There are many indie MCs who prefer to stay on the fringes of the music industry. But there are those who are so out there, you feel like throwing them a lifeline just to keep them within view. These days, Mr. Lif appears to be in that so-far-away camp. In the early aughts, the dreadlocked Boston-turned Philly lyricist was one of the shining stars of East Coast indie-rap label Def Jux, turning out the acclaimed, conceptual, full-length efforts I Phantom (2002) and Mo’ Mega (2006). Apart from the 2009 album I Saw It Today, released on his own Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises label, ol’ dude has kind of pulled a bit of a disappearing act. No more! He recently did guest work on the latest Thievery Corporation album, and a few weeks ago, he performed at a benefit show in Boston for fellow Beantown rapper Afrobatik, who’s recuperating from open-heart surgery. Mr. Lif may like living on the outskirts, but he’s never far from reach. And now he’s back. Best to catch him before he spins out of this orbit.
Fri., July 1, 8pm. $16-$18. With Swift Technique + Citizen Xavier. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
PW's Music Issue 2014