Like what you hear? Download Le1f’s new mixtape for free below.
On Le1f’s third mixtape, Tree House, the New York-based rapper mixes the ethereal with the electronic, the organic with the alien, the sensual with the stressful.
The set’s kinda the perfect soundtrack to #thattimeincollege when you realize that you’ve been drinking out of a cup that some d-bag spiked with a psychotropic substance. Or, maybe it’s more like taking a calming trip to the isolation chamber for some good old-fashioned sensory deprivation, only to realize that you’ve left your favorite relaxation crystals at home. Does any of that make sense? Whatever, welcome to the Tree House.
Listen to Le1f’s Tree House mixtape after the jump.
First, some background info: Le1f’s been making waves in the hip-hop world for a while now (he produced a bunch of Das Racist material including “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell,” FYI). But with his 2012 debut, Dark York, he made a name for himself as a solo artist. The mixtape’s timing, though, often lumped him (and countless other incredible artists) together under the same queer hip-hop trend piece umbrella. However, it’s work such as Tree House that makes it pretty damn impossible for Le1F to remain nameless in the crowd for long.
After opening track “Plush” sets the cyber-spooky mood, “Cane Sugar” comes in like some sort of otherwordly siren song — equal parts disorienting, unnerving, and inviting at the same time. The best way I can describe it is that if a U.F.O. interrupts my chaise lounge luxuriation “me time” to beam me up to the heavens, this is what I want to be listening to during the experience.
The Auto-Tuned sensuality of “Hush Bb,” produced by Le1f’s Liquid EP collaborator, Boody, is kind of reminiscent of Future’s crooning on Rihanna’s “Loveeeeeee Song” or Lil Wayne’s “Love Me,” only more, you know, future. Switching the speed up quadruple time, “Damn Son” has one of the greatest burns I’ve, like, ever heard: “I don’t mean to mess with your plans/ But your man lookin’ at me like he wanna bromance/ I make it so Arial, he’s looking so comic sans.” Are you dying? I’m dying.
For lovers of the always in medias res feeling of mid-’90s minor key dance music and “how Sega Dreamcast games imagined the future would sound” alike, check out “Jack.” Lost touch with your aura? Give “Oils,” featuring Le1f’s “Spa Day” costar and VFILES fave artist Junglepussy, a listen.
Tree House really is one big slam ball out of left field (what is sports), but if I’ve gotta choose one standout track, it’s “Blood Oranges” with Ian Isiah and Juliana Huxtable (both of whom costarred in Le1f’s “Soda” video, BTW). The alien sexuality of the “Sweat” singer and the poetry provided by the reigning Queen of All Things You Need to Reblog (seriously, if you’re not familiar with Juliana yet, GET ACQUAINTED) meld with Le1f’s lucious/ lush-as-f*** vocals so heavenly. When closing track “Cry Bb” comes in to beam you back down, I’m just like: “… Aw, already?”
Photo credit: Camp & Street