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.
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.