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.
“We wanted to bring [?uestlove] in because we felt he should really be a professor.”
Remember that time Wesleyan snagged celebrated alum Dar Williams ’89 to return to campus to teach a course on Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy and then Williams went and got Peter Yarrow, co-writer of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” to show up on campus and lead a raucous protest singalong in Zelnick while holding hands with Adam Rotstein ’13?
NYU’s one-upped us. No, not another Lil B lecture. This time they got ?uestlove to co-teach a course at the Tisch School of the Arts this spring. Just call him Professor ?uesto:
Zach submitted an event to be posted? wtf? Zach, please don’t edit this post. It’s already impeccably formatted (thx2u). From Zach Schonfeld ’13:
Oneohtrix Point Never is the stage name of experimental electronic wizard Daniel Lopatin, who’s also known for his work with the duo Ford & Lopatin. Using vintage synthesizers, television samples, and found sounds, OPN crafts distant, weightless tapestries of woozily layered ambient sound. His 2011 masterpiece, Replica, was listed as Pitchfork’s sixth best album of 2011 and described by Consequence of Sound as “like a series of FM radio transmissions from some far-off, twin parallel universe of ours, not peculiar to the point of total alien-ness, but certainly too strange and outlandish to be of Earthly origin.” Listen here.
Ben Seretan ’10 is a Wes alum, guitar genius, songwriter, California native, and member of Duchampion. He described his 2012 release, New Space, as an attempt “to have the sensation of swimming in or being embraced by the sound of my guitar and voice, to feel its physical presence pushing up against my sides, the walls, and furniture.” You can read about his work on Wesleying and listen to it on BandCamp.
“Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.”
Speaking of familiar face Amanda Palmer ’98, the reviews are in for Theatre Is Evil, the album she funded independently over the summer by taking to Kickstarter and somehow emerging with over a million dollars. Palmer recorded the album with the Grand Theft Orchestra, her latest backing band ensemble. If The Guardian is to be believed, the album “feels like sitting on the bed of your tattooed, far cooler cousin 30 years ago, while she tells you ‘all you need to know’ about music.” Sounds about right. Ben Folds, meanwhile, had this confounding opinion to report: “This record is as good as it gets. You’re going to shit when you hear it. It’s going to be around for ages. Otherwise, it’s total crap.” You can hear the album for yourself on Neil Gaiman’s site, or pay what you want here.
If you’re the visual type, observe Palmer’s gruesome new video for “The Killing Type,” in which her band performs in white in a bright white room before Palmer murders her lover and splashes it all red. (“I’m not the killing type, I’m not the killing type,” she pleads in the track’s lyrics.) If you’re squeamish at all, consider skipping it entirely.
But funding the album isn’t the only task Palmer bestowed on her fans.
It’s official: Wesleyan’s ownLe1fis da bomb diggity and he’s got ya moms feelin’ him.
New York’s pioneering queer-rap personality went byKhalif Diouf ’11at Wesleyan and drew heated acclaim last spring for hisDark York mixtape, which FADER called “one of the most provocative rap releases so far this year.” This week, Le1f dropped his debut video, and it’s probably the most outrageously booty-shaking YouTube spot this side of Big Freedia’s “Y’all Get Back Now.”
Highlights include shots of the bold rapper swinging from the ceiling like a bat, spitting speed rhymes from the lap of a Picachu-masked stranger, and shaking his scantily clad booty in many directions. (Not coincidentally, Le1f opened up for the Booty Queen herself in Eclectic last April.) Directed by Sam Jones ’10and produced by Josh Koenig ’09 (and featuring a few other alums along the way), the video has clear viral potential, but the track’s no slacker on its own, offering up an infectious horn-honk of a groove that stutters lightly over Le1f’s grimy drum claps and deep-voiced chant of a hook.
Anyway, here’s a sample. eXquire bums around a private disco-lit strip club and chooses to freestyle madly over “Away From” by Robot Koch. Watching this clip in a suburban Starbucks surrounded by middle-schoolers and their math tutors is the worst decision I’ve made today. Again, consider this a NSFW tag: the video objectifies women; this blog post is neither endorsing nor debating its misogynistic elements.
In other Aural Wes news, Cloud Nothings are officially sharing a bill with Future Islands in a month (get psyched—the Albini-stamped Attack On Memory way well be the best LP of 2012), and The Rooks are preparing an unprecedentedresidency in the ’92. Also, USA Today is looking to profile Wes’ music scene. AW wants your photos. Direct them to wesconcertcommittee(at)gmail(dot)com. Happy end-of-break-work-explosion.
Three cheers for Ty Segall, the San Fran-based one-man-band garage-rocker who, despite a broken bass drum pedal and myriad other technical difficulties, brought love, sweat, and Black Sabbath covers to the Eclectic dining room last night.
Forget Segall’s latest, 2011’s sludgy if uncharacteristically restrained Goodbye Bread. Even without a backing band, Segall’s live show is a hell of a lot less hinged, cycling—unaccompanied—through solo originals, Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” and that one screaming blues cover that I think maybe is in Goodfellas (help, guys?) with equal abandon. Ty’s bass drum crashed, but the audience filled in graciously. All in all, way to kick off 2012’s freakish concert lineup. (More on this soon.) (Sadly, I missed Featherwood Bee, but post your impressions/photographs/videofilms/love notes/ransom letters in the comments.)
Images below—click on for an appropriately dark and muddy video clip, so you too can party like it’s 2001.
Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, has just been sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Das Racist will (still) never get to collaborate with the (real) late King of Pop. Conan O’Brien pronounces “Das Racist” funny.
Despite all this (or because of it), everyone’s favorite Bard Art College/”Students of Color for Social Justice”-based duo makes its television debut worth the wait, hustling a real live Jackson impersonator onstage to moonwalk to the tune of Relax‘s familiar single, “Michael Jackson.” Also, there’s a freakin’ podium, a cymbal ensemble, and Victor Vazquez ’08 slamming his head across his keyboard (2:42). Skip to around 3:00 for the MJ showcase.
Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls recently visited seven Occupy sites in Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, Boston and New York. Afterwards, she worked with Boston filmmaker Michael Gill to produce a video paying homage to the protesters. It features a montage of photos documenting the movement, as well as Palmer’s ukelele rendition of the 1975 Leon Rosselson protest song “The World Turned Upside Down”.
Click past the jump for the full video, and click here, here, here, or here for more high-profile Wesleyan alums weighing in on the OWS protests.
[A-Batte edit: If you’re curious about what’s happening for today’s #OWS Global Day of Action on campus, check out the march this afternoon.]