Palmer has been in the public eye constantly this past year, mostly raising conversation and controversy regarding her radical business model and crowd-sourcing tactics, which was the topic of her recent TEDTalk. Last time she was at Wesleyan, in 2011, she gave a surprise “ninja gig” in the Eclectic dining room, performing everything from Dresden classics “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Leeds United” to a radical reimagining of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” from the point of view of a truck stop hooker. Here’s video of that performance, via Will Feinstein ’13at Aural Wes. Hope she includes it in her Reunion & Commencement set!
Ever since last year, music review/hipster rant/legitimate journalism website Pitchfork has been all over Le1f aka Khalif Diouf ’11. They gave a solid review to his 2012 mixtape Dark York, saying “there’s a lot of fun to be had listening to Diouf take on rap taboos with a glint of mischief.” Because, of course, no conversation can be had without somewherementioning Le1f’s sexualpreferences. And, yes, those sort of themes and jokes pop up throughout his videos and mixtapes, but underneath all of the discussion about “queer rap” are some high-quality club-ready tracks— and more and more, that’s becoming the focus of all this hype.
Le1f, receiving much loveand coveragefrom this blog, just dropped another mixtape, and not surprisingly, the Internet is all over it. Fly Zoneis 13 tracks produced by 13 different producers, but Le1f is always the star of the show. “Spa Day” feels like Le1f is having the most fun, and he dodges in and out of quick, sharp-tongued rapping, even slipping in a “mazel tov.” On “Coins,” he laughs, messes with rhythms, and drops references to the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sex Pistols. But throughout Fly Zone, Le1f and his lyrics are in charge: “My jokes are funny, but my money’s not.”
After the jump, read a few critics’ words on the mixtape, and then listen to the whole thing yourself—Fly Zone is streaming on Soundcloud and free to download.
Also, click past the jump for my five favorite Le1f-related gifs.
Lest you worry that we haven’t posted enough recently about rising hip hop sensation Le1f/Khalif Diouf ’11 (note: wehave), here’s something to tide you over. The giftastic rapper behind “Wut” and “Soda” recently popped up on Pitchfork.tv, chatting about some of his influences (Wesleyan Pride Alert: “Heems is someone that inspires me a lot in terms of performance, and Das Racist”) and the vision he has for his wildly theatrical live performances:
“If someone was coming to see me, I would tell them to expect a really visceral, cathartic performance that is rap music. It’s a rap show that—I don’t want to say spiritual, but I’m trying to be very intense and honest and guttural. When I’m onstage and I realize people aren’t moving, it does force me to go really crazy. I have to find some rage.”
Filmed during CMJ, the interview also finds Le1f talking about his lyrics. “A lot of people say you can’t understand the words, and often I kind of don’t care,” he admits. “But one of the drawbacks of that is maybe people don’t understand the message. So it’s nice to have my dancers basically blessing the audience with holy water.” That theme also seems prevalent in the “Soda” video. Because it’s about, like, liquid and stuff.
Handler: “I’m aware of the fact that I’m a semi-pretentious liberal arts student. I don’t think anything I feel is terribly important to anybody else.”
Continuing our recent slew of notable alumni coverage (never change, Das Racist, Joss Whedon ’87, bear-fighting Vermont governor Peter Shumlin ’79), here’s one I recently stumbled upon in the archives. On February 21, 1992, The Argusprofiled a student poet, a senior at the time from California. His name was Daniel, and he had made it to the Connecticut Students Poet reading. He even skipped his Chaucer class to save his raspy voice. Today, he is Daniel Handler ’92—or Lemony Snicket, as the case may be.