I'm simply too far removed from the hip hop scene to conclusively state that being an openly gay rapper is taboo, but to the best of my knowledge, gay rappers are still a distant minority.

Words by

Keats Mulligan

That was Le1f's appeal when he rose to prominence following the release of his 2012 mixtape Dark York, but another two mixtapes and two EPs later, Le1f's proven that he's more than just a passing fancy.His latest EP, Hey, is his first release through Terrible Records and clearly the game has changed for Le1f. This is a considered and calculated release consisting of a mere five tracks where his previous mixtapes were often full length.

Hey is really the first Le1f release that sounds and feels like it's been put out on a label. This is a record that flows incredibly well. There is consistency in the production, the half swallowed, sunken and delayed bass tones are interchangeably coupled with short and sharp piercing percussion elements and also rather spooky atmospheric sonic movements that build and release perfectly as though the beat is almost breathing.

'What' makes this EP what it is though is Le1f's rapping himself. Love him or loathe him, he has some undeniable skill. When you hear his effortless “water off a duck’s back” inflection for the first time you probably don't expect that he can rap with the speed and tenacity that he is capable of. Particularly in 'Buzz' he shows us what he's capable of – an aggressive slow moving club bruiser with a kick that sounds less like a drum and more like cops at the front door of a meth lab. It's only five tracks but it packs in swagger for days. 

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