Mr. Lif – “The Life & Death of Scenery” review

After making a solid comeback just 6 months ago with his 4th full-length album Don’t Look Down, Boston underground hip hop legend Mr. Lif is now giving us yet another album & this time he’s teaming up with North Carolina based producer & Mello Music Group label-mate L’Orange to produce it in it’s entirety. Given that Lif’s first 2 albums I Phantom & Mo’Mega are some of my favorite Definitive Jux releases ever as well as the fact that L’Orange entirely produced 2 fantastic albums for Jeremiah Jae (The Night Took Us in Like Family) & Kool Keith (Time? Astonishing!) last year, I was absolutely thrilled when it was announced that the 2 would be working on a full-length album together. The album’s first song “A World Without Music” starts off with some melancholy sounding chords but then some hard boom bap-ish drums get thrown in & Lif starts vividly detailing what he thinks the world would be like without music. “The Scribe” is basically an introduction to the album’s protagonist (who shares the exact same name as the song’s) & not only is there an ill scratch hook from DJ Qbert, but Lif reunites with his Perceptionists cohort Akrobatik to trade lines back & forth with each other & their chemistry on here as well as one of the later tracks “Strange Technology” is just as strong as ever if you ask me. While I do enjoy the concept on “Antique Gold”, I’m not a huge fan of the opening verse from Chester Watson because I personally think he comes off as a generic mix of Earl Sweatshirt & Joey Bada$$. The track “The Gentle End” has a ominous sounding string loop throughout & I really like how it fits with Lif’s revolutionary lyrics like a glove. The album closes out with “A Palace in the Sky”, which is a tale about a greedy king who eventually gets karma thrown at him in the end & I also love how spiritual sounding the beat is. Honestly, I’m not that disappointed with this album at all. The futuristic concept was well laid-out & I think L’Orange brought some fitting soundscapes to the table, but it was really short. Not as perfect as Deltron 3030’s self-titled debut however, but I truly think this is better than Don’t Look Down. Hell, I’ll go as far as saying that this is Lif’s best album since Mo’Mega

Score: 4.5/5

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