Mr. Lif – “Whizdom” (Feat. Blacastan) (Stereogum Premiere)

Hip-hop stalwart label Mello Music Group consistently drops fire. Their roster is largely underrated, but everyone from top to bottom can spit, and the production is on point whether it’s boom bap revival, experimental, electro-leaning, R&B-tinged, or what have you. Mr. Lif is a paragon of the “other” MMG. It’s nice to have him back after he took some time away to tour with Thievery Corporation. He’s ready to drop his upcoming full-length Don’t Look Down on tax day, and its first offering is the aptly named “Whizdom.”

Lif absolutely goes in. His verses are so full of dexterous multis, crazy similes, inventive metaphors, and internal rhymes that it would be dizzying if the song’s concept wasn’t so thoroughly focused. It’s literally about dropping and acquiring knowledge while Lif hosts a clinic on how to rhyme. Lines like “Tales from then/ Those remain the lessons of now/ Questions like how/ Accumulate like sweat on your brow” register with scholarly erudition, but they are delivered so effortlessly that it doesn’t come off academic or corny in the slightest. Blacastan’s verse keeps pace as well. Edan’s beat is bouncy and glitchy with a melding incongruous effect to Lif’s continuous stream-of-consciousness flow. Tambourine shakes, synth blips, and drums with rumbling knock are the perfect soap box for Lif to stand on. Lawd! Listen below.

Here’s the tracklist:

01. “Pounds of Pressure” (prod. Apex)
02. “The Abyss” (prod. Apex)
03. “Everyday We Pray” Feat. Taylormade (prod. Taylormade)
04. “Let Go” Feat. Selina Carrera (prod. Caliph-NOW)
05. “A Better Day” Feat. Erica Dee (prod. SlopFunkDust)
06. “Whizdom” Feat. Blacastan (prod. Edan)
07. “Mission Accomplished” Feat. The Perceptionists (prod. Fakts One)
08. “World Renown” Feat. Del The Funky Homosapien (prod. Pas Doo)
09. “iLL” (prod. Synthetic Nation Music)
10. “Don’t Look Down” (prod. Synthetic Nation Music)

And here’s the artwork:

Mr. Lif Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Look Down is out 4/15 on Mello Music Group. Pre-order is available here.