Boody & Le1F: Liquid

Let those who wish to use LE1f's eccentric riddims and synth-gurgle flow as a novelty cause to do so. If it brings more ears to the table, minds and speakers will be blown in the process.

Boody & Le1F


US Release: 2012-11-19
UK Release: 2012-11-19
Label: Boys Noize

Le1f blew listeners away last year with Dark York, his contorted, glow-lamp hued, miscreant first mix tape. More than that, it was a dark and wonderful forward-thinking fantasy cloudscape that explored the homoeroticism of thug rap (see titles like “Gayngsta” and “My Oozi”) and thus flared a predictable backlash from the Neanderthals wondering aloud if some kind of gay cooties was about to infect hip-hop (if only hip-hop were so lucky to have Le1f’s production smarts rub off on it! Pun intended). Both those who had either worked themselves up into a retrogressive tizzy and those who were too busy patting themselves on the back for celebrating a queer rapper may have failed to recognize that Le1f was sonically bisexual, with his one hand equally dipped into the electronic dance scene (Dark York featured productions by hot producers like Nguzunguzu, Matt Shadetek, 5kin&bone5, and new Night Slugs signee Morri$) as the other was stirring the pot in the rap game.

One of the producers he worked with, Boody, has joined Le1f for a one-off EP on the Boys Noize label. The Liquid theme should surprise no one who remembers that just one short year before Dark York, Le1f had a couple of instrumental tracks on the inceptional #Seapunk compilation. The first couple of tracks sound like Boody and Le1f are transmitting from underwater, the atmospheric pressure stripping the melodies of their rough edges and submerging the bass to the lower registers. “Jellyfish” kicks off with splish splash percussion and gurgling synth bubbles. “Buoy” has got a disconnected beacon signal that shuffles into a ring shout dance concurrently going on, as a clunky anchor bats against the mast.

All of this atmospheric posturing is a bit pointless scenery-chewing for the main game that is “Soda” and “Sweat Tea”. While Le1F’s experimental edge is what raises him above his peers, it’s the fact that he translates it so fluently to the pop realm of beats and rhymes that makes him a truly exceptional artist. “Soda” is a strange contortion of industrial mechanics and Foley sounds, Le1f’s voice lilted to chipmunk highs while skittering along crackling juke riddims. “Sweet Tea” is more dance floor-oriented, careening with confident swagger that “I can make your tea sweet/Holla at ya, boy I wanna” over a popping synth riff that shimmies like the best in today’s current hybrid steppa/house scene.

A few of the latter folks show up to remix “Sweet Tea” and “Soda” as well. Each crank up the robotics and focus on a handful of sweaty, blustery statements within. MikeQ and Divoli S’vere’s take on “Soda” is a whiplash set of bombastic and compacted grime thuds, a series of violent thrusts to pit against Le1F’s queer pressure (a bastardization of jungle’s “feminine pressure”) call to “dip in with the daughters”. Cedaa opens up spaces in “Sweet Tea” by shedding melodic skin and adding rhythmic complexity. The mix then enlists the original cut for a groovy military march from outer space.

Let those who wish to use LE1f as a novelty cause to do so. If it brings more ears to the table, minds and speakers will be blown in the process. Let’s not put the burden of being hip-hop David Bowie onto 20-year-old Le1f, but instead recognize that his musical intuition is at least the equal, and probably the better, of his musical iconography as LGBT rap Kid A. If hip-hop is one of the last vestiges of open homophobia, then it's also the place where difference and negation of the status quo can be celebrated. Let's celebrate this original meaning of the word "queer" with some eccentric shit causing strange sensations to your ears.






The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.