Le1f – Hey [EP]

5132960 Le1f is gay. Normally, that doesn’t matter – if an artist’s sexual orientation somehow impedes you’re enjoyment of their music, then sorry your mother didn’t tell you, but you’re a terrible person – but in this case, it does. It does because he seems to have trouble finding a home for his brand of hip-hop; Hey– his first release that cost money to make – was released on Terrible Records, co-founded by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, a pairing that makes the SpaceGhostPurrp-4AD pairing a few years back seem logical. It does because he’s able to throw curveballs into his verses that no other rapper can lest people think they’re soft: “Ask a gay question, here’s a black answer,” “You can call me carnitas, because my meat is the sweetest,” “I’m a pretty nigger, I’m a sphinx, I’m a forest nymph, I’m a water sprite,” “I’m a butterfly, bitch,” “Came through in the clutch, stomping like I’m in Louboutins,” “Ukranian cute, he really wanna cuddle / The fever in his eyes, he wanna suckle on my muscle,” “LGBT cuties all over the world are diamonds and pearls / Black sheep, black sheep; sexy ass fur”, “Now it’s me and your ex, having casual sex … Next time keep your man in check”, “How many batty boys can you fit in a jeep?” He’s the long-sought-after homosexual voice who is proud to be homosexual, flaunting his flamboyancy in the homophobic community that is hip-hop. It helps that the music’s good, and more than eight months deep into 2014, I’m going to go ahead and call Hey the best hip-hop EP of 2014 (Isaiah who?). His beats are catchy and club-ready, his hooks bear repeating (though the “Hey”’s in the choruses of the title track could’ve been louder), his one-liners are witty (“Call me Heineken cause I stay on the coaster” to the slew of Pokemon references, “I’m a fire-type, flame throw and it’s over,” “He’s using all his pokeballs but no capture”), his flow is fast. Case-in-point on the lattermost is the rerecorded “Wut” from two years ago. Previously, when he launched into the double-timed second verse, his words all slurred together and became incomprehensible, but now, it’s on the shortlist for one of the best verses of ’14. That being said, I suppose it’s a black mark against Hey that it’s best track was available years ago. But even if you’re one of the few people who had Dark Yorkdownloaded years back, you’re still getting access to three other prime tracks – the only one that doesn’t do much is “Sup,” which focuses too much on the sung hook than it does the rapping. B+

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