I’ve been a fan of Mr. Lif for over a decade now (2006’s Mo Mega will forever be one of my favorite albums), so the news of him signing to Mello Music Group (one of the most consistent labels as far as music quality goes) definitely put a smile on my face.
“I’ve been very active musically for years but I haven’t been putting records out,” Lif says. “I’ve been touring the world with Thievery Corporation and otherwise living in the studio, constantly making songs.
“It was a very intentional decision to remain unsigned by any record label until I was absolutely ready. That personal journey spanned from 2007 to 2015. I needed to step back and gain perspective on a great many things. I waited the right amount of time. I grew. I recorded an abundance of new material over the years, found the right record label, and now it’s time to come back and start round two of my career.”
The first order of business was to re-release his classic debut, I Phantom, but now, it’s time for something new from the talented Boston emcee.
On April 15th, Lif will release Don’t Look Down, his first album since 2009’s I Heard It Today. Features will include Del the Funky Homosapien, Akrobatik + DJ Fakts One (The Perceptionists), Blacastan, Erica Dee, and Selina Carrera. With production from Edan, Fakts One, and more. And today, we’re hit with the Edan-produced first single, “Whizdom” featuring Blacastan.
Take a listen below and keep scrolling for the artwork to Don’t Look Down, as well as Lif’s personal break down of his upcoming album.
Welcome to Don’t Look Down. This album is my ode to the ebbs and flows of life. It’s ultimate credo is to keep your head up in the toughest of times. This collection of songs in its own way asks us repeatedly if we can stand up after being knocked down. With music born from my own successes, failures, and hard learned lessons, this poetry is woven as a cloak to conceal & nurture me when times are tough and as a consistent and reliable conduit to bliss in my attempts to live life vividly.
Thematically, the album begins by following the main character through a harrowing set of circumstances (“Pounds of Pressure” and “The Abyss”). Due to the emotionally jarring nature of what occurs in tracks 1 & 2, the protagonist falls into a state of depression on track 3 (“Everyday We Pray”). By the end of “Everyday We Pray”, optimism starts to seep back into the protagonist’s outlook and the song “Let Go” represents just that. He is letting go of the challenging situations that have caused him despair.
“A Better Day” is perhaps the height of his optimism shone through a lens of clarity & realism. “Whizdom”, “Mission Accomplished”, & “World Renown” represent ways in which I dive deep into poetry in order to create my own world and provide myself a respite from the ills of society . “iLL” is a turning point in which vulnerabilities creep back toward my surface. A deeply reflective state sets in, and I am left to ponder the ways of the world as I wish for something more. The closing track, “Don’t Look Down” continues this reflective & humbled state, yet hauntingly echoes our mantra of resilience.
I hope this album finds a place in your life as it is truly me sharing some important pieces of mine…