Alternative hip-hop artist Mr. Lif has teamed up with Brass Menažeri for an intriguing new album that’s different from anything he’s ever produced. Brass Menažeri is a San Francisco area Balkan brass band. How they got together is an interesting story as Mr. Lif was due to play the Seattle Folk Festival and didn’t have a backup band, so the festival organizers thought to pair him with Brass Menažeri thinking that his complex rapping would mesh well with the quick-tempos and percussive sound of Balkan brass music, a genre of sheer virtuosity.
Mr. Lif says that “we were hearing something that none of us had ever heard before and the whole session felt like an epiphany”. Meanwhile, Bridget Boyle of Brass Menažeri says, “we walked away from that first rehearsal with a set of music that we knew would be powerful and different, crossing boundaries that we assumed would stand in our way. But we blew those boundaries out of the water.”
The result is a resounding success with Lif’s flow paired perfectly with Balkan rhythms that give his vocals additional punch. The horns are superb, creating both the primary rhythms as well as lending melodic flourishes that make the music rich and rewarding. This is a genre mash that works, creating something new and fresh. Now I want to hear Romanian rappers team up with some the greatest Balkan gypsy groups.
Mr Lif and Brass Menažer‘s Resilient releases today via Waxsimile Productions.