Le1f - Hey EP | Album Review | By Volume

The kid that went down isn't dead; he just can't find his phone. The Hold Steady - Almost Everything


Hey EP


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Author: on March 11, 2014
Terrible Records

Le1f’s Hey EP would bang as hard in a gladiator arena as at a house party. Dark, apocalyptic grit laces these five tracks to create a cohesive collection worthy of the New York rapper whose creativity and guts have shaken the scene. In the title track, he declares his intentions upfront:“ask a gay question, here’s a black answer.” His intersectional politics lace the record, but it’s never heavy handed or preachy — he loves on queers, black folks and weed within five lines in lead single “Boom”. Le1f’s politics are integral to his party and vise versa, and he invites you to engage in both.

Many people first heard Le1f when he called out Macklemore for the striking similarities between the beats in his single “Wut” and “Thrift Shop”.  A new version of “Wut” is here to showcase his indomitable rapping prowess, and in “Boom”, Le1f reminds us just how much he disdains Mack. He can’t even be bothered to pronounce his name correctly when he’s dissing him.

The EP is closer to Le1f’s earlier mixtapes than 2013’s excellent Tree House, which took a turn for the sensual and groovy. But don’t think he’s regressing. Hey is full of lyrical and production twists that show he’s unafraid to dance barefoot on the cutting edge of hip hop. The blood pays off on “Sup” and “Buzz”, with onion-like layers (Le1f is not like cake) that bend, weave and thrash under rewarding vocal performances. It functions wonderfully as its own slice of Le1f’s world while also getting us amped for his forthcoming full-length. After months of enjoying his free tapes, I’ll be glad to hand over my money for Hey.

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