to Patrick Johnson @ Technique PR